Thursday, July 28, 2005

Amalfi Introduced What?

While searching for vacation destinations in Italy, I begin to read introductions on the Amalfi Coast........

The Amalfi coast is unique in the world for its natural beauty, breath-taking views, colours and characteristicness. Small picturesque fishing villages are scattered in clusters, upon the front face of the mountain. Villas, churches and corner shops are built cut out of the rock, on top of each other climbing up the mountain from the water's edge. All buildings are surrounded by kept gardens and terraces, narrow pebbled streets and endless steps, lemon trees, grape and olive vine's and the perfume of nature. It is a presence rich in history and culture, which is still alive today, among so many artistic memories of the past.....

I was pleasantly engaged until this burn my eyes.....

Amalfi introduced instruments, such as the compass, and ideas such as the fundamentals of navigation, to the West....

My national pride "was hurt" when I thought they are taking credit for what we Chinese believe that we have introduced to the world. When I re-read it, I found the above statement is cautiously vague. It did not really say from whom did the Amalfi people got the idea of compass or fundatmentals of navigations.

Yes, Amalfi introduced Compass to the West, yet Chinese invented THAT as well Printing, Fire Powder and Paper. Our four contributions to the world, dying for more. I don't care what Edison did or Bill Gates brought to the world. History is history. It can not be altered.

The point is why do we care.

This reminded me of another converstaion I had the other day with a funny but not SO funny energy analyst at a bar near Grand Central, he said" you know, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Indian, they are all very proud people. Thus the heated oil disbute in Asia."

I think the word proud here are interchangable to prone to be hurt. We are very touchy people. We think others have malicious intentions and contempt to our great wisdom. We are people with burdens and wounds. We are people that need to unload some of these national pride and choose easier- going apporaches. We should not always choose to talk in wrong times and at wrong places yet stay quiet when we actually should speak out. When can we stop acting strange?

But maybe I am just talking about myself.

I am writting someting called Smart Asian. It ultimately demonstrates that reality could be very different from perception. Stay tuned.


baomin said...

there are more occassions than I care to count that people made false claims to pride themselves. Sometimes, not only does it become ridiculous, but hilarious and comical as Koreans claimed they invented BaGua and Japanese invented HanZi and Calligraphy. To my amusement, these false statements are widely accepted. It is a pity.

Should we defend our national pride like hell and get the right message out whenever we can? I don't feel it absolutely necessary.

When it really matters, the facts will illuminate and emerge. Those falsification generators and propogators will receive what they planted (read: humiliation) and they deserve it. That's why vanity is vanity and will eventually be in vain.

For ourselves, we have to know the difference between facts and opinions.

vivianzhu said...

Great insights! I also like what you said today "the big mouths tend to speak before they know and hope through their speaking they learn". I am a big mouth like that sometimes. But I am just a shallow woman and I have learned. ;-)