A StubbornThings Interview by The Editor 1/22/16
We take a moment out of our daily Trumpmania to ask a few questions of one of StubbornThing‘s more erudite members. Mr. Kung has traveled widely outside the United States, particularly in Asia, and has not only a respect for many aspects of Asian cultures but such experience has given him insights into our own.
StubbornThings: Mr. Kung, I understand that you have traveled extensively in the Orient, living there for some time years ago. You thus have a unique perspective on witnessing the changes that had occurred in America having been out of the country for a time and then having come back in. This needn’t be a short answer. What kinds of little things struck you that told you that you weren’t in Kansas anymore?
Kung Fu Zu: Let me start out by saying that very soon after my return to the USA I can remember thinking to myself, “What happened to this country?” Things had changed so much.
Perhaps the most striking thing was the degree to which Political Correctness had wormed its way into every nook and cranny of American life. People had become circumspect in their conversation. They hesitated to express firm opinions before getting hints from their interlocutor as to his position on almost any subject. Thus a certain amount of extra dishonesty entered into American’s daily life. I did not like this.
PC also destroys the beauty of language. I hate terms like Chairperson and Businessperson. One is a Chairman or Chairwoman.
Another major change, which I believe is related to Political Correctness, was the country had become much more bureaucratic. Lawyers, accountants and government regulations had taken over.
Around the world, America has always had the reputation of being a “can do” society without a lot of red tape. Is something difficult? No problem, we can do it. But things had changed drastically.
That America had changed was obvious to others besides me. A Chinese colleague, who knew the USA from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, visited the USA a few years back on a business trip. He was stunned. My friend summed things up by saying, “The U.S.A. is becoming more communist and China is becoming more capitalist.” How sad is that?
Of course, there are other things which stand out, such as the sorry state of education or the proliferation of tattooed idiots with holes in their ears, cuff-links in their pierced eyebrows and the like. But that would take too long to discuss in detail.
ST: I understand that you have great affinity for the East and its cultures. The tendency is to over-glamorize that which is different, much as mindless multiculturalists do. Before asking about the good stuff, tell us some of the things you found hard or difficult about the Orient.
KFZ: The Orient is a large place and there are some big differences between cultures. But there is no doubt that there are some commonalities which are apparent across the vast area. High on that list must be insane drivers.
Further down the list, it should be said that less value is placed on the individual human life than in the West.
Governments have always been more centralized and autocratic than in America. Citizens have less say in what happens, which I found annoying. Unfortunately, we seem to be tending in the Asian direction.
Asian cultures demand conformity much more than ours. One result of this is that the people are forced to find ways to get around the powers that be. This tends to engender some un-praiseworthy characteristics.
Sadly, many Asians have little concern about the environment outside their immediate area. By this I am not talking about Global Warming. What I mean is that they might keep their homes clean, but have no problem littering once they go out their front gate. This is one reason Singapore is so amazing. They created civic consciousness and the cleanest spot in S.E. Asia.
Finally, Americans complain about poverty here, but they have no idea what poverty really means. I have seen beggars in India who were so deformed and filthy that they looked like feral animals.
ST: I’ve come to learn that we both have an affinity for Asian women. From your perspective, why do you think they are superior? And are those special traits being diminished with the spread of Leftism in Asia? How americanized are Asians becoming, if at all?
KFZ: Again, we are speaking of many different types. Japanese women are different from Chinese women. You rarely hear of the stereotypical “Dragon Lady” among Japanese, but it is common among the Chinese. I am most familiar with the Chinese of S.E. Asia so I will comment about them.
Without going into comparisons, let me give you some of the characteristics I find attractive in such females. They do not operate under the illusion that life is fair. They know life is a battle and one needs to work hard and get along with others to make it through. They are very feminine and take pride in their appearance and take care of themselves. They are patient and able to control their desires. They can put off immediate gratification for long-term goals. They do not complain a lot. They do not fold easily under pressure. They are loyal and put great store in the family.
