Wee Kek Koon

Wee Kek Koon

Latest from Wee Kek Koon

Reflections | In ancient China as in modern America, when those in power fail their people, discontent breeds devastation

After ignoring the advice of ministers that ‘it is far harder to stop people’s mouths than to dam a river’, an ancient Chinese king was forced into exile by his people.

21 Jan 2021 - 4:19AM

After ignoring the advice of ministers that ‘it is far harder to stop people’s mouths than to dam a river’, an ancient Chinese king was forced into exile by his people.

In ancient China as in modern America, when those in power fail their people, discontent breeds devastation
Reflections | The Hong Kong Chronicles Institute aims to record an impartial history of the city – is it an impossible task?

Gazetteers provide records of the physical and social features of a location, a tradition that has been in place for at least 2,000 years in China.

19 Jan 2021 - 8:45AM

Gazetteers provide records of the physical and social features of a location, a tradition that has been in place for at least 2,000 years in China.

The Hong Kong Chronicles Institute aims to record an impartial history of the city – is it an impossible task?
Reflections | Meet Nie Yinniang, Imperial China’s Wonder Woman who was also a skilled assassin

Written by Pei Xing in the 9th century, The Story of Nie Yinniang is about a young woman with amazing powers that she acquired in her teens.

8 Jan 2021 - 4:29AM

Written by Pei Xing in the 9th century, The Story of Nie Yinniang is about a young woman with amazing powers that she acquired in her teens.

Meet Nie Yinniang, Imperial China’s Wonder Woman who was also a skilled assassin
Reflections | Throughout Chinese history, name changes have carried a lot of meaning

Considering the circumstances that led to his many name changes of Tang-dynasty military commander Li Ji offers some insight into the practice.

1 Jan 2021 - 11:27AM

Considering the circumstances that led to his many name changes of Tang-dynasty military commander Li Ji offers some insight into the practice.

Throughout Chinese history, name changes have carried a lot of meaning
Reflections | China has been plagued, and shaped, by epidemics – it has also overcome them

According to historians, there have been almost 300 serious epidemics in China, some of which devastated populations and altered the course of history.

21 Dec 2020 - 8:50AM

According to historians, there have been almost 300 serious epidemics in China, some of which devastated populations and altered the course of history.

China has been plagued, and shaped, by epidemics – it has also overcome them
Reflections | Much like Christmas, Chinese holidays with religious origins have become about family

Occasions like Buddha’s Birthday and the Tin Hau festival are as much for assembling and enjoying time off as they are about tradition.

14 Dec 2020 - 8:51AM

Occasions like Buddha’s Birthday and the Tin Hau festival are as much for assembling and enjoying time off as they are about tradition.

Much like Christmas, Chinese holidays with religious origins have become about family
Reflections | How Mark Twain’s ‘I am a Boxer too’ preceded the ‘Je suis Charlie’ slogan of Paris horror attack

Twain’s sympathetic writing about the Boxer rebels in China, which neglected the murder and violence the movement unleashed on Chinese Christians and foreigners, makes satire problematic reading when it comes to slaughter.

6 Dec 2020 - 6:08PM

Twain’s sympathetic writing about the Boxer rebels in China, which neglected the murder and violence the movement unleashed on Chinese Christians and foreigners, makes satire problematic reading when it comes to slaughter.

How Mark Twain’s ‘I am a Boxer too’ preceded the ‘Je suis Charlie’ slogan of Paris horror attack
Reflections | How mandarin ducks became a Chinese symbol of love

Yuanyang is the Chinese name for mandarin ducks, which historically – and mistakenly – were believed to mate for life.

1 Dec 2020 - 9:08AM

Yuanyang is the Chinese name for mandarin ducks, which historically – and mistakenly – were believed to mate for life.

How mandarin ducks became a Chinese symbol of love
Reflections | Much like Mississippi, China has changed its flag before – it’s had four in 130 years

After the US state recently voted to remove the Confederate emblem from its flag, a look back through modern Chinese history at the various images that have represented the nation.

20 Nov 2020 - 8:15AM

After the US state recently voted to remove the Confederate emblem from its flag, a look back through modern Chinese history at the various images that have represented the nation.

Much like Mississippi, China has changed its flag before – it’s had four in 130 years
Reflections | The Queen Mother of the West: an imperial Chinese conspiracy theory to rival QAnon

During an unstable period in the Western Han dynasty, a bizarre mass movement built around an unlikely savour. Sound familiar?

16 Nov 2020 - 10:21AM

During an unstable period in the Western Han dynasty, a bizarre mass movement built around an unlikely savour. Sound familiar?

The Queen Mother of the West: an imperial Chinese conspiracy theory to rival QAnon
Reflections | The tale of Empress Gi, a Korean in China whose imperial scheming was worthy of a K-drama

Empress Gi charmed and plotted her way to power during the Yuan dynasty, although her plot to depose the emperor was doomed to fail.

6 Nov 2020 - 1:57PM

Empress Gi charmed and plotted her way to power during the Yuan dynasty, although her plot to depose the emperor was doomed to fail.

The tale of Empress Gi, a Korean in China whose imperial scheming was worthy of a K-drama
Reflections | Royal scandals, from the modern Netherlands to ancient China, help make the case for republicanism

The Chinese word for republic comes from ancient China’s Gonghe period, when the country was governed without a king.

