Wee Kek Koon

Wee Kek Koon

Latest from Wee Kek Koon

Reflections | Why ignore Naomi Osaka’s Haitian heritage? Identity has long been a product of mixed marriages, just look at China

In imperial China, the Han Chinese assimilated with rulers and subjects through intermarrying, a history that is largely ignored by labels that overlook the complexities of what came before.

14 Feb 2019 - 12:02PM
Why ignore Naomi Osaka’s Haitian heritage? Identity has long been a product of mixed marriages, just look at China

In imperial China, the Han Chinese assimilated with rulers and subjects through intermarrying, a history that is largely ignored by labels that overlook the complexities of what came before.

Reflections | Disrespecting the Chinese national anthem in Hong Kong not only lacks manners, it also provokes Beijing

Our columnist recalls how even foreign pupils at his school in Singapore showed basic courtesy when Majulah Singapura was played

31 Jan 2019 - 10:15AM
Disrespecting the Chinese national anthem in Hong Kong not only lacks manners, it also provokes Beijing

Our columnist recalls how even foreign pupils at his school in Singapore showed basic courtesy when Majulah Singapura was played

Reflections | As Malaysia elects new king, a look back at abdications in imperial China – voluntary, cowardly, or at sword-point

Malaysians were surprised by the sudden resignation of Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan as their 15th king, but Chinese history is peppered with emperors who abdicated, voluntarily and otherwise.

25 Jan 2019 - 10:55AM
As Malaysia elects new king, a look back at abdications in imperial China – voluntary, cowardly, or at sword-point

Malaysians were surprised by the sudden resignation of Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan as their 15th king, but Chinese history is peppered with emperors who abdicated, voluntarily and otherwise.

Reflections | Hotpot lacks ‘cultural significance’? The convivial dish has been bringing people together for some 900 years in China

The popular winter dish, recently slammed by Hong Kong food critic Chua Lam for requiring little skill in its preparation, has been bringing people together over its boiling broth from some 900 years in China

17 Jan 2019 - 1:07PM
Hotpot lacks ‘cultural significance’? The convivial dish has been bringing people together for some 900 years in China

The popular winter dish, recently slammed by Hong Kong food critic Chua Lam for requiring little skill in its preparation, has been bringing people together over its boiling broth from some 900 years in China

Reflections | From foot-binding to big hair, in imperial China, beauty trends began in the palace

The Palace Museum in Beijing recently released a line of lipsticks, recalling how fashion and cosmetic trends were started by the ladies of the Forbidden Palace.

10 Jan 2019 - 9:26AM
From foot-binding to big hair, in imperial China, beauty trends began in the palace

The Palace Museum in Beijing recently released a line of lipsticks, recalling how fashion and cosmetic trends were started by the ladies of the Forbidden Palace.

Reflections | African swine flu threatens China’s long and storied love affair with pork ahead of the Year of the Pig
  • Pigs have played an important cultural and culinary role in China for 8,000 years
30 Jan 2019 - 11:54AM
African swine flu threatens China’s long and storied love affair with pork ahead of the Year of the Pig
  • Pigs have played an important cultural and culinary role in China for 8,000 years
Reflections | The Chinese Bible: how it was translated, and the phrases it introduced to the Chinese language

The 19th century Christians who produced a definitive Mandarin translation of the Bible, the Chinese Union Version, introduced to China phrases such as sacrificial lamb and a tooth for a tooth whose biblical origins are forgotten today.

22 Dec 2018 - 7:17AM
The Chinese Bible: how it was translated, and the phrases it introduced to the Chinese language

The 19th century Christians who produced a definitive Mandarin translation of the Bible, the Chinese Union Version, introduced to China phrases such as sacrificial lamb and a tooth for a tooth whose biblical origins are forgotten today.

Reflections | Imperial ceremony in Japan angers taxpayers, but it’s got nothing on the pomp of ancient Chinese rituals

The Japanese government is being sued by plaintiffs who argue that the enthronement ceremony planned for the new emperor is ‘highly religious’ and goes against the separation of church and state. What would they have said about the elaborate annual Jitian ritual in imperial China?

14 Dec 2018 - 1:20PM
Imperial ceremony in Japan angers taxpayers, but it’s got nothing on the pomp of ancient Chinese rituals

The Japanese government is being sued by plaintiffs who argue that the enthronement ceremony planned for the new emperor is ‘highly religious’ and goes against the separation of church and state. What would they have said about the elaborate annual Jitian ritual in imperial China?

Reflections | Chopsticks are one of China’s most important cultural exports, a fact devalued by Dolce & Gabbana’s ad

The utensils at the centre of a fashion firestorm are an integral part of Chinese culture and cuisine, but how did they get their name?

