Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mahjong culture

Mahjong has been a common culture of China, Hong Kong, Japan, and other Asian regions. It shows a high degree of influence from Chinese culture.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, Mahjong is not only a popular game, it is the most common social activity. For example:

*During a , guests play Mahjong during the waiting time.
*A count-down Mahjong before the Chinese New Year or the New Year is a typical practice for many Hong Kong families.
*While most people have a Mahjong set at home, most Chinese restaurants offer sets of Mahjong equipment for their customers.
*Officially, casinos are illegal in Hong Kong. However, there are legal Mahjong schools, where gamblers can play Mahjong.
*Elders are encouraged to play Mahjong as brain exercise.
*To invite a person to a Mahjong game is an indication of friendlyness in Chinese Culture.

Cantopop singer Sam Hui's famous song ''The Mahjong Heroes'' is talking about somebody playing mahjong.

There are two movies on Mahjongs in Hong Kong, one of them feature the ''The Mahjong Heroes'' song.

However, Mahjong games also create problems. Addiction to Mahjong is a common type of problem gambling. Mahjong is also a favourite medium for bribery - the person giving the bribe will intentionally lose large sums of money to the person being bribed. Recent studies also suggest Mahjong can cause epilepsy

Magic Boy Kitchener

Magic Boy Kitchener is a cartoon series currently broadcast on .

The series takes place in the late Qing Dynasty, during the era of the Empress Dowager Cixi. After a convoy accident in which the imperial kitchener perishes, Cixi orders the search for a new kitchener from the region. She sends her to a nearby town, where they find a small tavern with a skilled elderly chef - the grandfather of the series protagonist, Fugui, a young aspiring chef himself. His grandfather is taken away by the eunuchs, leaving only one option for Fugui - becoming the imperial kitchener, thereby saving the life of his grandfather. Fugui eventually finds a friend for life, Feidie, while searching for his grandfather, and he also befriends eunuch Xiao Lizi - despite him leading the capture of his grandfather at the town tavern, and dispatching Fugui rather harshly during the capture.


The character Xiao Lizi is a much younger version of Li Lianying, who was a real-life servant of the Empress Dowager Cixi until her death in 1908; Li Lianying passed away three years later in 1911, at the age of 62.

Lotus Gait

Lotus Gait is a term referring to the type of gait produced by the Chinese custom of foot binding. Women with such deformed feet avoided placing weight on the front of the foot and tended to walk predominantly on their heels. As a result, women who underwent foot binding walked in a careful, cautious and unsteady manner.


A lithophane is an etched or molded artwork in thin very translucent porcelain that can only be seen clearly when back lit with a light source. It is a design or scene in intaglio that appears "en grisaille" tones. Many times historians credit Baron Paul de Bourging with inventing the process "email ombrant" of lithophanes in 1827 in France. Sometimes the carving table was near a window and had a mirror below the table to provide constant light for carving. Lithophanes by the hundreds of thousands were made in the middle of the eighteen hundreds by such firms as Wedgwood in England, Meissen in Dresden, and Belleek in Ireland. They were also in fireplace screens, night lights, tea warmers, and match boxes. Colt probably got the idea from the 1851 Great Exhibition in London or the New York Great Exhibition of 1853 or in a Prussia visit in 1854. Scenic views and portraits were for the public and private rooms of Colt's wife. Inspirational panes were for the windows of Colt's upstairs bedroom. Lithophanes of humorous nature were put in the windows of Colt's billiard room of his new home. One of particular interest was of the Battle of Trafalgar. Others were of Stolzenfels Castle on the Rhine River and a view of Koblenz. Barnard described the lithophanes as "a veritable art gallery." A photograph of Armsmear taken between 1857 and 1861 shows over one hundred lithophanes. A photograph of 1907 shows the lithophanes of Armsmear still in place. Many of Colts surviving lithophanes are currently at the .

Samuel Colt had 111 lithophanes made of his likeness from a photograph for wide distribution in 1855. In this lithophane portrait he is sitting at a small desk holding a "Belt Pistol" in his right hand and has a directional compass in his left hand. One of these he sent to Senator Thomas J. Rusk who responded in a letter of 3 January 1856 when he received it,


* Carney, Margaret, ''Lithophanes'', Schiffer Publishing 2007, ISBN 9780764330193

* Houze, Herbert G., ''Samuel Colt: Arms, Art, and Invention'', Yale University Press 2006, ISBN 0-3001113-3-9

* Jean-Baptiste-Ambroise-Marcellin Jobard, ''Les nouvelles inventions aux expositions universelles'' , volume 2.

