Hongkong/China/Pearl Buck/D/E/I

Hongkong 1975

Hongkong 1975


Seit Wochen sehen und hören wir von den Unruhen in Hongkong, weil der von Chinas Gnaden gewählte Regierungschef Leung Chun-ying von vielen Menschen nicht erwünscht ist und die demokratischen Rechte auszuhöhlen scheint. Vor der Rückgabe Hongkongs an China war festgelegt worden, dass die sieben Millionen Einwohner ihren Regierungschef dereinst frei wählen dürfen. Peking will nun jedoch für die Wahlen 2017 nur akzeptierte Kandidaten zulassen. In den letzten Tagen hatte man die Hoffnung, dass durch Gespräche Lösungen gefunden werden könnten. Leider sind diese nun aus fadenscheinigen Gründen abgesagt worden, was nur noch zu einem grösseren Vertrauensverlust und mehr Gewalt führt. Es scheint nun, dass neue und eingeschränktere Gespräche für die kommende Wochen angesagt sind. Geben wir die Hoffnung nicht auf!!

Zitat von Konfuzius:Es ist besser, ein einziges kleines Licht anzuzünden, als die Dunkelheit zu verfluchen.

For weeks we’ve watched scenes about unrests in Hongkong, because the head of government, Leung Chun-ying is not accepted by a lot of citizens, because he seems to erode democratic rights. Before the restitution of Hongkong to China, it was established that the seven million inhabitants could elect their head of government on their own in the future. Peking, however, intends now to accept only suitable candidates for the election in 2017. These last days one had the hope that solutions could be found with the help of talks. Unfortunately, these talks have in the meantime been cancelled with flimsy explanations, which only increase the loss of confidence and violence. It seems, however, that new and restricted talks are now foreseen for the coming week. Let’s hope!!

Quote by Confucius:It’s better to make one small light than to curse darkness.

Hongkong 1975

Dschunken in Hongkong 1975/Ich habe nie in meinem Leben besser gegessen als hier! I’ve never in my life eaten any better food than here!

Ich war früher einmal in Hongkong und das quirlige Leben dort faszinierte mich, obwohl Raum schon damals sehr kostbar war. Später bin ich auch in China gereist und ich nun habe ich zufällig auch noch das vielleicht nicht mehr so neue, aber meiner Meinung nach immer noch sehr lesenswerte Buch“ Three Daughters of Madame Liang” (Die Töchter der Madame Liang)von Pearl Buck auf Französisch gelesen. Aus all diesen verschiedenen Gründen ist mir die jüngste Geschichte Chinas wieder näher gekommen.

Zitat von Konfuzius:Der Anführer eines großen Heeres kann besiegt werden. Aber den festen Entschluß eines einzigen kannst du nicht wankend machen.

I’ve been in Hongkong in the past and liked the busy life in that city, despite the fact that space was already a precious thing at that time. Later I’ve also travelled in China and by chance I’ve also just finished reading the maybe not very recent novel by Pearl Buck, “ Three Daughters of Madame Liang”, which I still enjoyed very much. It’s probably for these various reasons that China’s recent history has come back to my mind. By the way, I have to admit that I have read the novel in French translated by Lola Tramac.

Quote by Cofucius:The leader of a big army can be conquered but the firm decision of a single person can’t be brought out of balance.

Tienanmendplatz, Peking

Tiananmen Platz, Peking

Pearl Buck hat mit Madame Liang eine Person geschaffen, die mich fasziniert und mich im Bann hält. Sie hatte den Mut ihren Mann zu verlassen, der sich eine Konkubine nahm, weil sie verantwortlich gemacht wurde, dass sie keinen Sohn gebar. Sie hat es auch geschafft in Schanghai ein Gourmet Restaurant auf die Beine zu stellen, in welchem sich die Reichen und Mächtigen der Volksrepublik haben verwöhnen lassen und die Vorstellung dieser auserlesenen Speisen haben sogar bei mir den Appetit angeregt. Madame Liang hat auch weiterhin die schönen Dinge des Lebens beibehalten, ganz genau wissend, welches Risiko sie damit einging. Ausserdem lass sie heimlich, im Buch „Buch der Veränderungen“ von Konfuzius, was natürlich in der Zeit total verboten und verpönt war.

