Wee Kek Koon

Wee Kek Koon

Latest from Wee Kek Koon

Reflections | In Chinese history, names were changed to remove racist overtones

History shows how names given to groups can acquire negative connotations, and why their use should be mitigated through awareness and reflection.

3 Aug 2020 - 5:15AM

History shows how names given to groups can acquire negative connotations, and why their use should be mitigated through awareness and reflection.

In Chinese history, names were changed to remove racist overtones
Reflections | In ancient China, marriages between relatives weren’t completely taboo

Marriages between affinal relatives, or relatives by marriage, happened in Chinese history, before falling out of favour in the Qing dynasty.

27 Jul 2020 - 5:23AM

Marriages between affinal relatives, or relatives by marriage, happened in Chinese history, before falling out of favour in the Qing dynasty.

In ancient China, marriages between relatives weren’t completely taboo
Reflections | Can the Confucius Institutes rebranding bring China closer to the rest of the world?

For much of its history, China did very little to promote its culture – rather people came from far and wide to acquire it. What changed?

16 Jul 2020 - 5:50AM

For much of its history, China did very little to promote its culture – rather people came from far and wide to acquire it. What changed?

Can the Confucius Institutes rebranding bring China closer to the rest of the world?
Reflections | A Chinese king’s lies cost him his life – for Trump, the presidency is on the line

Despite the US president’s endless falsehoods, he seems to be able to count on the support of his base – a similar strategy didn’t work out well for a Zhou dynasty ruler.

14 Jul 2020 - 9:40AM

Despite the US president’s endless falsehoods, he seems to be able to count on the support of his base – a similar strategy didn’t work out well for a Zhou dynasty ruler.

A Chinese king’s lies cost him his life – for Trump, the presidency is on the line
Reflections | China’s imperial wet nurses: how these mothers often became a power behind the throne

It was common for emperors to become closer to their wet nurses than they were to their biological mother.

6 Jul 2020 - 10:45AM

It was common for emperors to become closer to their wet nurses than they were to their biological mother.

China’s imperial wet nurses: how these mothers often became a power behind the throne
Reflections | Anti-racism protests have seen statues toppled from the US to the UK. In China, those once celebrated also fell from favour

Throughout Chinese history, prominent figures have been commemorated at shrines built in their honour. Many have not endured.

25 Jun 2020 - 6:17AM

Throughout Chinese history, prominent figures have been commemorated at shrines built in their honour. Many have not endured.

Anti-racism protests have seen statues toppled from the US to the UK. In China, those once celebrated also fell from favour
Reflections | Age is just a number? How an imperial Chinese emperor fell for his carer, who was 17 years his senior

Despite having 17 years between them, the Ming dynasty’s Emperor Chenghua fell for his former nanny, Wan Zhen’er.

19 Jun 2020 - 12:00PM

Despite having 17 years between them, the Ming dynasty’s Emperor Chenghua fell for his former nanny, Wan Zhen’er.

Age is just a number? How an imperial Chinese emperor fell for his carer, who was 17 years his senior
Reflections | How men could be married to four wives at once and make it work - Stanley Ho did

Women and children had to know their place when they lived under the same roof as a man’s other wives and children. The hierarchy was only broken when a principal wife bore no sons.

13 Jun 2020 - 9:15AM

Women and children had to know their place when they lived under the same roof as a man’s other wives and children. The hierarchy was only broken when a principal wife bore no sons.

How men could be married to four wives at once and make it work - Stanley Ho did
Reflections | China is no stranger to seditious acts, in fact most dynastic changes were born from them

The controversial national security law will ban seditious activities in Hong Kong, but Chinese history is peppered with instances of rebellion against the ruling classes.

4 Jun 2020 - 8:47AM

The controversial national security law will ban seditious activities in Hong Kong, but Chinese history is peppered with instances of rebellion against the ruling classes.

China is no stranger to seditious acts, in fact most dynastic changes were born from them
Reflections | Jimmy’s Kitchen closes after nearly a century, but China’s oldest restaurants go back to the 1400s

Beijing’s original Bian Yi Fang and Shanghai’s Wang Bao He are among the oldest restaurants ‘brands’ on the mainland.

28 May 2020 - 3:02AM

Beijing’s original Bian Yi Fang and Shanghai’s Wang Bao He are among the oldest restaurants ‘brands’ on the mainland.