7 Dec 2018 - 10:42AM
Chopsticks are one of China’s most important cultural exports, a fact devalued by Dolce & Gabbana’s ad

The utensils at the centre of a fashion firestorm are an integral part of Chinese culture and cuisine, but how did they get their name?

Reflections | As Neo-Nazi couple who named baby after Adolf Hitler show, naming a child can be a potential minefield

In ancient China, naming conventions were even more complex, with the titles of emperors and elders to be avoided at all costs

29 Nov 2018 - 10:38AM
As Neo-Nazi couple who named baby after Adolf Hitler show, naming a child can be a potential minefield

In ancient China, naming conventions were even more complex, with the titles of emperors and elders to be avoided at all costs

Reflections | Forget Singapore’s hawker culture, China has more than 2,000 years of history when it comes to street sellers

There is no denying that hawker centres play an integral role in Singapore’s national identity, but they are not singular to the city state

22 Nov 2018 - 8:35AM
Forget Singapore’s hawker culture, China has more than 2,000 years of history when it comes to street sellers

There is no denying that hawker centres play an integral role in Singapore’s national identity, but they are not singular to the city state

Reflections | International trade in ancient China and the surprisingly brief existence of the Silk Road

The exchange of goods and capital across international borders is not a new phenomenon, but it has never been without complications, whether in the ancient or modern world.

17 Nov 2018 - 5:25AM
International trade in ancient China and the surprisingly brief existence of the Silk Road

The exchange of goods and capital across international borders is not a new phenomenon, but it has never been without complications, whether in the ancient or modern world.

Reflections | The 2,000 year history of China’s ‘national liquor’ Maotai: truthful tale or myth to help market it to the masses?

Produced in the town of Maotai, Kweichow Moutai is the best known brand of baijiu and one of the most valuable liquor companies in the world. But less is understood about the tipple’s ancient origins, which some claim can be traced back two millennia.

8 Nov 2018 - 12:06PM
The 2,000 year history of China’s ‘national liquor’ Maotai: truthful tale or myth to help market it to the masses?

Produced in the town of Maotai, Kweichow Moutai is the best known brand of baijiu and one of the most valuable liquor companies in the world. But less is understood about the tipple’s ancient origins, which some claim can be traced back two millennia.

Reflections | Why Cantonese spoken in Malaysia sounds different to Hong Kong Cantonese, and no it’s not ‘wrong’

Malaysia’s ethnic and linguistic diversity has had an impact on how the Cantonese language has evolved in the country

1 Nov 2018 - 11:44AM
Why Cantonese spoken in Malaysia sounds different to Hong Kong Cantonese, and no it’s not ‘wrong’

Malaysia’s ethnic and linguistic diversity has had an impact on how the Cantonese language has evolved in the country

Reflections | Hong Kong’s Cantonese speakers have long had to code switch, but is that a disadvantage?

For Cantonese speakers, writing and reading Modern Standard Chinese requires additional effort

1 Nov 2018 - 10:29AM
Hong Kong’s Cantonese speakers have long had to code switch, but is that a disadvantage?

For Cantonese speakers, writing and reading Modern Standard Chinese requires additional effort

Ancient Chinese tale of friendship emphasises the importance of kindness

The story of Guan Zhong and Bao Shuya, two of China’s most famous friends, illustrates how we are better when we work together

17 Oct 2018 - 8:03PM
Ancient Chinese tale of friendship emphasises the importance of kindness

The story of Guan Zhong and Bao Shuya, two of China’s most famous friends, illustrates how we are better when we work together

Reflections | In imperial China, hopeless leaders inherited power. Today, they are elected

Leading a nation is no easy task, and nor is everyone suited to it, as certain US presidents and Chinese emperors have showed

11 Oct 2018 - 7:18AM
In imperial China, hopeless leaders inherited power. Today, they are elected

Leading a nation is no easy task, and nor is everyone suited to it, as certain US presidents and Chinese emperors have showed

Reflections | The Catholic Church in China: a complex history of controversies, conflicts and unwavering conviction

For centuries, Catholics in China have been dogged by disputes with Confucian rites and Communist beliefs, as well as issues of infighting, imperial opposition and politics

4 Oct 2018 - 12:28PM
The Catholic Church in China: a complex history of controversies, conflicts and unwavering conviction

For centuries, Catholics in China have been dogged by disputes with Confucian rites and Communist beliefs, as well as issues of infighting, imperial opposition and politics

Reflections | In pre-modern China, typhoons inspired tales of love, now viral video clips spread shock and fear

Powerful winds are nothing new, but the way that we respond to them has changed

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
In pre-modern China, typhoons inspired tales of love, now viral video clips spread shock and fear

