Cultureslayclaimto’Linsanity’

2020-08-13 浏览量: 816

<>News is what the people like to talk about, according to the celebrated editor of Hearst newspapers, William Randolph Hearst, as the people, not just in the United States but in Taiwan and China as well, are talking about Jeremy Lin of the National Baseball Association's New York Knicks. Linsanity is news, all news, nothing but the news in Taipei.

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<>One of the people in Taipei bit by the Lin bug is President Ma Ying-jeou. He began to talk about the NBA phenomenon after the American-born Knicks point guard of Chinese descent started Linsanity in the United States. And last Tuesday while receiving an American Congressional delegation at his office, President Ma blurted out his praise of Jeremy Lin. He said the peoples of the Republic of China in Taiwan and the United States share the same values such as democracy, human rights and peace, adding “We all appreciate Jeremy Lin's play.”

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<>The additional remark was made by the president as a Lin fan. To Ma's surprise, Eni Faleomavaega, head of the Congressional delegation, tried to remind him that Jeremy is an American. As soon as Ma had finished his remarks, the non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa's at-large Congressional district, said he had to tell the president Jeremy Lin “is blue-blood born American, OK?” Ma had to give a strained laugh, saying “That's right.”

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<>Faleomavaega certainly is very proud of Jeremy being an American. Of course, the 23-year-old basketball superstar is a born American citizen. But Jeremy's parents are Chinese who emigrated to the United States from Taiwan. Ethnically, Jeremy is Chinese. Culturally, however, Lin — born and brought up in Palo Alto, California — is American. He is one of what the people of Taiwan used to call ABC'sor bananas, because they are white inside though their skin is yellow. Jeremy admits he has no working command of Chinese. His mother tongue is English.

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<>Language is culture. So he is culturally all American. But he said in a YouTube video interview conducted by Elie Seckbach the other day, “I'm really proud of being Chinese. I'm really proud of my parents being from Taiwan. I just thank God for the opportunity .” He is proud of his ethnicity. Being a pious Christian, Jeremy truly believes God gave him a chance to play for the Knicks and wishes to become a pastor after he retires.

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<>The Samoan-born Honorable Faleomavaega calls Jeremy a blue-blood American. Well, blue blood as an adjective in English means “of aristocratic or high birth.” America is a plebian society and the Lins aren't of high birth, like Franklin D. Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy. Before his meteoric rise to create Linsanity, Jeremy was just an American of Chinese descent, or a banana to the people of Taiwan, or a “chink,” the derogatory name an American sports correspondent used to refer to him, and for putting the unsavory headline “Chink in the Armor” in reporting the Knicks' loss to the Hornets an ESPN correspondent was disciplined. Of course, Faleomavaega isn't an American ethnocentric bigot, and all he wants is to claim Jeremy is 100-percent American.

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<>All human races are ethnocentric. Ethnocentrism is belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group, or overriding concern with race. Americans are often narrowly ethnocentric, albeit they claim their country is the Melting Pot.

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<>Many African-Americans are still privately calledand the Japanese “Japs.” Jeremy, who has suffered discrimination, doesn't mind being called “chink,” but many exclusively ethnocentric Americans who dislike or look down on “chinks” are now claiming him a blue-blood born member of their group.

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<>The Chinese are a very ethnocentric people. But their ethnocentrism is a tendency to look at the world from the perspective of their culture. They believe their group is the center of almost everything, culture in particular, against which all other groups are judged. That's why China calls itself Chungguo , which means the country that is the center of the universe. As a matter of fact, China's ethnocentrism is a cultural one. There's no English word for it, but cultura-centrism may fit. The Chinese are cultura-centric enough — just like President Ma who told the Honorable Faleomavaega — as to share an ethnically Chinese Jeremy Lin with all those culturally American people who now claim him as their own.

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<>As the London Olympics are drawing near, Jeremy is likely to feel pressure from the United States, Taiwan and the People's Republic of China to join their national teams. His father hails from Taiwan, but his mother is from mainland China whose parents were born in Zhejiang, a province of the People's Republic. Jeremy also played on a Chinese basketball team. Each of the three countries will try what they can to get him on their national teams that will go to London this summer. For that reason, Faleomavaega told President Ma “This poor kiddoesn't know what he's gonna do.” One thing all three countries can and should do is to let Jeremy decide on which side he will play in London. That's the best thing all the people who love to watch Jeremy play basketball wish to happen out of the current phenomenal Linsanity.

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<>Incidentally, Linsanity is translated into Chinese as Lin-lai-fengwhich literally meansLin comes to make people excited. It's the best translation done in Taiwan's history of translation. Lin-lai-feng is a pun of Ren-lai-feng , a Mandarin idiom which means “someone comes to make people excited,” whereas that Ren in Mandarin is pronounced Linin classic Amoy or Hoklo, the Chinese dialect spoken by seven out of every 10 people in Taiwan, including Jeremy's father. Jeremy's mother is Mandarin-speaking and mainland born. Someone who comes to get people excited isLin, and the newly coined Chinese idiom is an excellent Amoy-Mandarin combination to describe Linsanity in the Chinese language.

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<>〈本文仅供参考,不代表本会立场〉

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