Jimmy’s Kitchen closes after nearly a century, but China’s oldest restaurants go back to the 1400s
Reflections | How Chinese Buddhist monks and nuns became vegetarians, even though the dharma didn’t forbid the eating of meat

In Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, monastic regulations prohibiting all meat consumption were laid down by imperial decree.

25 May 2020 - 10:07AM

In Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, monastic regulations prohibiting all meat consumption were laid down by imperial decree.

How Chinese Buddhist monks and nuns became vegetarians, even though the dharma didn’t forbid the eating of meat
Reflections | In Hong Kong, mistrust of police is so pervasive bomb threats are dismissed

Public reactions to recent discoveries of home-made explosive devices have been curiously muted, heightened by a cynicism and suspicion of those who enforce the law.

14 May 2020 - 11:12AM

Public reactions to recent discoveries of home-made explosive devices have been curiously muted, heightened by a cynicism and suspicion of those who enforce the law.

In Hong Kong, mistrust of police is so pervasive bomb threats are dismissed
Reflections | A brief history of Islam in China – including a moment of prominence

The religion is believed to have arrived in the 600s, brought in by traders from the Middle East and Central Asia, and although Muslims settled in many coastal cities, including Guangzhou, Islam did not widely percolate.

11 May 2020 - 10:49AM

The religion is believed to have arrived in the 600s, brought in by traders from the Middle East and Central Asia, and although Muslims settled in many coastal cities, including Guangzhou, Islam did not widely percolate.

A brief history of Islam in China – including a moment of prominence
Reflections | The Hong Kong government has been accused of ‘calling a deer a horse’ – but where did the expression originate?

In a letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, pro-democracy legislators invoked the phrase ‘calling a deer a horse’, but what does it mean?

4 May 2020 - 10:10AM

In a letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, pro-democracy legislators invoked the phrase ‘calling a deer a horse’, but what does it mean?

The Hong Kong government has been accused of ‘calling a deer a horse’ – but where did the expression originate?
Reflections | China’s long recorded history of domestic violence started with a palace scandal

An increase in domestic violence has been one of the more disturbing consequences of coronavirus shutdowns. Unfortunately, physical and emotional abuse between partners is nothing new, as recorded in Chinese history.

23 Apr 2020 - 10:06AM

An increase in domestic violence has been one of the more disturbing consequences of coronavirus shutdowns. Unfortunately, physical and emotional abuse between partners is nothing new, as recorded in Chinese history.

China’s long recorded history of domestic violence started with a palace scandal
Reflections | Think lockdown is bad? In imperial China, curfews were not only common but accepted

For centuries, cities would bang a drum at night and another in the morning to warn their citizens to stay inside. Most did so gladly, as it was believed that those who moved through the darkness were attending to illegal activities.

16 Apr 2020 - 7:07AM

For centuries, cities would bang a drum at night and another in the morning to warn their citizens to stay inside. Most did so gladly, as it was believed that those who moved through the darkness were attending to illegal activities.

Think lockdown is bad? In imperial China, curfews were not only common but accepted
Reflections | In imperial China, opium was not the only drug of choice – a strange powdered substance was a hit among the elite

From the third to fifth centuries, the psychotropic drug wu shi san or ‘five stone powder’ was a popular for its ability to open ‘the spirit and mind’.

9 Apr 2020 - 4:06PM

From the third to fifth centuries, the psychotropic drug wu shi san or ‘five stone powder’ was a popular for its ability to open ‘the spirit and mind’.

In imperial China, opium was not the only drug of choice – a strange powdered substance was a hit among the elite
Reflections | Powdered pus up the nose and other Chinese precursors to vaccinations

By the Ming dynasty, ‘variolation’ was being used to immunise against smallpox, often quite successfully.

6 Apr 2020 - 9:11AM

By the Ming dynasty, ‘variolation’ was being used to immunise against smallpox, often quite successfully.

Powdered pus up the nose and other Chinese precursors to vaccinations
Reflections | Anxiety in the age of coronavirus: an ancient Chinese cautionary tale

As fears of Covid-19 spread uncertainty and panic, a centuries-old story about the dangers of paranoia is recalled in the saying, ‘the bow in the cup; the reflection of the snake’.

30 Mar 2020 - 9:29AM

As fears of Covid-19 spread uncertainty and panic, a centuries-old story about the dangers of paranoia is recalled in the saying, ‘the bow in the cup; the reflection of the snake’.

Anxiety in the age of coronavirus: an ancient Chinese cautionary tale
Reflections | China’s history of eating meat is not so different from the rest of the world’s

The Chinese have been consuming meat for thousands of years, with many of the same beasts still eaten across the globe.