Zitat von Konfuzius: Nur die Dümmsten und die Weisesten können sich nicht ändern.

With Madame Liang, Pearl Buck has created a character that fascinates and makes the book unputodownable for me. She had the courage to leave her husband because he had taken a concubine on the ground that she was responsible for not giving birth to a son. She succeeded in putting up a Gourmet restaurant in Shanghai, in which the rich and the powerful of the People’s Republic came to enjoy the lavish dishes and the imagination of these delicious food made even me hungry!

Madame Liang continued to maintain a luxurious way of life, very well aware of the risk she took. Beyond this, she also continued to read in Confucius’ “Book of changes”, which was then completely frowned upon and prohibited.

Quote by Conficius: Only the most stupid and the most wise people are never able to change themselves.

Verbotene Stadt

Verbotene Stadt

Pearl Buck è riuscita a creare con il suo carattere principale ed affascinante, la signora Liang appunto, un libro che non sono più riuscita a mettere da parte e che mi teneva a bada. La stessa ha avuto il coraggio di lasciare suo marito che si è presa una concubine, perché la riteneva responsabile per non aver dato vita ad un figlio. Madame Liang è anche riuscita ad aprire un ristorante da buongustaia a Shanghai, dove i ricchi e i potenti della Repubblica del Popolo si sono fati viziare e dove l’immaginazione di questi piatti squisiti hanno persino provocato l’appetito in me. Madame Liang ha poi mantenuto le bellezze della vita, benissimo sapendo il rischio che affrontava con questo comportamento . Inoltre, leggeva di nascosto nel libro “Libro del cambiamento” di Confucius che è stato allora proibito e malvisto.

Madame Liang gab ihre Hoffnung nicht auf, dass in ihrem Land eines Tages wieder Ordnung einkehren würde, sobald eine weisere Generation das Ruder wieder in die Hand nähme. Sie verzieh dem Volk für das, was passierte und machte die Leute verantwortlich, die es nicht geschafft hatten die unfähigen Führer zu entfernen, anstatt das ganze System auf den Kopf zu stellen.

Madame Liang has never given up hope, that in her country there would come the day of order again, as soon as a wise generation would take things into its hands. She excused her people for what happened and put the responsibility onto the shoulders of those people who had not been able to get rid of the unskilled leaders, instead of putting upside down the whole system.

Madame Liang non ha cessato di sperare, che la pace sarebbe ritornata nel suo paese, non appena che una generazione più saggia avesse preso in mano le redini. Lei scusava il popolo per quello succedeva e incolpava la gente che è riuscita a eliminare i leader incapaci, invece di mettere sopra sotta tutto il sistema.

Verbotene Stadt

Animals on the roof of a building indicate the importance of this.

Die Geschichte spielte in den 50iger/60iger Jahren und sie hatte ihre drei Töchter – Grace, Mercy und Joy- in die USA gesandt, um, wie sie im Buch sagt, stark zu werden. Mittels versteckter Nachrichten über ihre Schwester in Hongkong hoffte sie ihre Kinder überzeugen zu können, nicht mehr nach China zurückzukommen.

Leider wurden diese Nachrichten oft abgefangen und zuerst wurde ihre älteste Tochter, Grace, die Ärztin von der Regierung zurückgerufen. Sie konnte sich mit der neuen Situation ziemlich schnell arrangieren auch weil sie sich in den chinesischen Arzt Liu Pang verliebte. Die spätere Rückkehr in die Heimat von Mercy, einer Musikerin und ihrem Ehemann, John Sung, einem eigenständig denkenden Nuklear-Physiker endete tragisch, weil John, der Physiker nicht nach der Pfeife der Vorgesetzten tanzte, zur Zwangsarbeit in der Landwirtschaft verurteilt wurde und schliesslich infolge einer Explosion starb und sich die Beziehung zwischen und den beiden Schwestern zusehends verschlimmerte. Die Hungersnot dieser Jahre, infolge welcher Millionen von Menschen starben wurde auch durch wirtschaftliches Missmanagement, radikalen Umbau in der Landwirtschaft und den sozialen Druck verursacht.