29 Oct 2020 - 9:21AM

The Chinese word for republic comes from ancient China’s Gonghe period, when the country was governed without a king.

Royal scandals, from the modern Netherlands to ancient China, help make the case for republicanism
Reflections | How Chinese influenced, and was influenced by, other Asian languages

Over the millennia, the Chinese language has absorbed foreign words in five waves, the last of which began in the 19th century and is still ongoing.

26 Oct 2020 - 9:30AM

Over the millennia, the Chinese language has absorbed foreign words in five waves, the last of which began in the 19th century and is still ongoing.

How Chinese influenced, and was influenced by, other Asian languages
Reflections | How sick rulers made for messy transfers of power in Imperial China

China’s usually well-organised bureaucracy fell down when its rulers were incapacitated, with no provisions for peacefully transferring power.

15 Oct 2020 - 10:02AM

China’s usually well-organised bureaucracy fell down when its rulers were incapacitated, with no provisions for peacefully transferring power.

How sick rulers made for messy transfers of power in Imperial China
Reflections | Mulan gets much wrong, not least about the Witch and the Matchmaker, who would have been excluded from society

In Chinese history, these figures were despised as part of ‘the three women and six hags’, a phrase still used to describe gossipmongers

12 Oct 2020 - 5:35AM

In Chinese history, these figures were despised as part of ‘the three women and six hags’, a phrase still used to describe gossipmongers

Mulan gets much wrong, not least about the Witch and the Matchmaker, who would have been excluded from society
Reflections | Why the Chinese celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival – a brief history of the occasion

The occasion became popular during the Tang dynasty, while its date on the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese calendar was established during the Northern Song dynasty.

1 Oct 2020 - 8:45AM

The occasion became popular during the Tang dynasty, while its date on the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese calendar was established during the Northern Song dynasty.

Why the Chinese celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival – a brief history of the occasion
Reflections | Crime and collective punishment: in imperial China, you could be killed for your family’s misdeeds

Harsh punishments meted out to more than just the perpetrator of a crime were common in Chinese history, with only the king or emperor spared.

28 Sep 2020 - 5:28AM

Harsh punishments meted out to more than just the perpetrator of a crime were common in Chinese history, with only the king or emperor spared.

Crime and collective punishment: in imperial China, you could be killed for your family’s misdeeds
Reflections | In China, hats once marked a young man’s entry into adulthood, but they have fallen out of fashion

Around the age of 20, young men would cast off their boyhood with a ‘capping ceremony’, during which a series of three hats would be placed on their head.

21 Sep 2020 - 2:50PM

Around the age of 20, young men would cast off their boyhood with a ‘capping ceremony’, during which a series of three hats would be placed on their head.

In China, hats once marked a young man’s entry into adulthood, but they have fallen out of fashion
Reflections | Chinese matchmaking and arranged marriages in imperial China – for love and money

Where matchmakers were once responsible for performing the necessary background checks between potential partners, today they keep traditional wedding rituals alive.

14 Sep 2020 - 3:05PM

Where matchmakers were once responsible for performing the necessary background checks between potential partners, today they keep traditional wedding rituals alive.

Chinese matchmaking and arranged marriages in imperial China – for love and money
Reflections | Why poison was the regicidal weapon of choice in Chinese history

A century after his death, in 1908, toxicology reports showed that the Guangxu Emperor died of arsenic poisoning, the day before his nemesis, Empress Dowager Cixi, passed.

4 Sep 2020 - 12:52PM

A century after his death, in 1908, toxicology reports showed that the Guangxu Emperor died of arsenic poisoning, the day before his nemesis, Empress Dowager Cixi, passed.

Why poison was the regicidal weapon of choice in Chinese history
Reflections | How postal services in ancient China and modern America have been used and abused

With battle lines drawn at the US Postal Service ahead of the election, a look back at those who abused the postal system through Chinese history.

28 Aug 2020 - 11:56AM

With battle lines drawn at the US Postal Service ahead of the election, a look back at those who abused the postal system through Chinese history.

How postal services in ancient China and modern America have been used and abused
Reflections | ‘Traitors’ to China, past and present – stories of those who served enemy states

China-born advisers to the US government have been called hanjian, or traitors to the Chinese nation’, but they are not the first to have betrayed their nation.

24 Aug 2020 - 8:32AM

China-born advisers to the US government have been called hanjian, or traitors to the Chinese nation’, but they are not the first to have betrayed their nation.

‘Traitors’ to China, past and present – stories of those who served enemy states
Reflections | Like the ex-king of Spain, China’s Wanli Emperor was greedy – and stingy with it

The Ming Dynasty was undone, in part, by the avarice of the Wanli Emperor, who preferred to let his vast fortune of silver rot rather than use it to help his people prosper.

28 Oct 2020 - 11:02AM

The Ming Dynasty was undone, in part, by the avarice of the Wanli Emperor, who preferred to let his vast fortune of silver rot rather than use it to help his people prosper.

Like the ex-king of Spain, China’s Wanli Emperor was greedy – and stingy with it
Reflections | China is a professional when it comes to political word play, but the US is catching up

The refusal to use self-designated titles is an oft-employed tactic to deny a person or group their legitimacy.

10 Aug 2020 - 8:16AM

The refusal to use self-designated titles is an oft-employed tactic to deny a person or group their legitimacy.

China is a professional when it comes to political word play, but the US is catching up
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