Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chin to China, part 3

[cont'd from part 2]

This very strange Chinese woman didn’t know the heroic tradition as a series of works that build on each other. She didn’t know the stories or their forms well enough to tell a real story from a fake. She didn’t know the stories of children come to teach the adults not to sell their children for the good life was a uniquely Asian form. Only the Asians featured heroes who came to the earth in boats, in the form of an egg, (Poon Goo) a lotus bud ( Nah Jah), a node of bamboo (Kaguya Hime), a giant peach (Momotaro) aburst with a hero to instruct the earthlings, the adults of the world not to sell their children for the good life. A Japanese American woman says we don’t know what Kaguya Hime said in her letter to the Emperor, but we know they don’t live happily ever after.

“When we’re young we accept being told we don’t know what she writes her lover. And we don’t ask. But we’re older now. We might have even done ‘it.’ She secrets half the elixir of life in the letter to the emperor. We know she is a princess of the Moon sent here as punishment for an unknown crime on the Moon. The Elixir will give the Emperor immortality and the power to fly to the moon and be with the woman he loves. But the emperor of Japan and the princess of the Moon are special. They are the soul of their land. He can never leave Japan and she has to be home for the passing of her immortal father. They are the contrasting dots in the dark and light bladders of the yin yang symbol.”

The similarity of the stories to each other define them as a form. The form is unique to Asia.



She didn’t hear herself as stupid when she desperately changed the subject by charmingly comparing Monkey, the character from JOURNEY TO THE WEST to the American Indian character “Coyote” saying “Monkey was a trickster too.” She wasn’t a racist, she was just stupid. She was simply stupid. Every word out of her mouth was STUPID!!It was the English dept combined with AAStudies that was racist, in dignifying her stupidity with tenure. Ah, sweet tenure. I love it. Tenure means anything she says is smart, intelligent, brilliant. Arrgh! I said, “Monkey was not trickster. He was a killer.”

Ladylike and patronizing and straining her patience, she says, “That is not Monkey! Everyone agrees that Monkey is a Buddhist novel. Monkey would never disrespect Buddha.”

“Everyone is stupid! Monkey sees through the pretensions and fancy rhetoric of everyone, including the pompous self-important Buddha!”

“What!” She hadn’t heard this before.

“The Tang Priest says, THOU SHALT NOT KILL! The evil spirits say, THOU SHALT NOT KILL! Before Monkey kills them. Monkey’s girlfriend Kwan Yin says THOU SHALT NOT KILL, Buddha says THOU SHALT NOT KILL. And Monkey defies Buddha by killing the fake Monkey right under Buddha’s nose!”

“He does not!”

“Right between Buddha’s crossed eyes, Monkey kills! And it’s significant that no one, including Buddha can tell the difference between the real and fake Monkey, except the real Monkey. He’s the proof that he knows more than the Buddha. You must remember the chapter, it’s a favorite of opera and comic books unambiguously titled THE REAL AND FAKE MONKEY,” I say.

“My mother had this Monkey book published by New Directions…” a visiting poet with a Chinese mother and a Dutch father says.

“Yes, the Arthur Waley’s racist bowdlerization of MONKEY.”

“How bowdlerized?”

“Go on, you were going to deny Monkey kills in front of Buddha.”

“No, I was recalling the chapter where Monkey tries to fly away from Buddha and flies to a mountain with five peaks, and he urinates at the base of one, and it turns out to he pissed on Buddha’s finger.”


“That shows that Monkey could not get away from Buddha. Buddha is universal. ”

“No, all the Buddha’s trick does is make Monkey mad. That happens early in the book. THE REAL AND THE FAKE MONKEY is Monkey’s revenge against Buddha. He kills in front of Buddha. Proves Buddha powerless! Why? Because he’s learned more than Buddha knows. He brings back the Buddhist texts, from India with the Tang priest, Sandy and Pigsy, safe and sound, and his mission complete, he turns his back on Buddha, like India itself, where Buddha was born, he dumps Buddha in his piddling little Nirvanah. He leaves the book. He’s long gone from the book when Buddha gets around to honoring him with the title of a sub-Buddha. And Monkey’s no where around to receive it.”

“Ah! Ah! Ah! Hold on there!” the prize Chinese expert on Chinese from China says.

“If a monkey born dumb as a rock can learn to be more than gods, more than the Jade Emperor, more than Buddha himself, so can men. That’s the lesson of Monkey.”