* Jean-Baptiste-Ambroise-Marcellin Jobard, ''C'interniediaie des chercheurs et curieux,'' vol. 17, no. 597 .

* Lise Baer et al, ''Along the Royal Road: Berlin and Potsdam'', 1848. Original at Library of Congress.

*''Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations'' , vol. 3. Original at Library of Congress.

* ''Official Catalogue of the New-York Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations'', rev. ed. . Original at Library of Congress.

* Savage, George et al, ''An Illustrated Dictionary of Ceramics'', Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York 1974, ISBN 0-442-27364-9


Additional reference pertaining to Samuel Colts lithophanes are located at the Connecticut Historical Society - Samuel Colt papers, in particular box 7.

List of Hong Kong poets

This is a list of poets from or based in Hong Kong

Chinese-language poets

English-language poets

*Sayed Gouda
*Alan Jefferies

La Jeunesse

La Jeunesse, or New Youth was an influential magazine in the 1920s that played an important role during the May Fourth Movement.

The magazine was started by Chen Duxiu in Shanghai on 15 September 1915. Its headquarters were moved to Beijing in January 1917. Editors included Chen Duxiu, Qian Xuantong, Gao Yihan, Hu Shih, Li Dazhao, Shen Yinmo, and Lu Xun. It initiated the New Culture Movement, promoting science, democracy, and Vernacular Chinese literature.

Being influenced by the 1917 Russian October Revolution, ''La Jeunesse'' also began to promote Marxism and its philosophy. From September 1920, ''La Jeunesse'' became a propaganda tool of the Communist Party of China. It was shut down in 1926. In the early days, ''La Jeunesse'' had influenced thousands of Chinese youngsters including many leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.


Kuso is the term used in East Asia for the internet culture that generally includes all types of and parody. The Mandarin Chinese word ''ègǎo'' is often used as a synonym or description of its meaning. In , means shit, and is often uttered as an interjection. It is also used to describe outrageous matters and objects of poor quality. This definition of kuso was brought into Taiwan in around 2000 by young people who frequent Japanese websites and quickly became an internet phenomenon, spreading to Hong Kong and subsequently the rest of China.


The roots of Taiwanese "kuso" was ''kuso-ge'''s from Japan. The word ''kuso-ge'' is a portmanteau of ''kuso'' and ''game'', which means, quite literally, "shitty games". The introduction of such a category is to teach gamers how to appreciate and enjoy a game of poor quality - such as appreciating the games' outrageous flaws instead of getting frustrated at them. This philosophy soon spread to Taiwan, where people would share the games and their comments on es. Games generally branded as kuso in Taiwan include ''Hong Kong 97'' and the ''Death Crimson'' series.

Because ''kuso-ge''s were often unintentionally funny, soon the definition of kuso in Taiwan shifted to "anything hilarious", and people started to brand anything outrageous and funny as kuso. Parodies, such as the Chinese robot Xianxingzhe ridiculed by a Japanese website, were marked as kuso. Mo lei tau films by Stephen Chow are often said to be kuso as well. The Cultural Revolution is often a subject of parody too, with songs such as ''I Love Beijing Tiananmen'' spread around the internet for laughs.

Some, however, limit the definition of kuso to "humour limited to those about Hong Kong comics or Japanese anime, manga, and games". Kuso by those definitions are mostly doujins or fanfictions. Fictional crossovers are common media for kuso, such as re-drawing certain bishōjo anime in the style of ''Fist of the North Star'', or blending elements of two different items together.

Original content plays a big part in kuso, with various webmasters encouraging people to "take part in creating Taiwan's kuso miracle". One famous example, ''Iron Fist Invincible Sun Yat-sen'', places Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-Shek, Mao Zedong, and other influential historical figures of the time as martial artists in a wuxia setting.

The kuso culture runs deep in Taiwan, as some call it a remedy from stressful times. Many forums in Taiwan have discussion boards dedicated to the making and sharing of kuso. People engaging in a kuso conversation on the internet would refer specifically to various items of kuso, and often mimicking how characters in Hong Kong comics would talk. Flash mobs in Taiwan are often generated by this culture.

List of items generally accepted to be kuso

*Back Dorm Boys
*''Cho Aniki''
*''Circus Action''
*''Death Crimson'' series
*''Fist of the North Star
*''Grandpa You're Back''
*''Hong Kong 97''
*Hong Kong comics
*Hong Konger Front
*''Iron Fist Invincible Sun Yat-sen''
*Mo lei tau
*Stephen Chow movies, such as:
**''A Chinese Odyssey''
**''From Beijing With Love
**''God of Cookery''
**''Shaolin Soccer''