The story took place in the fifties/sixties but she had her three daughters –Grace, Mercy and Joy -sent to the USA when they were still children in order to make them strong, as she says in the book. By sending hidden messages to her sister in Hongkong she had hoped to convince her children not to come back to China anymore.

Unfortunately, these notes were often intercepted and it was her oldest daughter Grace, now a doctor, to be first asked to return to China to serve the new society. She quite quickly came to grips with the new situation, also because she fell in love with a Chinese doctor, Liu Pang. The later return of Mercy, a musician, and her husband, an independent thinking nuclear-physician ended tragically, because he didn’t dance to the tunes of his superiors, was convicted to forces labour work and died finally because of an explosion. Also the relationship between the two sisters continued to worsen.

The famine in this period, due to which many million people died was also because of economic mismangement, extreme change in the farming sector and the social pressure.

La storia ha avuto luogo negli anni 50/6o e la signora Liang aveva mandato le tre figlie –Grace, Mercy e Joy – negli Stati Uniti, per diventare forti, come dice nel libro. Attraverso messaggi nascosti che ella ha mandato a suo sorella a Hongkong sperava di poter convincere le sue figlie di non ritornare in Cina.

Purtroppo quest’ultime sono spesso state intercettate e la sua figlia maggiore, Grace, la dottoressa, venne chiamata in patria dal Governo. Comunque, ella si è prestato arrangiato con la nuova situazione anche perché si è innamorata del medico cinese Liu Pang. Il rientro più tardi nella patria della musicista Mercy e il suo marito, il fisico-nucleare e pensatore autonomo, finiva tragicamente, perché quest’ultimo usciva dei ranghi. Egli veniva condannato al lavoro forzato nell’agricoltura e finalmente ucciso a causa di un’esplosione. La relazione delle due sorelle peggiorava continuamente. La grande fame di quegli anni, a causa della quale morivano a milioni, veniva causata dalla cattiva gestione dei responsabili, del cambiamento radicale nell’agricoltura e per via di pressione sociale.

Die jüngste Tochter Jay, eine Künstlerin blieb in den USA, heiratete einen berühmten chinesischen Maler, dem China wenig am Herzen lag und schickte während der Hungersnot Lebensmittel nach China.

Auf Seite 221 sagt Madame Liang zu ihrer Familie: „Nicht die Armut muss man fürchten, sondern der fehlende Ausgleich zwischen Überfluss und Misere.“

Zitat von Konfuzius: Was du liebst, lass frei. Kommt es zurück, gehört es dir für immer.

Die Kulturrevolution konnte Madame Liang, ihr Restaurant und ihren passiven Widerstand gegen das Regime nicht dulden und entledigte sich dieser eindrücklichen Frau!

Übrigens war Pearl Buck die erste Frau, die den Nobelpreis für Literatur bekam!

Madame Liang’s youngest daughter, an artist, remained in the USA and married a famous Chinese painter, who is not very interested in his home country. During the famine Joy sent food to her family in China.

On page 221 Madame Liang says the following sentece to her family: „It’s not poverty one has to be afraid of, but the lacking balance between abondance and misery.“

Quote by Confucius:Let go, what you really love. Does it come back, it will be yours forever.

 The cultural revolution could, of course, not tolerate this amazing woman and her passive resistance against the new regime and she had to be swept away.

By the way, Pearl Buck was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature!