“That’s not right,” she snoots and turns away. “That’s not Monkey,” she says with disdain.

“Oooh, is baby upset?” I say with undisguised contempt. “Everything I said is a fact from the book. Monkey is missing from the last chapters. That’s the fact, not interpretation. Learn the difference. The class is assigned to read the book. It’s all there. It will go fast when you reach the last three chapters. Just read for Monkey’s name. All stuff in reference to the past. He’s just not there. That’s the fact. Give me facts from the book arranged into an acceptable paraphrase of Monkey that proves me wrong, or shuddup and stop making a fool of yourself. It does you no good to waste your time saying ‘No.’”

“No!” she snoots.

“All right, waste your time. But don’t waste mine. I will teach the second half of each class and you will keep your mouth shut or be gone, I don’t care. But I don’t want to hear your voice during my time, when I’m teaching.”

The Chinese woman with Russell’s eyes but thicker lashes said nothing.

“Chinaman lit knows history from Poon Goo making the earth Sun and moon, out the egg that carried him and his two eyes, and Nur Waw, who the Chinese have been trained not to notice that she was Poon Goo’s sister, that’s her in the connecting story of her coming to the earth.”

“No! No! No! I must interrupt!” Now, the Chinese trained professor teaching the Heroic Tradition with me wants to argue. “Nur Waw is not anyone’s sister, certainly not Poon Goo’s. They don’t so much as meet.”

“They don’t meet? Nur Waw comes to earth from the same outer space Poon Goo comes from.

“The earth is Poon Goo’s body. His eye is the sun. His other eye is the moon. His dandruff is the stars. The earth and everything found in the solar system, is all him. They have more than met. Maybe when you get a little older and learn about sex, you will realize that Nur Waw handling Poon Goo’s parts to make the six animals that serve man in six days, is six days of mutual manipulation and sexual foreplay. And on the seventh day she makes the human couple with her hands out of mud. That took too long. She cuts a phallic bamboo switch dips the tip in mud and flicks the mud off the stick. Where the flick splats …on the grass or a leaf, or twig, of a tree---becomes the Grass, Leaf, Twig, family. Nur Waw and Poon Goo fuck and fuck and fuck! That’s why Nur Waw is known as the Mother of Humanity. Who is the father? The deeper meaning is revealed without exposing the kids to tumescent and oozing organs in literary devices as numerous as the writers who know what they’re writing.” I said, “Now give me twenty dollars. I’m fining you a dollar for every word you say in my half of the class time.”

She laughs.

“Thirty dollars. And shut up, right now! Or thirty dollars and get out.” I licked my hand and put it out flat to receive my money. She placed thirty dollars in my hand, but did not leave. I put the three ten dollar bills in my wallet, and said, “MONKEY was written in the Ming.


The Ming, restored China to Chinese rule, in 1368 and a hundred years of bad jade and Mongol rule was nothing but a bad memory. (What no protest over “bad jade”?) The Ming Dynasty freed Chinese writing from the guises and disguises used to hide the Chinese content of their writing from the Mongols.

The Chinese writers of the Ming invented a new simpler, more direct Chinese form designed to make money. Popular operas for the semi-literate became in print the first novels. Operas from the low, became novels from the low, about the low. Nothing was lower than a monkey.

The low always have contempt for the emperor who fights his own rather than the nomadic horsemen of the north who covet China’s lush edible greenery.



In form, fictionalized history, and content, the vernacular novel was a new form, in a new aggressively Chinese language, and an aggressively new vision of Chinese as a nation bound by “blood brotherhood.” The 3 Brothers of the peach garden, the 108 outlaws of the Marsh combined don’t resemble any last emperor. The movement started in THREE KINGDOMS is capped by the story of Yue Fei being marked as a criminal by his mother, taunting the emperor by tattooing “Loyalty to the country” rather than “Loyalty to the emperor,” and the gathering of descendants of 3 KINGDOMS and THE 108 OUTLAWS OF THE MARSH paying their respects to the treasonous mother, and defying the emperor by burning incense at Yue Fei’s tomb.

The simplification of court language to an understandable mock court literary language, with a lot of rhyming and common characters using the common language, talking 0f common activities from bathroom functions to the issue of the day were operas had evolved to for at least five hundred years. So if the novels were quickly considered “insurrectionist” the operas they were based on must have been insurrectionist wanted posters on the move.