23 Mar 2020 - 8:59AM

The Chinese have been consuming meat for thousands of years, with many of the same beasts still eaten across the globe.

China’s history of eating meat is not so different from the rest of the world’s
Reflections | Malaysia’s latest political shenanigans have echoes in Qing dynasty China

In late 19th-century China, reformers might have set the country on an entirely different path, but they were no match for Empress Dowager Cixi.

16 Mar 2020 - 8:48AM

In late 19th-century China, reformers might have set the country on an entirely different path, but they were no match for Empress Dowager Cixi.

Malaysia’s latest political shenanigans have echoes in Qing dynasty China
Reflections | Political graffiti was as common to ancient China as it is to Hong Kong

Subversive messages and slogans, whether carved in rock or sprayed onto buildings, carry the same spirit of defiance.

9 Mar 2020 - 8:11AM

Subversive messages and slogans, whether carved in rock or sprayed onto buildings, carry the same spirit of defiance.

Political graffiti was as common to ancient China as it is to Hong Kong
Reflections | Sharing dishes – and viruses – was not always a characteristic of Chinese cuisine

Communal dining has been blamed for helping spread the coronavirus. When did the Chinese adopt the habit?

27 Feb 2020 - 10:51AM

Communal dining has been blamed for helping spread the coronavirus. When did the Chinese adopt the habit?

Sharing dishes – and viruses – was not always a characteristic of Chinese cuisine
Reflections | ‘Misfortunes do not strike only once’: the ancient Chinese phrase Hongkongers know only too well

The origins of the ancient Chinese saying lie in an anthology of historical morality tales, Garden of Persuasions.

24 Feb 2020 - 9:05AM

The origins of the ancient Chinese saying lie in an anthology of historical morality tales, Garden of Persuasions.

‘Misfortunes do not strike only once’: the ancient Chinese phrase Hongkongers know only too well
Reflections | Wuhan has survived war, invasion and revolution – it will get through the coronavirus outbreak

The central Chinese city has become infamous for all the wrong reasons, but its historical importance should not be overlooked.

17 Feb 2020 - 9:00AM

The central Chinese city has become infamous for all the wrong reasons, but its historical importance should not be overlooked.

Wuhan has survived war, invasion and revolution – it will get through the coronavirus outbreak
Reflections | Our society is fractured, but imperial Chinese history shows we are not the first to be divided

Hong Kong’s ‘yellow and blue’ economy exposes a split in society that has widened in recent months.

6 Feb 2020 - 9:30AM

Hong Kong’s ‘yellow and blue’ economy exposes a split in society that has widened in recent months.

Our society is fractured, but imperial Chinese history shows we are not the first to be divided
Reflections | Addressing the emperor in ancient China and the evolving absurdities of honorifics

Terms of deference have existed throughout Chinese history, some coming from curious origins.

30 Jan 2020 - 6:24AM

Terms of deference have existed throughout Chinese history, some coming from curious origins.

Addressing the emperor in ancient China and the evolving absurdities of honorifics
Reflections | By targeting Maxim’s outlets, Hong Kong protesters recall China’s vengeful past

Throughout Chinese history, arbitrary punishments have been meted out for nothing more than familial ties.

25 Jan 2020 - 11:24AM

Throughout Chinese history, arbitrary punishments have been meted out for nothing more than familial ties.

By targeting Maxim’s outlets, Hong Kong protesters recall China’s vengeful past
Reflections | HSBC’s guardian lions are a Chinese cultural tradition, but the animals were not native to East Asia, so where did they come from?

While not native to East Asia, the Chinese probably made first contact with the big cats during the Han period, when the empire expanded into Central Asia.

16 Jan 2020 - 11:58AM

While not native to East Asia, the Chinese probably made first contact with the big cats during the Han period, when the empire expanded into Central Asia.

HSBC’s guardian lions are a Chinese cultural tradition, but the animals were not native to East Asia, so where did they come from?
Reflections | If Carrie Lam is ‘governing without action’, it is not working very well

The Taoist philosophy is best understood as taking minimum action and leaving things to run their natural course. But in testing times the passive approach might not be advisable.

9 Jan 2020 - 9:26AM

The Taoist philosophy is best understood as taking minimum action and leaving things to run their natural course. But in testing times the passive approach might not be advisable.

If Carrie Lam is ‘governing without action’, it is not working very well