Wee Kek Koon

Wee Kek Koon

Latest from Wee Kek Koon

Reflections | Getting to the roots of dentistry in ancient China – it wasn’t as rudimentary as you might think

A forerunner to modern mouthwash was recorded as early as 94BC, while brushes appeared not much later.

12 Dec 2019 - 8:00PM

A forerunner to modern mouthwash was recorded as early as 94BC, while brushes appeared not much later.

Getting to the roots of dentistry in ancient China – it wasn’t as rudimentary as you might think
Reflections | The tale of the two Han Xins: in imperial China, being capable could get you killed

Emperor Liu Bang of the Western Han dynasty had two Han Xin’s working for him, until, threatened by their competence, he terminated their employment.

4 Dec 2019 - 7:00PM

Emperor Liu Bang of the Western Han dynasty had two Han Xin’s working for him, until, threatened by their competence, he terminated their employment.

The tale of the two Han Xins: in imperial China, being capable could get you killed
Reflections | ‘Fake news’ and rumours are rife in Hong Kong – be wise and think twice before you hit that forward button

Misinformation has long been a tool of those wishing to unsettle society, as seen in imperial China.

28 Nov 2019 - 8:55AM

Misinformation has long been a tool of those wishing to unsettle society, as seen in imperial China.

‘Fake news’ and rumours are rife in Hong Kong – be wise and think twice before you hit that forward button
Reflections | Vegetarianism in China is nothing new: meat-free diets have ancient origins

Contrary to popular belief, plant-based diets existed in the Middle Kingdom long before Buddhism came to the country

21 Nov 2019 - 9:22AM

Contrary to popular belief, plant-based diets existed in the Middle Kingdom long before Buddhism came to the country

Vegetarianism in China is nothing new: meat-free diets have ancient origins
Reflections | Brunch in the evening? In Chinese and English, words have changed meaning over time

Social media and an online generation have sped up the process by which definitions evolve and neologisms emerge.

16 Nov 2019 - 11:00AM

Social media and an online generation have sped up the process by which definitions evolve and neologisms emerge.

Brunch in the evening? In Chinese and English, words have changed meaning over time
Reflections | Shenzhen is home to the tomb of the last emperor of China’s Southern Song dynasty

In a modest mausoleum in the city’s Chiwan District is alleged to be the remains of Zhao Bing, who was still a child when his dynasty fell.

7 Nov 2019 - 1:14PM

In a modest mausoleum in the city’s Chiwan District is alleged to be the remains of Zhao Bing, who was still a child when his dynasty fell.

Shenzhen is home to the tomb of the last emperor of China’s Southern Song dynasty
Reflections | In China, genetic testing can determine if people are descendants of emperors. What good is that?

Surely genetic readings of a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases is more beneficial than blue blood?

1 Nov 2019 - 5:21PM

Surely genetic readings of a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases is more beneficial than blue blood?

In China, genetic testing can determine if people are descendants of emperors. What good is that?
Reflections | Why has Hong Kong adopted Halloween when it already has the Hungry Ghost Festival?

Folk traditions and Buddhism have already given Chinese culture its own day, or days, of the dead.

24 Oct 2019 - 9:11AM

Folk traditions and Buddhism have already given Chinese culture its own day, or days, of the dead.

Why has Hong Kong adopted Halloween when it already has the Hungry Ghost Festival?
Reflections | WeWork co-founder’s scandalous succession plan was commonplace in imperial China

Among the dubious practices Adam Neumann is accused of is giving vast powers to his wife in the event of his death, but for many widows of Chinese emperors, assuming control after their husbands’ had died was par for the course.

17 Oct 2019 - 1:45PM

Among the dubious practices Adam Neumann is accused of is giving vast powers to his wife in the event of his death, but for many widows of Chinese emperors, assuming control after their husbands’ had died was par for the course.

WeWork co-founder’s scandalous succession plan was commonplace in imperial China
Reflections | Malay and Malaysian: why Hongkongers need to learn the difference

With a rising number of Hongkongers inquiring about the Malaysia My Second Home scheme, the first step would be to get their facts straight about the multicultural country

10 Oct 2019 - 8:46AM

With a rising number of Hongkongers inquiring about the Malaysia My Second Home scheme, the first step would be to get their facts straight about the multicultural country

Malay and Malaysian: why Hongkongers need to learn the difference
Reflections | In decrying ‘foreign interference’, China should remember those times it has meddled in other countries’ affairs

A quick look back at history reminds us of those times the Chinese were not only aggressors but occupier.