No wonder the opera people’s tong, the Bot Waw Wooey Goon was a prominent supporter of the Shaolin insurrection against the Imperial government, a euphemism for the fool at the top, the emperor of one of the Three Kingdoms, the coward of the Song (Sung), or the later Sung. Check the popular period personal combat movies from Hong Kong, that end up three or more good guys against one supremely bad guy. The TRIO OF DRAGON’S INN was a crunch of plots and conclusions that lent itself to being a moving paraphrase of the heroic tradition.

From the Ming on, to the present, the Chinese people have been known by their common knowledge of the Heroic Tradition of THREE KINGDOMS, THE BALLAD OF MULAN, MONKEY’S JOURNEY TO THE WEST, THE WATER MARGIN, and becomes obviously insurrectionist, with the fictionalized history GENERAL YUE FEI published the Manchu Qing. The Manchu were descended for the Jurchins, the bad guys to Yue Fei’s good. Other, lesser read works of heroic tradition are CREATION OF THE GODS, THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL. THE YANG FAMILY GENERALS and MUK GWAHYING.

I heard about, Qian Cao’s GENERAL YUE FEI in Chinatown, and even saw it when I was 11. A loner who did his kung fu in secret, showed it to me, to keep his secret. It was in Chinese. I couldn’t read Chinese. All the other works of the heroic tradition were accessible in several English translations. I read all the translations I could find in Chinatown bookstores (there used to be several), used bookstores like Holmes Books in Oakland that specialized in California and had extensive sections of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the Oakland library.

All but Yue Fei was translated. Why? There were pocket sized comic book children’s versions of Yue Fei in Chinese, in Chinatown. The pictures didn’t tell me much about why he was second only to the redfaced Kwan Kung among the Chinese my age from China. I collected apocryphal stories trying to put him and the novel together. From everyone I learned that he was the famous tattooed warrior. That much was universally known. But why was he famous for tattoos? He wasn’t the first tattooed warrior. There were several tattooed warriors among the 108 outlaws in THE WATER MARGIN, whose descendents joined Yue Fei as their grandparents had joined Song Jiang (Soong Gong) the outlaw leader of the Water Margin nicknamed “the Timely Rain.” All the kids I talked to knew that the corrupt government had him imprisoned and poisoned, and that his tomb on Westlake of Zhejiang, the Province directly south of Shanghai, was a popular shrine. How did that connect with his tattoos being so significant he, and not another, is the tattooed warrior?

While I was in New York, researching Chinatown gangs for TV, in the sixties, I went to the room of a kid born in America who pointed to a picture of a beardless warrior in a white costume. “Who’s that?” he asked. I didn’t know.

“Ngawk Fei,” he said, using the Cantonese pronunciation Yue Fei’s, “The tattooed warrior!” Who was Ngawk Fei, and other than being a criminal what was special about being tattooed?

Reading the three volume bi-lingual comic book YUE FEI published by Singapore’s T.C. Yang’s Canfonian PTE, suggested the answer. The tattoo was the mark of a criminal, at least since the time of the Water Margin, fifty years before the time of Yue Fei. I suspected that being tattooed with “Loyalty to the country” was not the same as being tattooed with “Loyalty to the Emperor.”

But Pretty Lips stupid by force of will, from Hong Kong kept shaking her head, “No. No. No.” My evidence was circumstantial from comic books and not from the novel itself.


The Tattooing of Yue Fei, became available to readers of English, in 1988, thanks to T.L. Yang’s translation of the Qing Dynasty’s Qian Cao’s popular novel GENERAL YUE FEI. T.L. Yang is the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong.

Qin Kuai (Chun Wooey) the traitorous Prime Minister of China set the emperor against China’s hero Yue Fei at everyturn of his life— from his youth to his death in a dungeon.

Qin Kuai has arranged for the emperor’s son to beat all comers in a martial arts contest. When Yue Fei kills the emperor’s son in a fight weighted in the prince’s favor, the Prime minister puts Yue Fei on a reward poster: Wanted for Murder. Only the intervention of the judge of the contest saves Yue Fei’s life, but dooms his own.

Years later the Northern Jurchens horse into China, Yue Fei is approached by patriotic pirates from the Water Margin to lead them against the invaders. Yue Fei becomes blood brothers with the pirates, but refuses to become a criminal. Yue Fei’s mother overhears her son and the pirates.