ST: I’ve always heard that a foreigner can live in Japan for years but never become Japanese. There will always be a distance. That said, do you think Asians (or Japanese) treat white people with more respect than is given them on today’s college campi in America where white males, in particular, are degraded and the common object of ridicule? What are your general impressions of all this?
KFZ: Absolutely! The Japanese are a very polite people, but very insular. They have a general idea that foreigners are American and Americans are somewhat strange. We are endured. But there is a saying that the Japanese are polite to a foreigner for three weeks, after which time they tend to wish you would leave.
The Chinese tend to treat Westerners in one of two ways. On the one hand, they treat us with the respect due a visitor, and on the other hand as a potential sucker who has no understanding of what is going on and is unlikely to find out. Of course, these two approaches can become intertwined. Asians are very good at telling us what they think we want to hear as this is less troublesome and often to their advantage.
As regards the way White Males are treated at American Colleges, there is no doubt in my mind that this is done by those who are jealous of white males as they know that the White Male has had the greatest success in, and contributed the most to, the modern world. Everyone is copying him, but don’t want to take on the culture and live by the mores which helped create the modern world. These types want the cake, but do not want to go to the trouble of figuring out want goes into baking it. They won’t even admit that there is a recipe for said cake. It came from magic.
ST: We see our country’s flaws from the inside. But sometimes it requires a view from the outside for real understanding. What do Asians (pick your country or countries) think are America’s biggest flaws? Do they also have a respect for certain things American?
KFZ: I would say international arrogance is probably seen as America’s biggest flaw. From afar, they see a sometimes lumbering giant who wreaks havoc around him.
On the other hand, the American people have a reputation as being good-hearted, if a little naïve. In my experience, it is not unusual for Asians to trust Americans more than they would other Westerners or even other Asians.
ST: Your nom de plume might just as well have been “Kung Fu Panda.” Why did you choose Kung Fu Zu, which I believe is another name for Confucius?
I like the sound of many Chinese names, but have a special fondness for this one. Kung Fu Zu, aka Confucius, was probably the person most responsible for the formation of Chinese society. That means his teachings were also very influential in Korea and Japan. His writings were not of a religious nature, rather they were a social guide.
He is still respected and his direct descendents are with us. I think it is something like the 70th generation or so. He was a wise man and I like to think that I am constantly seeking wisdom.
ST: I understand that you have an interesting religious background. That is, your journey has taken a few turns and I gather is still continuing. What can you tell us about that and what is your general philosophy of life as well as your general religious beliefs at this moment? (Reverence for “The One” is, of course, not allowed or I will halt this interview immediately)
KFZ: It would take many too many words to answer this question properly. Let’s just say that I was raised in a very conservative Protestant denomination and moved away from it. I have studied other beliefs, but none have quite convinced me.
On a rational basis, I think it pretty clear there must be a God, creator, prime mover or whatever term one wishes to use. I suspect it may be impossible to know this creator on any level. There is certainly observable order in the universe. But beyond that, I think standard intellectual enquiry breaks down.
On basis of this, it would appear the only possibility of coming close to understanding would be through the use of “mystical” methods, which is what “belief” is actually about.
The whole Christian story is a mystical one. I am sometimes surprised by Christians who try to “prove” Jesus did this or did that. Proof is not the point. Faith is.
ST: Why don’t you cover your body with tattoos, pick your nose, eat nothing but sugary drinks, play video games all day, laugh at Cheetos commercials, and watch “The Big Bang Theory” on TV? Why do you instead immerse yourself in long biographies of Winston Churchill, read Theodore Dalrymple, and enjoy the classics such as those written by Charles Dickens? Have you no respect for pop culture? Are you a mutant and have no “hip” gene?
KFZ: As to tattoos, I could not stand the thought of that picture of a beautiful curvaceous girl in a bikini on my chest, becoming Jabba the Hut, which is what too often happens.