3 Oct 2019 - 5:49AM

A quick look back at history reminds us of those times the Chinese were not only aggressors but occupier.

In decrying ‘foreign interference’, China should remember those times it has meddled in other countries’ affairs
Reflections | China’s embrace of electronic payments is the latest in a long history of smart money innovations

Paper money transactions began in the ninth century, with promissory notes carried by Chinese itinerant merchants.

26 Sep 2019 - 3:07PM

Paper money transactions began in the ninth century, with promissory notes carried by Chinese itinerant merchants.

China’s embrace of electronic payments is the latest in a long history of smart money innovations
Reflections | From social media to soft power, the benefits of cultural and intellectual exchange

More than a millennium ago, China and Japan understood the importance of learning from other cultures.

21 Sep 2019 - 3:43PM

More than a millennium ago, China and Japan understood the importance of learning from other cultures.

From social media to soft power, the benefits of cultural and intellectual exchange
Reflections | Why Hong Kong’s protesters do not want to ‘cut the reed mat’ – they believe they are stronger together

‘Cutting the reed mat’ comes from an ancient Chinese tale of two friends falling out. The phrase has been adopted by those in the anti-government camp, urging solidarity regardless of conscience.

13 Sep 2019 - 8:46AM

‘Cutting the reed mat’ comes from an ancient Chinese tale of two friends falling out. The phrase has been adopted by those in the anti-government camp, urging solidarity regardless of conscience.

Why Hong Kong’s protesters do not want to ‘cut the reed mat’ – they believe they are stronger together
Reflections | Singapore braces for rising sea levels, taking practical steps to prepare for climate change

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced plans to protect the island nation against a projected one metre rise in sea levels. In ancient China, legend tells of how one man redirected floodwaters to become king.

10 Sep 2019 - 1:47PM

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced plans to protect the island nation against a projected one metre rise in sea levels. In ancient China, legend tells of how one man redirected floodwaters to become king.

Singapore braces for rising sea levels, taking practical steps to prepare for climate change
Reflections | Hong Kong is suffering because public opinion is not being heard

In ancient China, popular songs were believed to be a useful gauge of public sentiments.

29 Aug 2019 - 7:44AM

In ancient China, popular songs were believed to be a useful gauge of public sentiments.

Hong Kong is suffering because public opinion is not being heard
Reflections | In times like these, it is important to choose friends, and enemies, wisely

Acts of violence have gripped Hong Kong in recent months, but neither side involved is willing to condemn their own. Historically, aligning with the enemy of one’s enemy does not always end well.

22 Aug 2019 - 6:40PM

Acts of violence have gripped Hong Kong in recent months, but neither side involved is willing to condemn their own. Historically, aligning with the enemy of one’s enemy does not always end well.

In times like these, it is important to choose friends, and enemies, wisely
Reflections | No good can come when a leader neglects their duty, whether in Hong Kong or imperial China

For almost 30 years during the Ming dynasty, the Chinese government was almost brought to a standstill by an absent emperor, whose misrule hastened the demise of the once prosperous era.

15 Aug 2019 - 11:55AM

For almost 30 years during the Ming dynasty, the Chinese government was almost brought to a standstill by an absent emperor, whose misrule hastened the demise of the once prosperous era.

No good can come when a leader neglects their duty, whether in Hong Kong or imperial China
Reflections | Vandalising the graves of enemies was once commonplace in China, today it shows extreme polarisation of Hong Kong

One of the most famous attacks on ancestral shrines in ancient China dates back to 506BC.

9 Aug 2019 - 10:52AM

One of the most famous attacks on ancestral shrines in ancient China dates back to 506BC.

Vandalising the graves of enemies was once commonplace in China, today it shows extreme polarisation of Hong Kong
Reflections | Disney has not ‘butchered’ Mulan – the Chinese tale of filial love has been subject to many interpretations

The story of the courageous female soldier, who fought so that her father wouldn’t have to, was first told in a poem, and has been subject to many interpretations since it was written during the Northern Wei dynasty.

1 Aug 2019 - 8:57AM

The story of the courageous female soldier, who fought so that her father wouldn’t have to, was first told in a poem, and has been subject to many interpretations since it was written during the Northern Wei dynasty.

Disney has not ‘butchered’ Mulan – the Chinese tale of filial love has been subject to many interpretations
Reflections | Where the short names of Chinese provinces, regions and cities came from

Much like US states are abbreviated to two letters, so too are China’s administrative divisions represented by a shortened, single character. Often, that comes from the longer name of the area, but some reference the region’s distant past.