The Prime Minister causes the emperor to temporarily forgive Yue Fei’s past crimes and order him to save China. Yue Fei’s mother tattoos her son with a declaration of loyalty to “the country” the “gawk” not the “kwun” or “Commander” or “the emperor” which is a capital crime.

“My son, you go out and set up incense sticks and candles and put them on the incense table in the middle of the hall. I have a personal reason for doing this.”

“Yes,” said Yue Fei, and he went out, obtained the incense and candles, went to the central hall, placed the table in the middle, and placed a pair of candle sticks and an incense burner on it. Having arranged everything in its proper place, he entered to inform his mother that the incense table was ready and he invited his mother to go out.

Lady Yue came out with his (sic? I think “her” is meant) daughter-in-law. There they burned incense and lighted the candles in front of the scared family shrine. They paid obeisance to Heaven and Earth and to the ancestors, and the Lady commanded her son to kneel whilst the daughter-in-law was told to prepare the ink.

Kneeling down Yue Fei asked, “What command does Mother have for me?”

The Lady said, “I, your mother, saw that you did not accept the recruitment of the rebellious thief, and that you willingly endure poverty and are not tempted by wealth and status, this is of course extremely good. But I fear that after my death, there may be some unworthy creature who will come to entice you. And if you should momentarily lose your principles and do something disloyal, will you not have destroyed in one day your fragrant reputation gained in half a lifetime?

She intends to tattoo Yue Fei to prevent his changing his loyalty from “Gawk or Kuo” “the country,” in a moment of weakness, to “the Kwun,” “the emperor.”

For this reason, I have prayed to Heaven and Earth and to our ancestors, because I want to tattoo on your back the four characters ‘Utmost’, ‘Loyalty’, ‘Serve’ and ‘Nation’. I only hope you will be a loyal official, so that after your mother’s death, people going to and fro will say, ‘What a good lady, she has trained her son to achieve fame by serving his nation with the utmost loyalty, and so his reputation will continue its fragrance for a hundred generations’. I shall then smile even in my grave under the nine springs.”

Yue Fei however suggested, “The sage said, ‘One does not harm his body, hair and skin because all these he has received from his parents’. I shall of course accept and obey your solemn instruction. Please refrain from tattooing me!”

Because Yue knows that tattooing is to mark him as a criminal.

“Balderdash!” said the Lady.

A few words from Confucius are usually enough to stop an argument, Confucius is the Great Sage of China, after all, but rather then tempering her urge to tattoo, she ridicules the words of Confucius:

“If you should do something unworthy and are brought before the court under arrest, and if you should be beaten and knocked about, are you still to say to the official, ‘Having received the body, hair and skin from my parents I do not dare cause them any injury?’”

(pages 247-248)

Caught between a choice of the words of Confucius and his mother, Yue Fei goes with his mother.

Does she speak as the head of the Yue family clan? Is she declaring a shadow government of the fighting men the Yue family has attracted? Are the Yue’s a family clan that competes for an individual’s loyalty of arms with the ruler of the kingdom?

Yue Fei accepted the leadership of the army from Qin Kuai, the traitor that made Yue Fei a criminal at the beginning of the book. Lady Yue expected the crooked Prime Minister would be the one to tear off her son’s shirt. In the operas about this moment he is. The Prime Minister tears off Yue Fei’s shirt, reads the tattoo. He raises his hands bugs his eyes his mouth opens, he steps back in shock. Just as Lady Yue had envisioned. Her son was torn by a loyalty split between his resourceful family, and the Weak Cowardly Emperor.

Yue Fei beats prince Wushu’s Jurchen horsemen in the mountains, on the plains, on the waters in the valleys and is about to destroy Wushu’s invading army when the treacherous Prime Minister orders Yue Fei imprisoned and ignominiously killed... Thus the tattoos being the mark of a criminal is a unifying symbol of Yue Fei’s torn loyalty.

Qin Quai the traitorous Prime Minister is the model for the Chinese American Christian aspiring to miraculous whiteness through white fame, like Peter Kwong the author of CHINESE-AMERICANS: the immigrant experience, who falsifies two heroes of Chinese culture by attacking me.