La figlia più giovane, Jay, un artista, rimane negli USA, dove si sposa con un famoso pittore cinese, al quale Cina era poco cara, e inviando cibo in patria sua durante la fame.

A pagine 221 Madame Liang dice alla sua famiglia:

„Non bisogna temere la povertà, ma la mancata bilancia tra sovrabbondanza e miseria

Citazione di Confucius:

Lascia libera, quello che ami. Ritorna, ti appartiene per sempre.

La rivoluzione culturale non poteva tollerare più a lungo la Madame Liang e il suo ristorante, la sua resistenza passiva contro il regime e se ne liberava di lei.


Da Pearl Buck auch immer wieder von der herausragenden chinesischen Kultur spricht, möchte ich hier einige der wichtigen Erfindungen von Chinesen erwähnen.

As Pearl Buck continues to mention the outstanding culture of China I thought to add some of the inventions made by Chinese people:

Wir alle wissen wahrscheinlich, dass China das erste Land der Welt war, das eigenes Papier produzierte. Die Erfindung der Papierherstellung ist eine der wichtigsten Erfindungen Chinas und half die Entwicklung der menschlichen Zivilisation voranzubringen.

We probably all know that China was the first country in the world to make its proper paper. The invention of papermaking is one of China’s significant contributions to the spread and the development of human civilization.

Come probabilmente sappiamo, la Cina fu il primo paese del mondo a produrre la propria carta. La scoperta della produzione della carta è anche la più importante di Cina ed ha aiutato a portare la civilizzazione umana più avanti. L’invenzione di stampa apparve circa 2000anni fa e fu il primo metodo nel mondo. I cinesi cominciarono durante la dinastia del TANG (618-907) a imprimere su lastre intagliate.

Visto che Pearl Buck parla continuamente della cultura cinese straordinaria vorrei elencare alcune delle loro scoperte.

This medieval astronomical clock is not in China but in Prague!

This medieval astronomical clock is not in China but in Prague!

Gemäss Geschichtsforschung wurde die erste Uhr von Yi Xing, einem buddhistischen Mönch und Mathematiker in der Tang Dynastie (618-907) erfunden. Die Uhr von Yi funktionierte mit Wasser, das gleichmässig auf ein Rad fiel und in 24 Stunden eine Drehung machte.

According to historical research, the world’s first clock was invented by Yi Xing, a Buddhist monk and mathematician of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Yi’s clock operated with water steadily dripping on a wheel that made a full revolution every 24 hours.

Le ricerche di storia hanno evidenziato che il primo orologio è stato sviluppato da Yi Xing, un monaco buddhista e matematico, anche lui della dinastia di TANG (A noi hanno detto che questa dinastia fu la più sviluppata in assoluta.) L’orologio di Yi funzionava con acqua, che gocciolava entro 24 ore in modo regolarmente su una ruota facendola girare.

Die Erfindung des Holztafeldruck erschien vor über 2000 Jahren und war das erste Druckverfahren weltweit. In der Tang (618-907) Dynastie begannen die Chinesen mit geschnitzten Tafeln zu drucken.

The Chinese invention of Woodblock printing first appeared over 2,000 years ago, and produced the world’s first printings. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Chinese began to print with carved blocks.

Gemäss der chinesischen Legende waren Yi Di und Du Kant in der Xia Dynastie (ca. 2000v. Chr-1046 v. Chr.) die ältesten Alkohol Produzenten von China. Nachforschungen zeigen, dass das normale Bier, mit einem Alkoholgehalt von 4%-5% im ganzen Land getrunken wurde.

The earliest alcohol makers in Chinese legend were Yi Di and Du Kang of the Xia Dynasty (about 2000 BC-1600 BC). Research shows that ordinary beer, with an alcoholic content of 4% to 5%, was widely consumed in ancient China.

Secondo la leggenda cinese furono Yi Di e Du Kant ad essere i più anziani produttori di alcool nella dinastia di Xia ,(approx.. 2000 A.C.-1046A.C.) . Richerche evidenziano che birra normale, con un tasso d’alcool di 4%-5%, veniva bevuta in tutta la Cina.