28 Jul 2019 - 1:20PM

Much like US states are abbreviated to two letters, so too are China’s administrative divisions represented by a shortened, single character. Often, that comes from the longer name of the area, but some reference the region’s distant past.

Where the short names of Chinese provinces, regions and cities came from
Reflections | US gun laws: disarming a nation can be done, Japan took all the swords from its samurai

Weapons-confiscations programmes, known as ‘sword hunts’, occurred throughout Japanese history.

18 Jul 2019 - 5:25AM

Weapons-confiscations programmes, known as ‘sword hunts’, occurred throughout Japanese history.

US gun laws: disarming a nation can be done, Japan took all the swords from its samurai
Reflections | As Indonesia eyes a new capital city, ancient China’s shifting seats of government can offer inspiration

The island nation is considering relocating governance from a sinking Jakarta. In China, the capital city shifted north, south, east and west according to a variety of factors.

11 Jul 2019 - 8:46AM

The island nation is considering relocating governance from a sinking Jakarta. In China, the capital city shifted north, south, east and west according to a variety of factors.

As Indonesia eyes a new capital city, ancient China’s shifting seats of government can offer inspiration
Reflections | How Asians embraced the chilli pepper

Brought from the Americas by Europeans, the spread of the chilli plant was slow but by the 19th century it had conquered cuisines across the region

4 Jul 2019 - 2:10PM

Brought from the Americas by Europeans, the spread of the chilli plant was slow but by the 19th century it had conquered cuisines across the region

How Asians embraced the chilli pepper
Reflections | If the US-China trade war continues, what will become of Singapore? Historically, small states haven’t fared well

Jingnan, a diminutive territory in imperial China, prospered despite its size and military weakness, until the inevitable happened.

27 Jun 2019 - 8:40AM

Jingnan, a diminutive territory in imperial China, prospered despite its size and military weakness, until the inevitable happened.

If the US-China trade war continues, what will become of Singapore? Historically, small states haven’t fared well
Reflections | As Xi calls Trump his ‘friend’, can poetry top politics in the US-China trade war?

The Chinese president recently referenced an ancient love poem when discussing the relationship between his country and the United States. Are the two heads of state preparing to kiss and make up?

20 Jun 2019 - 8:00AM

The Chinese president recently referenced an ancient love poem when discussing the relationship between his country and the United States. Are the two heads of state preparing to kiss and make up?

As Xi calls Trump his ‘friend’, can poetry top politics in the US-China trade war?
Reflections | How goddess myth gave divine justification to imperial elites

Also known as the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, along with China’s Nü Wa deity, are suggestive of a matriarchal ancient past. When creating mankind, the goddess fashioned the elites in the image, then flicked mud from a branch, with each spatter becoming the commonfolk

15 Jun 2019 - 10:37AM

Also known as the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, along with China’s Nü Wa deity, are suggestive of a matriarchal ancient past. When creating mankind, the goddess fashioned the elites in the image, then flicked mud from a branch, with each spatter becoming the commonfolk

How goddess myth gave divine justification to imperial elites
Reflections | Shinzo Abe or Abe Shinzo? The complex cultural politics of Asian names

After Japan’s foreign minister requested the Western world follow Japanese naming convention, a look back at the ‘civilised’ associations of a surname.

6 Jun 2019 - 7:53AM

After Japan’s foreign minister requested the Western world follow Japanese naming convention, a look back at the ‘civilised’ associations of a surname.

Shinzo Abe or Abe Shinzo? The complex cultural politics of Asian names
Reflections | The Chinese invented firearms but others improved them – why creators and copycats should collaborate

There are many instances in history of inventions being improved by those who did not come up with them, and of those tweaks being adopted by the original creators. Firearms is just one example.

31 May 2019 - 9:00AM

There are many instances in history of inventions being improved by those who did not come up with them, and of those tweaks being adopted by the original creators. Firearms is just one example.

The Chinese invented firearms but others improved them – why creators and copycats should collaborate
Reflections | Cathay Pacific’s link to once powerful people of northern China – how the mighty have fallen

The Liao dynasty was ruled by the Khitan people, a great and mighty nomadic group whose name was passed on to medieval Europe as Cathay.

25 May 2019 - 10:15AM

The Liao dynasty was ruled by the Khitan people, a great and mighty nomadic group whose name was passed on to medieval Europe as Cathay.

Cathay Pacific’s link to once powerful people of northern China – how the mighty have fallen