Themes from the heroic tradition that speak to Chinamen are (1) the supremacy of family over the emperor (2) love is two warriors back to back fighting off the universe, (3) you don’t need parents to be a hero, (4) You don’t need China to be Chinese. (5) The hero dies without ever knowing why (6) if Monkey can learn the secret of learning itself, man can too.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Chin to China, part 2

[cont'd from part 1]


We were wrong not to distinguish between Christian CHINESE-AMERICAN lit invented in 1910, and the older, non-Christian “CHINAMAN” literature invented by the CHINESE ENGLISH PHRASE BOOK, of 1882, by Wong Sam & Associates. Chinaman literature. My apologies to my co-editors of AIIIEEEEE! And THE BIG AIIIEEEEE! history.

I was too hasty. I had never thought of “Chinaman” as a sensibility of the definition of a form of it’s own. And what of the WWII vets working as copy editors, reporters, and writers on the real metro daily dominants of their market, everyone knew were busy at their typewriter every night writing his or her guts into a novel based on their WWII experience.

Ken Wong of the San Francisco Examiner. Not a page, not a word of his novel will ever be read. His name will not exist. He’ll only be a memory, of a rainy day in San Francisco we were caught on each other’s eyes. I was looking for stuff to read for an AIIIEEEEE! I crossed Broadway to Grant, where Chinatown chugs cars into the street in the days Broadway was a long Bay Bridge on ramp. I talked to him in the rain about Chinese-American literature and made him dance like he was working hard not to burst his urge to piss.

Chinaman lit isn’t Christian, isn’t autobiographical. And it doesn’t lie. The Chinaman writers are Wong Sam & Associates (1882) and Chiang Yee of thirties, stranded in Britain by WWII. He told stories in two cultures and painted in the manners of two cultures with humor and charm, in his own signature style. I didn’t know what it was when I saw his work in a used bookstore, then at a friend’s house. The memory of the book in my hands and the comfortable uniqueness of printed form of the book, the shape of indented poetry in a different font, from the deceptively plain style of the prose. If there had been a Chinese American public that read about him in a Chinese American critic’s criticism in a CA magazine he wouldn’t be unknown and untaught in AALit as he is today. The magazine would try to both shape public knowledge and opinion, influence the writers and arts they criticize.

I say for the twelve smiling graduate stupids in class, “The Chinaman writer has no interest in being accepted by whites, as Monkey had no interest in being accepted by men.”

“I disagree,” the Chinese educated UCLA professor of AALit says, in her deep voice that reminds me of Hildagard Neff, “Monkey wants to be accepted by men, that’s why learns the ways of men.”

“There’s more to learning than learning the ways of men, Monkey learns from men who try to master him. He learns that the men that teach him try to master him, so he seeks the beings that men regard as masters, and learns that they are corrupt, as he beats what he wants to learn out of them.”

“I used to be Chinese, but I have learned to be Chinese-American, ” she says.

“Asian-Americans want to be mastered. Chinamen master but are not mastered,” I say. “Monkey tries to teach the Monkeys and Apes he settles in the Land of Fruit and Flowers behind the waterfall. But he learns beyond their ability to absorb his lessons. They are stuck in a tic tac toe championship.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the UCLA princess snoots.

“Exactly,” I say.


Ladies and gentlemen of China, AALit is your American offspring. Your very own American child. We were born whole in America, like Nah Jah come to China out of his mother’s womb in a lotus. The lotus was a boat, from some place. As Poon Goo’s egg was a boat, from some place. We were too young to ask where Nah Jah, or Poon Goo had come from. They landed in boats from mystery into Chinese consciousness. We landed in America in boats from Kwangtung, China.

It was no mystery where we had come from. The Qing were Manchu horsemen as the Chinese learned when Qian Cai published a novel GENERAL YUE FEI, about a Chinese hero from history, who beats Wushu, a prince of the horsemen, in the mountains, on the water, on the plains. The book was published after Qian Cao’s death ( he died sometime before 1735) after being banned from publication by Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) And published or not the novel was being read so the ban was lifted or drifted away by 1862. The plot of the novel reflected Chinese hatred of the Manchu and hatred of the Christians driving Chinese to service and consume opium. Good reading during the Opium War initiated in the southern port of Canton, by the British.

We came from the British Opium War in Kwangdung Province, China. The war waged against the Chinese for the Holy Christians profiteers of the Church of England, who, along with the Crown became the owners and operators of the British East India Co. because of Opium War I. GENERAL YUE FEI grew in popularity as the 19th Century progressed and Christian opium madness defined Qing China as the white man’s playground.