 Das Porzellan ist eine sehr spezielle Art von Keramik und wird bei extremen Temperaturen in einem Brennofen hergestellt. Porzellan soll ursprünglich natürlich auch aus China kommen und es gibt dem Land auch den Namen.

Porcelain is a very specific kind of ceramic produced in the extreme temperatures of a kiln. Porcelain is, of course, also said to originally come from China. It also gives the country its name.

La porcellana è una specie di ceramica è viene prodotto con temperature estreme in un forno. Si dice che anche quest’ultima proviene originariamente naturalmente dalla Cina e da anche il nome al paese stesso.

Man sagt, dass der chinesische Kaiser Shen Nong, um 2.737 v.Chr. der erste gewesen sei, der Tee getrunken habe. Darnach habe ein unbekannter chinesischer Erfinder den Teehäcksler produziert. Das war ein kleines Gerät mit einem scharfen Rad in der Mitte der Keramik-oder Holzkanne, welches die Blätter in feine Streifen schnitt. Während der Tang (618-907) und Song (960-1279) Dynastien nahm die Teeproduktion rasant zu und das Teetrinken wurde in China und der ganzen Welt sehr beliebt.

According to Chinese legend, tea was first drunk by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong around 2,737 BC. Then, an unknown Chinese inventor created the tea shredder, a small device that used a sharp wheel in the center of a ceramic or wooden pot that would slice the leaves into thin strips. During the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, tea production developed rapidly, and tea became a popular drink around the country and the world.

Si dice che l’imperatore cinese Shen Nong, intorno a 2.737 A.C. fosse stato il prima ad aver bevuto del tè. Dopodiché un inventore cinese sconosciuto avrebbe prodotto la sminuzzatrice, ossia un piccolo aggeggio con una rota pungente in mezzo alla brocca di ceramica oppure legna, che tagliava le foglie in strisce molto fini.

Durante la dinastia di TANG e SONG aumentava la produzione del tè in modo impressionante e il bere del tè veniva una moda in tutto il mondo.

About tea!

About tea!

Die ersten Kompässe waren wahrscheinlich nicht für die Seefahrt entwickelt, sondern um die Umgebung und die Gebäude harmonisch mit den geometrischen Prinzipien von Feng Shui zu gestalten.

The earliest Chinese compasses were probably not originally invented for navigation, but to harmonize environments and buildings in accordance with the geometric principles of Feng Shui.

I primi compassi non erano probabilmente svilupate per la navigazione, ma alfine di creare l’ambiente e le costruzioni in modo armonico con principi geometrici di Feng Shui

Harmony with the surrounding

Harmony with the surrounding

Das Schiesspulver ist seit dem späten 19. Jahrhundert als Schwarzpulver bekannt und ist eine Mischung aus Schwefel, Kohle und Kalium Nitrat. Weil es sehr schnell brennt und viel Hitze und Gas produziert, wurde es vielerorts als Treibgas bei Waffen und als pyrotechnische Komposition bei Feuerwerk genutzt.

Gunpowder, known since the late 19th century as black powder, is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. Because it burns rapidly and generates a large amount of heat and gas, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks.

 This is the link to my post about “Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress” and the period under Mao, when students had to work the fields of which they didn’t understand anything, instead of studying:Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress/by Dai Sijie

Link zu meiner Zusammenfassung von Drachensaat von Pearl Buck:https://rivella49.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/pearl-s-buckdrachensaatthe-good-earth/

La polvere da sparo è conosciuta dal tardo 19. secolo come polvere pirica ed è una miscela di zolfo, carbone e nitrato di potassio. Dato che brucia molto velocemente e che produce tanto calore e gas, veniva spesso usato come gas propellente nelle arma e come composizione pirotecnica con i fuochi d’artificio.


Tiere auf den Dächern in Peking bezeugen die Wichtigkeit von diesen.


