Monday, August 24, 2015

The most resilient skill in the modern world

The most resilient skill in the modern world is argument. We are all sophists now, or should be [...] What unites the elite professions in any international city is their command of sophistry. Barristers and management consultants, political advisers and advertising executives, public-relations strategists and even certain types of investment banker: all trade on the same skill. It is the ability to frame any given problem on your own terms so that your conclusion is irresistible to the client (or jury, or investor, or politician, or reader). To be clear, this is not the same thing as being right. What matters is being persuasive [...] Learn to code, runs the received career advice of today. It is shrewder to learn how to argue.
"We are all sophists now — or should be" by Janan Ganesh

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How Cities Vanish

Another man, dressed in a white t-shirt and shorts, waving a fan to cool himself, added heatedly, “Look over there. Those tall buildings? That’s what the city wants to build here.”

I looked into everyone’s eyes. “But there’s nothing beautiful or great about those boxes,” I said. “Moreover, those types of buildings have nothing whatsoever to do with Chinese traditions. Or Peking traditions.”

One of the residents was a tall goofy-looking guy who wore horn-rimed glasses, a button-down shirt, shorts, black socks and black plastic “penny leather” shoes. He patted me on the shoulder and gave me a lop-sided grin. “Exactly right! To make money, the government wants us to give up our homes so they can make Western type skyscrapers. Peking will have nothing distinctively Chinese about it anymore.”

The residents could not even look forward to preserving their community. Each family was assigned to different apartment blocks far away in north Peking. Instead of spending summer evenings gossiping with old friends on the street corners, they will be locked away in tiny cubicles of Western invention, not knowing their neighbors and having to ride elevators simply to go out to fetch a bottle of beer or yogurt.
from Michael A. Aldrich The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A Guide to China's Capital Through the Ages p.166

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

May their Eternal Blue Sky give them strength!

Still relevant after 25 years...

It is but natural that now, after so many years of silence and taboos on the one hand, and of loud distortion of the truth on the other, it is not easy to keep up with the growing freedom: to find the right ways of how to treat the heavy burden of the past and solve the problems of a ruined economy. It is easier to refuse the near past and turn to the earlier traditions, the glory of the ancestors, than to answer the questions of today's distress.

Yesterday's men of power claimed anything old was wrong, now there is another danger to believe anything old is right. And yesterday's uneven friend ships and lame internationalism fed an ill and clandestine nationalism or even chauvinism. This is now a sad commonplace in most societies that have just taken off the totalitarian uniform, and not only in them. Nevertheless it is sure that a healthy national identity, based on realities and accompanied with mutual international understanding, is badly needed for the Mongols to emerge from the present crisis.

May their Eternal Blue Sky give them strength and time for doing so!
from "Baabar's 'Don't Forget!': Analysis of a Mongolian Social Democrat's Treatise, 1990" by György Kara. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. Vol. 46, No. 2/3 (1992/93), pp. 283-287

Накабали буюу Заан тэтгэгч оршвой

Цавчаал боомтын (Juyong Pass) хаалган дээрх бичиг дотор ийм дөрвөн мөрт байдаг аж. Кирилл дээрх эхийг нь Ц.Дамдинсүрэн гуай Монголын уран зохиолын тойм бүтээлдээ оруулсан байдаг гэнэ.

Jalqamji c' ja.anu juljiqanu [.. ?. ?.. ]ju: t'ut'um alt'an jawan k'olgeni olu ad:
c'aqun hecusdur Nakabali neret'u k'iirt'ebeyi:
c'aqlasi iugee amuqula3i t'ere k'iirt'ejuue:
Харин үүнийг Нууц товчоо орчуулагч алдарт Кливез ингэж Англи хэл дээр буулгажээ (түүний "The Boy and His Elephant" нийтлэлээс нь авав):
[In] succession, [(?)the master] of the white elephant calf, having been [(?)born]
And [in] every reincarnation having acquired a gold elephant mount,
Having become one named Nakabali (Nagapala), has attained unto the end of the time.
Immeasurable happiness has that one attained.
Addendum: Элдэв үлгэрийн далай хэмээгдэх судар оршив: Заан тэтгэгчийн дөчин гуравдугаар зүйлээс:
Ер аль бээр хүн тус тусдаа гурван эрдэнэсийн буяны тариалан газарт буяны өчүүхэн хөрөнгө цацваас цаггүй үрийг олох болъюу.