Ah the opium war started by an honest law abiding Cantonese port Commissioner who confiscated three million tons of opium, smuggled into China by the British. Lin the Commissioner had the British sign a bond promising not to deal opium in China or get out. Dealers in goods and not opium signed. The Church traders lied, bit their lips and prayed.

Lin the Commissioner humiliated the Brits with invitations to watch him dissolve the opium in water, add more than a dash of salt, and a large sprinkling of white lime that caused the solution to boil up thick bubbles that swelled and popped a noxious smell.

The Christians confessed to being dopeheads and cried they’d been robbed of their “personal property,” to their armed alter ego, and the British Navy arrived in Canton with the British Indian Army in 1840. The Opium War for the Conquest of China was on!

In 1849, whites from the States, on the other side of the elephant, were as much foreigners to the Territory of California, as the Chinese. Whites around the world knew 1849, as the year of the California gold rush. The Chinese came to get rich before the Christians took over California as a State. They envisioned being rich when they’d be made “citizens” of the new state. They were prepared for the state and federal discrimination that fell on them when California became a State in Sept. of 1850. They were the Cantonese losers of the Opium War in 1842 from the battleground of Kwangtung Province, their home, they paid the Chinese Miner’s tax to work tailings. The leftovers abandoned by a miner who’s moved on.


The East India Co sent Christian missionaries to enslave more Chinese to opium, to Christ, and bring home Chinese silver for the church. They sent missionaries on a tour the Christian world raising money for their opium enterprise in China.

In 1856 the British were joined by the French, and then the Russians, then the USA in a grab for all of China, till 1860, when the Qing had no China left to give up. So the Qing gave up the China. Easy for the Qing. They weren’t Chinese. They were Manchu horsemen, the heirs of the Jerchins of the Jin, who kept losing to Yue Fei.

Tribal horsemen have fallen on China seasonally, like crows since the mad Chien Hsi Huang di declared himself the first emperor of the first empire of China, in 221 BC. The great wall he built was to keep the horsemen out. The northern tribal people measured wealth by the number of horses between their legs. To the Chinese of the time, land and green plants was wealth.

The first emperor might have been mad to build the Great Wall, with the waste of men and the grief of women he built it with, but his unification of Chinese writing, and weights and measures made several Chinese peoples one people.

The tribal Nomadic descendants of the horsemen on the wrong side of the wall in the BC took a large bite out of China in the AD around 1115, with a dynasty they called the “Jin” for Gold, and lost it, got it again in the Mongol Yuan, lost it to the Chinese Ming, got it back in the Qing, who farted China away.

The Manchu Qing is falling. We farmers from around the Pearl River Delta come across the ocean from China’s only open port, to San Francisco by boat in 1849. The men that had been told Nah Jah as babies, couldn’t help but have Nah Jah, come, however briefly, to mind, fingering a view through the leaves of the lotus carrying him through and out of his mother where he’ll instruct parents not to sell their kids for the good life.

The Chinese left home to confront the enemy on disputed ground. While the family built walls and towers around themselves their children and farms, and cannons in the towers to protect their integrity.

The Brits made the Qing pay for losing the war, they took Hong Kong, the Portuguese got Macau, and the Manchu Qing made the Chinese pay. From the Chinese people came expressions of anti-Manchu anti-Christian Chinese sentiment. The Taiping Rebellion, led by Jesus Christ’s younger brother, that delayed the start of the second Opium War till 1856 and the Boxer Rebellion of 1899.

The story of China is defined by a long, swing of an erratic but never ending pendulum of war between the Chinese farmers and nomadic horsemen that ended in what the Chinese used to call the Revolution of 1911, but today call “The Bourgeois Revolution of 1911.”

From the rise of the First Empire 221 BC to the fall of Qing in 1911 AD, the life of a hero is based on certain truisms. Life is war. Writing is fighting. Love is two warriors standing back to back fighting off the universe.


What makes a Chinese a Chinese is the same thing that makes an American an American. Common knowledge of common history.



An American test from, ONCE UPON A HONEYMOON, made early in WWII, and released in 1942, from a story by the producer and director Leo McCarey.

Ginger Rogers, an American meets Albert Dekker in France. He claims to be an American agent. He says "My country is your country." Ginger doesn't buy it. And we are the knowing participants in another " American test:


Look let's understand each other. You're an American so am I.