Powerful winds are nothing new, but the way that we respond to them has changed

Reflections | Gweilo: the violent and racially charged history of the controversial word

The great ‘gweilo’ debate continues – a look at China’s history reveals how bloody battles led to its application

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
Gweilo: the violent and racially charged history of the controversial word

The great ‘gweilo’ debate continues – a look at China’s history reveals how bloody battles led to its application

Reflections | How one concubine rose to become a Chinese empress – by using the power of kindness against her adversaries

Betrayal and bickering between an emperor’s harem was commonplace, as seen in the wildly popular Story of Yanxi Palace. However, history shows that it sometimes paid to be good

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
How one concubine rose to become a Chinese empress – by using the power of kindness against her adversaries

Betrayal and bickering between an emperor’s harem was commonplace, as seen in the wildly popular Story of Yanxi Palace. However, history shows that it sometimes paid to be good

Reflections | When being a crazy rich Asian could be dangerous – in imperial China

Once one of China’s richest men, 14th century merchant Shen Wansan learned the hard way that flashing the cash could have life-threatening implications.

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
When being a crazy rich Asian could be dangerous – in imperial China

Once one of China’s richest men, 14th century merchant Shen Wansan learned the hard way that flashing the cash could have life-threatening implications.

Reflections | Chinese emperors needed critics, just as world leaders do today

In ancient China, remonstrance officials were employed to keep the emperor in check, and while many were silenced, it was when their advice was heeded that the empire flourished

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
Chinese emperors needed critics, just as world leaders do today

In ancient China, remonstrance officials were employed to keep the emperor in check, and while many were silenced, it was when their advice was heeded that the empire flourished

Reflections | The sacred mountains of China: revered by kings and commoners alike

The Five Great Mountains of China – from the notoriously difficult Huashan to Mount Song of Shaolin Temple fame – have been inspiring artists, poets and writers for several millennia

24 Aug 2018 - 11:34AM
The sacred mountains of China: revered by kings and commoners alike

The Five Great Mountains of China – from the notoriously difficult Huashan to Mount Song of Shaolin Temple fame – have been inspiring artists, poets and writers for several millennia

Reflections | From ancient China to Mong Kok – street performance was once a show of Chinese empire’s might

Enterprising emperors used spectacularly staged ensembles to communicate more than China’s ability to put on a good show

16 Aug 2018 - 6:32PM
From ancient China to Mong Kok – street performance was once a show of Chinese empire’s might

Enterprising emperors used spectacularly staged ensembles to communicate more than China’s ability to put on a good show

Reflections | Hong Kong should learn from rival Singapore, not sneer at it. Chinese King Wuling shows us why

Hong Kong should take heed of Singapore’s housing policies, much like King Wuling, whose state was besieged by attacks until he adopted the ways of its adversaries

12 Aug 2018 - 2:05PM
Hong Kong should learn from rival Singapore, not sneer at it. Chinese King Wuling shows us why

Hong Kong should take heed of Singapore’s housing policies, much like King Wuling, whose state was besieged by attacks until he adopted the ways of its adversaries

Reflections | After Trump treason accusation, how one Chinese emperor brought shame upon his nation

The case of Shi Jingtang, emperor of the Later Jin dynasty, shows the perils of pursuing power at any cost

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
After Trump treason accusation, how one Chinese emperor brought shame upon his nation

The case of Shi Jingtang, emperor of the Later Jin dynasty, shows the perils of pursuing power at any cost

Reflections | Where Britain imposed English on its colonies, in ancient China conquerors learned the language of the vanquished

The ruling class often adapted their language, dress and even names to those they had overcome

26 Jul 2018 - 8:18AM
Where Britain imposed English on its colonies, in ancient China conquerors learned the language of the vanquished

The ruling class often adapted their language, dress and even names to those they had overcome

Reflections | In ancient China, ‘abnormal’ transgender people were blamed for tragic events

Throughout Chinese history, transgender individuals were referred to as ‘human abnormalities’ and believed to foreshadow calamitous events

20 Jul 2018 - 6:04AM
In ancient China, ‘abnormal’ transgender people were blamed for tragic events

Throughout Chinese history, transgender individuals were referred to as ‘human abnormalities’ and believed to foreshadow calamitous events

Reflections | Deadly shootings are rare in Hong Kong, but murderous families weren’t all that uncommon in ancient China

Chinese history is peppered with tales of murderous mothers, children and more, for whom family members were all that stood in the way of the throne

12 Jul 2018 - 8:31AM
Deadly shootings are rare in Hong Kong, but murderous families weren’t all that uncommon in ancient China

Chinese history is peppered with tales of murderous mothers, children and more, for whom family members were all that stood in the way of the throne

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