Category Archives: China

Ash Wednesday 天地社会

里 li3

dirt tu3 土
IN a field 田tian2

In, Lining the idea is also the LIning INside of a coat. 裡 li3

黑/黒 hei1

Black. Both these mean black. They are the image of a person with a blackened face, their face is blackened with ash. The character has been simplified from a picture of a big man (da4 ren de da). His face is up on top with  2 dots of ash to show the idea of BLACK DARK. These are the same character one is a Japanese variant.

Four burning coals on the bottom, two dots of ash on the face in China, no need to bother with the extra 2 dots in Japan.

墨 mo4

smudge stick

Dirt tu3 on the bottom is the idea of the inkpot. This is the mo of moshui, Chinese ink. It’s made from water and burnt ashes.

黯 an4

an4 dark, deep black, probably matte black as opposed to glossy black since this character also means dull.

hei1an4 dark, darkness

hei1ban3 blackboard


hei1 she4hui4

Criminal society.

hei1 shi4 black market
Linkword: Hei! Shi’s a prostitute!


literally black hand; criminal; refers to an individual not a group, cf. English “the black hand”,  an historical criminal society.

memotechnique: Hey! Show?


Secret society 秘密社团, 秘密社会


Seems like a remake of 青蛇 is coming out Tomorrow! :)


No one dares speak his name! Is there any who dare speak his name? The divine god protects and reveals!
Do not gasp desire is empty empty is desire desire changes empty space empty space becomes desire!
The end of an era is this moment of unchanging desire
This beautiful desire emerges, desire births desire asks who cannot love and cherish
Sing forth the song of cherished desire, the end of this era, the upright woman is me!
Do not dare speak his name! None dare speak his name! The divine god protects and reveals!
The divine dragon's daughter, a swirling song of the great mother, her heart's eye appears bewitched! 
Exhausted my role, consciousness of beautiful desire comes bidding you all to cherish and love
A good night again falls on the end of this world. man, treasure and cherish this night, remember me.

Chinese Poetry



one’s-self as ancient nation
true love and friends abide
thousands of songs and ten thousand tomes
praise Lady Zhaojun
her political marriage put out
the fire and flame of war
this solemn verdant tomb
draws the present to past once more

智慧 zhi hui – wisdom – character decomposition and analysis (free supplement to Pictogram Palace)

Free supplement for Pictogram Palace 智慧

智 zhi is the left character. it means intelligence.
The top left part is a picture of a big man with an arrow going over his head. To his right is a picture of a mouth. The idea is spoken smart words. Without the mouth the idea is just an arrow, i.e., pointed, directed. Bottom left part is a picture of the sun. So this is sharp spoken words which are really bright. Intelligent!
Mnemotechnique: it went over his head.

The top of the right character is feng1 repeated twice which means fertile abundant. it’s a picture of a growing plant ripe with fruit and seed. Beneath it is a picture of the bristles of a broom. That changes the meaning and pronunciation to hui which means comet. Add the heart character below it (three dots on top and below a curve, that’s a picture of the heart) to transform the meaning a bit from comet to an idea which sweeps all clean in its path purifies. So this is purification by the super-abundant divine power which cleans all foolish ideas from its path in other words: WISE.

What’s wise and intelligent put together? Wisdom.

There is a very popular childrens program called “small wisdom tree” xiao zhi hui shu which uses these two characters.

Pronouncing Pinyin: Free supplement for Pictogram Palace

Did you ever notice how people from China generally have thick accents? Guess what that means? Right. Your accent in Chinese probably sounds terribly bad is thick and incomprehensible. If you actually want to communicate then you need to pronounce properly.
In Pictogram Palace (free sample) I did not discuss proper pinyin pronunciation. This is because I am obviously not a native speaker. I have however been reading what lots of native speakers write and listening to what they say. Problem pinyin initials follow in the table below.
Common pronunciation points for each row are on the right.
Common pronunciation points for each coloumn are at the final row.
My own romanization of these sounds is in bold italic because pinyin often does not correspond to English.








(it’s a heavily
aspirated j)
It is equal to pinyin T + pinyin X



X tip of tongue touching back of lower front teeth, middle top of tongue touching top of mouth at the hard palate. This sound doesn’t exist in English but can be approximated as HS or HSH
This sound should be easy to make while smiling, unlike pinyin sh.
hs, hsh, khs, khsh


these sounds stress
the surface of the tongue.they don’t exactly correspond to sounds in English. the tip of the tongue touches the back of the lower teeth. the top of the tongue is raised toward the roof of the mouth (hard palate)
(this is much gentler, subtler than the Russian Zh)
Ch Sh tip of tongue is
touching the top
of the teeth
(ds, tz, z)
tongue is flat
ASPIRATED sound is soft and prolonged

Public Power and Private Right

There is law and there is justice; the legal minded believe (public) law may work justice more effectively than private actions, whether blood feud, clan war, weregeld or other forms of private vengeance such as the secret Vehm courts. Public law experts argue that monopolizing lawful violence reduces violence and works justice more effectively. Thus acts of private vengeance, viewed in pre-modernity as the essence of retributive justice become, in modernity: crimes!

However, there is of course the opposite view; it is a view held by various mafia, many criminals, but also by clans, tribes, in short proto-states from the pre-scientific era. The idea that public law is better than private vengeance is definitively one aspect of modernity, the industrial era. So are cabinet wars, limited as opposed to total wars, and for similar reasons: the reduction of violence, through the use of violence, by a monopolist of violence – the state. Here the Marxist experiment at attaining the self-destruction of state power is instructive.

As to those who believe that private vengeance is better and more fair than public law, who am I to disagree? I am not the state. I am well aware of the failures of state power to attain justice. Then again, the statists argue in extremis, that the primary goal of state power is to impose the monopolization of violence, not to work substantive justice.

So there are sensible reasons for which one might take the side, e.g. of a given mafia, a group of so-called criminals, for it is only the state’s laws which make them criminals, no?

That is not my own view. I believe the better view is that substantive justice is better attained by public (criminal) law rather than private vengeance. Then again, in the face of the failure of state power, as was the case in Sicily some 200 years ago one can well understand why private persons might make private justice a private affair. The problem is, then they are, knowingly or not, contenders for state power. And like I point out: the state claims the monopoly of lawful violence.

Yet, substantive justice is an ideal; it can never be attained. Life is inherently unfair. Is it fair that people die? No. But we cling to the hope of justice, the promise of fairness in our dealings with other people precisely because sickness and death, natural disasters are so arbitrary and unfair. Yet we believe, perhaps are naive, that by regulating our affairs as to voluntary transactions we can best cope with a bad situation. For there is a fundamental difference between the death at the hands of a robber or rapist as opposed to a natural or even accidental death through the forces of nature, which until recently were ever more powerful even than the state.