Well, I am.


You mean, you don't believe me?


Uh Uh.


Well, now, I'll have to convince you. Maybe I'd better tell you something about myself.


I'm afraid you'd have to start way back when you were a little boy.


All right, I will. I was born in Germany. When I was a little boy we went to America and became American citizens. There's where I grew up. When I got to be a big boy I was sent to Heidleberg to be educated, and while there the Germans got the idea to making a spy out of me. I communicated with my parents, who by this time had gotten to be very good American citizens. They, in turn communicated with the State Department. State Department said fine…thought I could be useful. So now, I'm a spy for Uncle Sam, passing as a Frenchman, being paid by the Germans. And, the beauty part of it is: No income tax.


But wait a minute. We're getting way off the track. You say when you were a little boy you went to America…And right about there, I get stuck. Where did you uh live---


(Speaks in southern accent)

Honey, I wasn't born in old Kentucky but I was raised in Tennessee. And if you don’t like my peaches, don't you shake my tree.

(Reverts to his normal accent)

And then we moved to Texas,




(Speaks in a Mexican accent)

Oh, sí sí. We live just north of the border. By the Río Grande. Down Mexico way. Habla usted Español, señorita?


(Matches his Spanish Mexican)

Seguro, Miguel. And maybe you will hear of my see-ster's neck.


Oh oh ho he. Sí sí . Your see-sters neck, she fell in the river up to it. But you know about my mother? My mother makes more better tortillas than your mother.


And if I don't think so you show me your mother. ( She Laughs)


Oh, sí sí.

(He mimes a pregnant woman stroking her belly.)


( Assumes a Scandinavian accent)

Vas you ever in Minnesota? Vere it's be'n so cold…


(Matches her Scandinavian accent)

Oh, ja ja. I take my best girl for a picnic. Every noon I ask he if she wants to take a walk with me in the voods. And do you know why she says, No?


Ja! Because it wasn't her first pic-nic.

(They have a laugh together.)


Now do you believe I'm on the square.


(Takes on a Harlem accent,)

Yeah, Yeah but, being on the square today, brother, ain't what it used t o be. Your jabber don't jive.




Cuz if you're on the square, you're like duh bear. And the bear's nowhere. But won't take long to repeat you with zoot suit. And a stuff cup. And get you back on the beam. Why in no time at all you'll be cooking with helium.




Well. Don't that make you hep? Ain't you plugged in? Or am I just beatin' my gums?"


I'm afraid the lingo's passed me by. Say where were you born?


Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn.


Near Ebbetts Field?


Foul balls used to light in my backyard.


What a ball team!


Dem lovely bums. Hmm, it's a great country." She heaves a sigh.


And you do love it, don't you.


I can't wait to get back and see that lady. You know that lady that stands out in the harbor?


Hold it! Say this with me, 'I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands….'


Common knowledge. Baseball is the American game. Young men, the GI’s know baseball. The older men know American movies. All Americans can pass the American tests in the movies, not just the Brooklynites, Minnesotans, Georgians, Mexican-Americans, even Chinese-Americans can pass. So they can justify the “American” part Chinese-American. Can they pass the “Chinese” part?

The CA writer whose claim to being Chinese rests on his being from Chinatown, Oakland is Chinese only in the Chinatown, Oakland he knows, and knows him. One foot beyond Oakland, and he’s a nobody. He’s a writer, yes, but his claim to being a Chinese-American writer depends on his knowledge of books and stories that all Chinese became familiar with in childhood. The children’s stories and the Heroic Tradition. Christians don’t learn Chinese children’s stories or the heroic tradition. They were banned by Christianity and American schools. Christian Chinese-Americans can be identified by testing. A Chinese children’s story for every “American” story.

Check your local school library. You won’t find one genuine Chinese children’s story, not one heroic novel, on the shelves but a lot of fake Chinese works by whites, like the baldly racist THE FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS by Claire Huchet Bishop. Still a best selling, illustrated 32 page children's book teaching that Chinese looks and brains are inferior to whites.


The heroic tradition are the Chinese stories that inform the Chinese part of “Chinese-American.” Chinamen know the Chinese stories that brought them here. Monkey, one of the heroes of the heroic tradition tells the Chinaman to learn the stories people tell in America or get out with their lives.

