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Saturday, July 13, 2013
About The Downfall Of Old Dynasties
I was at
Penang International Airport arrival hall waiting for my mom and I overheard a
pretty interesting conversation next to my seat. This story is about the
influence of names on the fall of old Chinese kingdom until the World War II.
who are not familiar with Chinese culture, the Chinese attributed our physical
world into 5 elements (五行): metal (金), wood (木), water (水), fire (火) and earth (土). A very simple
relationship of these 5 elements is as below:
-> water -> wood -> fire -> earth, where -> indicates give birth
x wood x earth x water x fire, where ‘x’ indicates beset by.
basic 5 elemental relationship in mind, now let’s talk about the old Chinese
dynasties. For simplicity of discussion, I list them as below as well according
to the chronological of events:
The first in the pipeline
is the Song Dynasty (宋). The Han character for Song is ‘宋’; and this belongs to the
wood element. Song Dynasty is besieged by the Yuan Dynasty; another name for Yuan
Dynasty is’金’, i.e. ‘metal’. Now this Yuan Dynasty is again besieged by Ming
Dynasty, the word ‘明’ is made up of two words i.e. ‘sun + moon’ and hence has the fire
element. This Ming Dynasty was then besieged by the Qing Dynasty; the word ‘清’ has the water element, so
the fire was extinguished by the water element. After ruling China for a few hundreds
of years, Mr. Sun Yet-Sen (孫中山) toppled the Qing Dynasty and forms the Nationalist China (民國) and this period has the
influence of earth element. This is in line with the theory that the earth
element besieged the water element. So the Qing Dynasty also kaput follows this
elemental golden rule.
Now comes the World War II,
the Japan invaded majority of Asia including China. The Han character of Japan
is ‘日本’, the later word
belongs to the wood element. So it is pretty clear that the wood element
besieged the earth element… And as the story goes, America dropped two atomic
bombs onto Japan, and the Chinese use to call America as ‘The West’. The ‘west’
direction belongs to ‘metal’ element; this again fit to the theory of the 5
As to what happened next
was not told by the story teller, perhaps you can help me to fill in the gaps J!