Actually, I was brought up with the belief that the body is God’s temple and to do such things as getting tattoos or piercing one’s ears even, (forget about one’s nipples, navel or genitalia as that was not heard of when I was growing up) was a sin. It was disrespectful to God and one’s self.
These days, I am simply inclined to see such behavior as a sign of the desire to be “cool” and “special”, or a mental deficiency to one degree or another. The two are not mutually exclusive however.
I find most of that which is called “popular entertainment” to be boring, incredibly silly and often downright stupid. I also get tired of the constant propaganda discharged via TV and movies. I, like Tim, sometimes pay attention to commercials just to see the latest propaganda being foisted on the inattentive.
As to music, rap is merely the logical result of a culture which does not value excellence and lets any fool pretend he has talent. I tend to listen to so-called
classical music and some pre-1990 pop.
Since there is so little wisdom to be found in the popular media, and since I am someone who wants to continue learning until I die, I am forced to resort to that old-fashioned act called reading. The good thing about reading classics is that if a book is still around after a hundred years the odds are that it has some worth. At my age, I don’t have time to waste on delving into the subtleties of such modern-day page turners like “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
ST: Back to Asia. Which countries or cultures did you enjoy most when you traveled and lived there? What did you most like about them? And which country in Asia do you think today has best resisted the modern onslaught of Leftism (a religion which Dennis Prager says is the most dynamic in the world)?
KFZ: On a sentimental level, I think I am most attached to Japan. It was the first Asian country I lived in, and the first time I lived there I had contact with very few Westerners as there weren’t many there. I was young and eager to learn and there was much to learn.
The Japanese people have a wonderful artistic sense. I think they are the most artistic nation in the world. What they can do with a minimum of material and motion can be extremely beautiful.
On a day-to-day basis, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are places I could live in, still today. Singapore has, unfortunately, become over-crowded, but things work very well there.
ST: Why do you consider Karen Carpenter to be a better singer than Miley Cyrus? Is that some defect of your character?
KFZ: I admit it! My failure is that I have a good ear and taste in music. Forget the whorish actions of Miley and her ilk. Such low-talent types must rely on vulgar and imbecilic externalities to catch and hold the attention of the puerile, whose only taste is in their mouths. There has always been a demand for salacious freak shows.
Karen Carpenter, and many others for that matter, did not need to play the poseur. She had talent. What I particularly love about Karen Carpenter’s voice is its smooth golden tone. Pure warm honey flowing over my senses. She didn’t have to resort to vocal acrobatics to impress. She simply had to sing and one was hooked.
ST: What is your single favorite book, and why? And which book would you, if you were the All-Powerful Master of Education in DC (aka “Kommon Kung”), require all children to read in order to try to bolster their minds and characters and prepare them for the real world?
KFZ: I will answer this question under protest.
If I go by the measure of having read a book numerous times, I would have to go with “The Lord of the Rings”, which I have read five times.
It was an amazing tour de force by Tolkien. He created a completely new world with a history, multiple languages, special geography and different beings. And he united all this, and more, in a wonderful epic tale of good vs. evil, which holds one spellbound for hours on end. I guess it doesn’t get much better than that.
Being Kommon Kung is difficult. I know I will be pilloried (metaphorically) for saying this, but I think the New Testament would be a very good basis for young people to work from. It pretty much covers the human condition in relatively few pages.
Knowing the above idea is impossible in today’s climate, and that attention spans are short, I would probably require every tenth or eleventh grade student to read Orwell’s Animal Farm. It may not be the greatest novel in history, but it doesn’t require a teacher to explain its meaning. I believe this is important.
As an aside, I think Kipling’s Captains Courageous should be required reading for junior high school aged males.
ST: Which question haven’t I asked that I should have? And your answer?
KFZ: What’s your favorite city in the world?
Large city: Vienna, Austria
Small city: Lucerne, Switzerland
Margarine or butter?
Butter. It tastes better and is better for you. I recall reading that margarine is one molecule away from some sort of plastic.
I’ll stop there. • (2005 views)