Correction: Know your enemies as well as you know yourself means everyone is your enemy. You are alone. Alone! Alone!" the strategist says in mock horror.

“What strategist is existentialist?”

“If Monkey isn’t existentialist in form and content, I’m a monkey’s uncle.”

“You’re wrong! Monkey is not part of the heroic tradition!”

“Spoken like a true idiot! Next you’ll say Monkey isn’t Chinese.” I was wrong to call her an idiot. I was bewildered by her denial Chinese knowledge.

“You don’t have to be crude!” she sniffs.

“I’m trying to be contemptuous. The Greek Oedipus crossed paths with blind Tiresias and Roman heroes had their blind men that aroused a doubt about themselves. Henry II had his Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket. Robin Hood had Friar Tuck. All led to Ishmael meeting Blind Pew the day he sets sail after killing whales and rendering their blubber into oil. The heroic tradition has Monkey.”

She seethes, she leaks steam, from where she should leak steam.

“Monkey is born without parents out of a lifeless, know nothing rock. Totally without a past.” I say, “He learns to identify things like clothes with his body, words, to eat with sticks then he learns to combine the things he knows into tools, then he enters a learning competition with teachers of knowledge. Men, priests, teachers, Taoists, Buddhists, the Jade Emperor, the Buddha. Monkey learns the joy of learning is learning itself. That’s a lesson the Buddha has never learned.”

The Chinese blue ribbon teacher shuts her eyes and shakes her head violently no, no, no.

“Buddha is stuck in piddling little Nirvana. Monkey learns more than the Buddha himself, and is so far beyond Nirvana he isn’t in the last chapters of his book. He is still out there, learning this learning that. If Monkey can bring the gods to shame through learning, so can men.”

“No! No!” blurts out of the UCLA English Department’s Hong Kong trained expert on Asian American literature. I had requested to teach the first Chinese novels with her because I thought she knew something about the foundations of Chinese lit. I found that I was wrong.

“You flunk the Chinese test. You look Chinese and sound Chinese but are not a fit teacher of the heroic tradition. As the American sounding Nazis in American uniforms were not really American.”




BATTLEGROUND (1949) 1hr 59min- Prod. Dore Schary D.Robert Pirosh. (Story and script)

Starring: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, George Murphy, with Marshall Thompson, Jewrome Courtland, Don Taylor, JAMES WHITMORE, Leon Ames, James Arness RICHARD JAECKEL

The three leafed clover of the Club on the helmet and the screaming eagle of 101st Airborne on the left shoulder

An American jeep is stopped by an American patrol in the Ardennes Forest.


What's the password?




Keep'em covered they may be German.


Any line on these woods, Major?


I didn't hear countersign.


Oh,Leager. Texas leaguer.


Will this road take us back to Third Bat headquarters?


Straight ahead.


Get going.


Just a minute.


What is a Texas Leaguer?


How's that?


I said, what's a Texas Leaguer?


It's some kind of baseball term.


What kind?


Outside pitch, it's just over the infield.


Nobody asked you!


How'd the Dodgers make out this year?


Hey, who's your commanding officer, soldier?


Whoever he is he knows how the Dodgers made out.


Let's see your dog tags!




Come on we're not taking any chances.


Sprechan ze Deutsh!


Hey what is this?


Wat is die nommon.


Hey what kind of non…


Schnell! Schnell! Nommen! Nommen! Sprechen zee!


(STANDS AND pulls M-3 submachine gun on Johnson)

Drop those rifles. Whose Betty Grable going with?


Caesar Romero.


(raises rifle )



Whose the Dragon Lady?




What's a hotrod?


It's a hopped up jalopy.


Hello Joe Whaddaya know?


Just go back from a vaudeville show...I guess they're okay.


Thank you Sergeant.


A PFC Major Praying For Civilian. That's why I believe in being careful. And may I suggest sir, that you study up on baseball?


Say, I guess I'd better. And by the way, you might tell your buddy, that Caesar Romero is out. She's married to Harry James.

Jeep goes off-


Let's go.

Artillery crumps and flashes in background. The three go off into the darkening woods.


Yeah they really should've sent out a bigger patrol.


Well if you want to goof off...


Who said anything about goofing off?


Nobody! Nobody! I'm just saying the best way's to tell'em you uhh you heard voices talking in German.


Let's say you heard voices talking in Japanese and let G-2 figure that out!