Friday, November 18, 2011

Fulfillment thinking in Chinese history, Lin Yutang.

Morning meeting at ORTV.  Doris Brougham is
playing the trumpet to the right of the leader.
I spoke on that subject yesterday morning to about 170 staff at Overseas Radio and Television (ORTV).  I began with a joke about the competition.  Traveling around Taiwan, I noticed not only the old cram schools that teach the "American language," but advertisements for what I took to be a new cram school staffed by overseas Chinese, called "Cai English."  Indeed, as the staff no doubt knew, large banners for this "school" can be seen draped over buildings all over the island, with pictures of a pleasant-looking Chinese lady and then another Chinese man or woman by her side.  But in fact, she's the presidential candidate in the upcoming election for the Peoples' Progressive Party.  The people by her side are not fellow teachers, but local candidates in the same election.  Her name happens to be "Cai English." 

People laughed at the joke.  Good, because I needed encouragement to go 45 minutes in Chinese.  If I can judge by my own experience as a public speaker, I want an audience to laugh so as to establish community, the feeling that we're all in it together, it's not just me up their talking, but that they're part of the experience, too.  Asuccessful pun is also a good indication that a talk in another language is going well, since often, Chinese assume that if the meanings don't click, you've simply screwed up and / or are totally incoherent in their difficult language. 

What was a little unique about yesterday morning's talk, besides the longest talk I've given in Chinese for many years, was its focus on leading Christian thinkers in the fulfillment tradition.  I wanted people to know who they were, and what they'd accomplished, and encourage creative Chinese Christians to recognize that their own work also belongs in some sense to that tradition. 

Doris Brougham was the only person in the audience who knew who John Ross was.  She also not only knew who the great writer Lin Yutang was, as do Chinese around the world, but called him "a good friend."  It turned out they'd collaborated on some work.
(I visited his old house on Yangmingshan later in the morning -- which reflects his own style and love of Chinese culture (note the fish pond, where he liked to pretend to fish in the morning), combined with interest in traditional European styles and science.  More on that, later.) 

I also joked that, ten years after the typhoon that accompanied me to the island on my last visit, ten years ago, "It's still raining!"  I recognized the laugh, that time -- it's the same laugh we Seattlites sometimes give to comments about our weather, after a particularly bad spell.  But I think the weather in Seattle is better than in Taipei.  Aside from the fact that it probably doesn't rain as much in Seattle, we don't often get a rain that encourages snakes to waylay strangers.  One can walk in our rain without water dripping down our bodies from the inside, even if it doesn't reach us from the outside.

ORTV is a remarkable organization, and Doris Brougham is an amazing person.  I think I'll also introduce her and the work they do in a later blog.  She is an institution in Taiwan (the president of Taiwan is honoring her this week for her work), and somewhat known in other parts of Asia, but probably not so many people in other parts of the world are familiar with this remarkable missionary / trumpet player / educator / HONEST televangelist / successful CEO.

1 comment:

chief gabril said...

Actively carry out the feelings will start right where you are. You do not have to change, to change the spouse, change your geographic demographics to find fulfillment, but the development of mind, "I want to know the purpose of my life", "fearless without fear, I want to know my purpose in life," "I the courage to pursue my life's purpose. "