13 replies »

  1. sono riuscita a tradurre con Google, certo se vuoi adoperare anche la mia bella lingua -che fra l’altro tu parli molto bene- ne sarei molto felice
    la Cina è un luogo per me ancora sconosciuto, da tempo il mio sogno è quello di arrivarci lentamente, percorrendo sulle orme di Marco Polo la -via della seta- anche quest’anno volevo fare un tentativo, arrivando da istambul, ad attraversare Iran ed Azerbaijan fino a Samarcanda, ma i venti di guerra che purtroppo devastano quei posti meravigliosi per natura, storia , cultura ed arte non me lo hanno permesso, ho scelto un itinerario più tranquillo scendendo a sud, che se poi mi seguirai sul blog potrai conoscere
    sono stata ugualmente felice delle immagini stratosferiche e delle spiegazioni qui lettel ti ringrazio cara, a presto


    • Cara AnnaLisa, ti ringrazio veramente molto per le tue care parole e faro il mio meglio per allegare la traduzione anche in italiano dello scritto, diciamo entro domenica!! Non l’ho fatto perché non mi sento così in forma. Comunque, ho parlato dei disordini che attualmente hanno luogo a Hongkong e di “le tre figlie di Madame Liang”. Ella è stata molto coraggioso e ha lasciato suo marito che ha preso una concubina e ha poi aperto un ristorante e ha continuato a vivere come prima di Mao. Inoltre ha mandato le proprie figlie in USA per diventare forti, come diceva.
      Io sono già stata in Usbekistan e ho visto le meraviglie del paese. Purtroppo non c’è lo fatto per Iran. Sono comuque molto curiosa di quanto scrivi. Cari saluti 🙂


  2. I read “The Three Daughters of Madame Liang” when I was a teenager, which was a long, long time ago. I remember the way Pearl Buck was able to bring out the story in a way that I was part of the journey. I just finished reading an excellent biography by Hilary Spurling “Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth.” An extraordinary life.

    I love the detail in your posts. Excellent as always…


    • These words are really an excellent start into the new week. What you say about the feeling the book has given you, or your being a part of the journey, completely expresses my experience.
      Thank you so much also for the recommendation, which I’ve already ordered!
      By the way, I have read that Pearl Buck wanted so much to return one last time to China, together with President Nixon, but they did not let her come. That must have been very hard for her.
      I wish you all the best, also on your journeys!:)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rebecca, this is only to tell you that I’ve read the touching book you proposed about the amazing and hard life of Purl Buck, which give also real insight in China at the first part of the twentiest century. Thank you for your proposal. I wish you a happy advent Sunday.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A rich, varied post that shows many facets of China/Hong Kong. I’ll admit that I’ve never heard of this book, but I enjoy cultural fiction so I will try to find it. The quotes by Confucius are priceless and I love the photos.


    • Good morning Julie,
      thank you very much for your precious words. I also love the words of Confucius! I don’t know, however, whether you can still find Pearl Buck’s ” Three daughters of Madame Liang” but if not maybe “Good Earth” could also be an idea or as Rebecca has proposes “Journey to The Good Earth” I am reading it at the moment and Hilary Spurling describes in a touching way Pearl Buck’s childhood and the surrounding she lives in.
      China is certainly worth a journey!
      I wish you a very nice weekend.
      Best regards Martina


  4. Very interesting indeed. Your photos are fantastic too. I’m always interested in reading articles about the Far East, as I lived in Hong Kong as a child and was born in Singapore. Thanks for the book recommendation will look into that!


    • That is really an interesting comment, thank you very much. It would be good to know what you think about the actual situation in Hongkong. Anyway, Rebecca recommended “A Journey to Good Earth” by Hilary Hurling, in which the writer describes in a touching and fascinating way the live of Pearl S. Buch and China itself at the beginning twentieth century. Unfortunately, I’ve only very shortly been in Singapore. Have a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

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