- Paperback: 162 pages
- Publisher: Allen & Unwin (October 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1863731164
- ISBN-13: 978-1863731164
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ugly Chinaman and the Crisis of Chinese Culture Paperback – October, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
Bo Yang had a particular purpose in his mind when he wrote the book. His target audience was his fellow Chinese, especially those living in Taiwan, who at the time were still lulled in the belief that Chinese culture (or at least as it was preserved in Taiwan) was the best among all civilizations. While everyone acknowledged that the West was technologically superior, many felt that spiritually and culturally China still triumphed over the decadent West. No one disputed that Chinese society had severe problems. But prior to Bo Yang's work, it was customary to blame these ills either on Westernization or a departure from China's true values. Bo Yang turned the tables by arguing that the culture itself was the source of these ills. It is as earth-shattering as William Bennett coming out and identifying Judeo-Christian values as the source of much that is wrong with the West.
When Bo Yang's work crossed the seas and entered the mainland, the effect was somewhat different. Mainland China had always blamed China's evils on the "feudal" (whatever that term means) culture of ancient China, so in many ways Bo Yang's criticism of Chinese culture resonated with what the communist government and mainland intellectuals believed at the time (this anti-tradition stance had reached its height in the 1919 May 4th Movement, and continued ever since on the mainland. In Taiwan, however, the ruling government returned to a staunchly pro-tradition, neo-conservative stance).Read more ›
But Taiwanese journalist Bo Yang showed me that the problems go much deeper than any woes created by the present regime in China, or the ending of British protection in 1997. Bo Yang argues the problem goes back centuries, a long period of repeated stultification within Chinese society - a combination of repressive leaders, static social systems and a reverence of doing exactly what your ancestors did, nothing more, nothing new.
I felt I understood China and Hong Kong a little bit better after reading this. The crowds along Des Voeux Road in Central, Hong Kong, may still be one of the most offensive social phenomena in the world; people may still laugh when old ladies slip in the blood of the Wanchai Wet Market; spitting, belching and wind-breaking may still be dealt out with nonchalance, but Bo Yang showed me there was a very good reason for this. A very moving, sad and poignant reason. I couldn't stay angry or annoyed after reading this.Read more ›
Bo Yang died in hospital on 29th April 2008 of pneumonia complications at the ripe age of 88, at 1:10AM Taiwan local time (GMT+9) in Sindien City, Taiwan. He will be sadly missed.
I rate and recommend Bo Yang's "The Ugly Chinaman" highly, indeed second only to the Bible alone.
Each and every individual Chinese and all others who have any exposure or connection to the Chinese culture should read it at least THRICE. Have some background knowledge on Chinese history, open up your mind with a rational thinking . . . and you will actually WANT to read it over and over again. You will then wonder why Confucius has been regarded for millennia as the greatest Chinese philosopher ever. Now we have one greater than Confucius by leaps and bounds - Bo Yang.
Bo Yang was stating the grim fact that (at least part of) the Chinese culture has long rotten. So rotten that generations after generations of Chinese people under it are so much influenced that they have lost their own identities, lost their individual ways of thinking, lost their abilities to judge, lost the power to unite, and ultimately, lost their very own dignities.
He further points out the saddest and most appalling thing under this rotten culture: that any individual who dares to show his individual way of thinking or his ability to judge would be treated as an outcast, a "cultural traitor", a pariah of society, which, in ancient China, could be punishable by imprisonment of arbitrary periods. Or even death.
The author was NOT attacking the Chinese people in general.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good look at the critique and examination of general Chinese culture and behavior from a Chinese point of view.Published 24 months ago by Rashnu
I was hoping for some deep insight into Chinese culture. What I got was a hateful rant with no hard evidence or solid reasoning.Published on December 20, 2012 by Jerome Cole
I read this book after seven or eight years of living in Taiwan. I had known about it for a while, but Taiwanese bookstores, usually well-stocked with English language books about... Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by Troy Parfitt
Why do dictators, communists, crazies, psychos like Red commies in North Korea, ex-USSR, North Korea or Cuban dictator for life, Fidel Castro have an obsession with controlling... Read morePublished on April 1, 2006 by Galileo Galilei
I read the chinese version and being a "chinese" who lived in a non-chinese country for 13 years, I was not awared of all the "bad habits" of the chinese until I read this book. Read morePublished on January 5, 2006 by H. Gao
I read the Chinese version of this book 'Ugly Chinaman...'. I think and I do agree that certain points that Bo Yang had raised were true; such as talking loud in public, spitting... Read morePublished on September 8, 2005 by motivationworks
Bo Yang's book is a landmark work in the history of China.
Chinese intellectuals all over the world for the last 200-300 have thought about the incredible backwardness... Read more