170ith Post (am I Gay or Chinese?)

This is my 170ith post. I have been writing everyday for half a year. Last month my blog averaged 900 hits per day. I took a little break over the last few days, not because I didn't have anything to write about, but because I just didn't want to sit down at the computer.


Besides being social, I've been reading papers from a recent conference on Daoism and I pulled out my video camera → so I'll have some more video for you soon.
Last week I had a number of server problems which are unsolved, floating in the air. I know very little about computers really, but I manged to add a few plug-ins like this colored highlighting. I suppose I will learn eventually. Meanwhile I'd like to point out that although my list of categories on the right hand column is rather general, the search box works really well. For instance, you can search for every mention of the word "fear," and get an interesting list, or if you like try "death" or "medicine"
I've also been lax about responding to comments, kind of like how some people get behind on their emails and just decide to forget about them. But that reminds me, Dave over at Formosa Neijia asked me a question I didn't have an answer for:

Why didn't I mention homosexuality in my post about the Rabbit God (the Chinese God of Gays)? Why did I do that? For one, I wanted to see if people were following my links. But I think I was also internally conflicted about how I should be talking about gayness to an international audience.

I'm pretty sure that 10% of my international audience is gay and at least 20% of my Youtube audience is gay but in the closet. I'm not myself gay (yet) but I do have a rainbow flag bumper-sticker on my car. This is not just so that if someone cuts me off in traffic I can claim it is a hate crime. No, I actually have an affinity with gayness. As a martial artist who hardly ever gets a chance to really test his skills, I have been hoping that someone will attack me for being gay and I will have a righteous reason to demonstrate my martial superiority!

This reminds me of a rather surprising question which I get quite often: Am I Chinese?

This question is all the more surprising because it is more often than not Chinese Elementary School children or their parents who are asking me the question. Chinese-ness is not as well defined as one might think.

I was teasing a friend of mine from Sichuan the other day. The word Chinese doesn't really exist in Chinese. There is Zhong guoren which means "Center Country People," and there is the term "Han," which is sort of like an ethnicity because citizens of "the Center Country" who do not identify as Han are considered ethnic minorities. (The term Han is really a reference to the first long lasting historic dynasty, the Han Dynasty which lasted 400 years from about 200 BCE to about 200 CE.) So I asked my friend from Sichuan how long her family has been Han and she said, "We registered about 400 years ago during the last part of the Ming Dynasty." I'm not sure there are reliable numbers available, but I'd bet at least half of China could make a simular admission.

I put the question "What makes a person Chinese?" to a rather well informed scholar and she said, "It is clearly not one ethnic group, and clearly not a language either. The cohesive fabric could well be the written language, but most people for most of history have been illiterate. So I would have to say it is Qigong! What all Chinese communities have in common is that people get up in the morning and do long-life movement routines."

Being literate in Chinese written language has some merit as a definition of Chinese-ness. For 2000 years up until the 1800's China had the highest percentage of literate people in the world (unless you include Jews which have had nearly 100% literacy for men for nearly 2000 years.)
I asked a woman from Taiwan if she was Han, and she said "No, my people originally (500 years ago) came form South China which was never part of the Han Dynasty. It would be better to call me Tang! (After the Tang Dynasty 600-900 CE.)

So as the gongfu teacher in several Elementary schools, the answer I usually give to the question, "Are you Chinese?" is: "That depends on how you define Chinese." Which has so far satisfied all inquires.