Language

A view of Santikhiri village, a KMT Chinese village, in Mae Salong, Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand. (iStock)

From pro-Taipei to pro-Beijing: Are KMT Chinese in Thailand switching their allegiance?

Because of China’s soft power, some Yunnanese Chinese in Northern Thailand — known as KMT Chinese and who are descendants of KMT supporters who left Yunnan and eventually settled in Northern Thailand — have gradually shifted from being pro-Taipei to being pro-Beijing. Out of the 110 private tutoring Yunnanese schools in Northern Thailand for instance, more than 40 have begun to accept Beijing’s support and modelled their school structure in accordance with PRC’s guidance. How many more converts can China's soft power yield?
This photo taken on 24 July 2022 shows a man sailing a boat with tourists along a channel in the Zhujiajiao ancient water town in Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

A Chinese professor in the US: Helping my son find his cultural roots

While second-generation Chinese immigrants are not better placed to immerse in the Chinese language and culture compared with their peers in China, US academic Wu Guo believes that they can still leverage their parents’ experiences, their advantage in the English language, and access to information and multiple perspectives to learn about their ancestral land.
Children play with sand near a Taiwan Navy supply ship at a beach on Nangan island of the Matsu Islands in Taiwan, 16 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why Chinese Singaporeans will be torn if war breaks out over the Taiwan Strait

Zaobao associate editor Peter Ong observes that members of the Chinese community in Singapore hold diverse views on reunification and other issues, and have varying levels of emotional ties to the mainland and Taiwan. If war breaks out, it will not be distant like the war in Ukraine, but stir up different feelings in the Chinese community. Remaining objective would be hard but necessary.
Office workers wearing face masks at Raffles Place, Singapore, on 6 September 2021. (SPH Media)

What does multiculturalism mean in Singapore?

As Singapore celebrates its 57th national day, Zaobao senior correspondent Chia Yei Yei shares her thoughts on the importance of understanding one’s ancestry in defining one’s identity. In a multicultural country, a Singaporean’s identity goes beyond that of merely being Chinese, Malay or Indian.
The blooming Calophyllum blancoi. (Facebook/蔣勳)

Taiwanese art historian: Reflecting on the indigenous culture of Orchid Island

Catching sight of a rare native flower in bloom, art historian Chiang Hsun ponders beauty in diversity and the unique heritage of the indigenous people of Taiwan’s Orchid Island.
People walk at a shopping mall complex in Beijing, China, on 16 April 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Why swear words derogating women have proliferated on the Chinese internet

The use of “national swear” (国骂) in the Chinese language has been a topic of discussion for the past century, with its derogatory nature towards women long known. From seemingly harmless insults to women’s intelligence to malicious debasing of female ancestors, why is the use of such language still prevalent on the internet today?
Wang Gungwu and Malaysia (2021). (Photo provided by Peter Chang)

Wang Gungwu and Malaysia: Building an intellectual bridge to China

Tracing the evolution of China’s development, Malaysian academic Peter T.C. Chang pays tribute to historian Wang Gungwu and his contributions to the study of Chinese overseas. Wang continues to play a major role in the field as a member of a pioneering class of bridge-building scholars who are adept at explaining China to the world, and the world to China. This is an edited version of the book chapter “A Pioneering Class of Bridge-Building Junzi” from the book Wang Gungwu and Malaysia (2021) published by the University of Malaya Press.
People take pictures of the Forbidden City after an overnight snowfall in Beijing, China, 22 January 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Fewer Chinese academics in the US will worsen US-China disconnect

With rising US-China tensions and American society’s dissatisfaction with China, as well as a shrinking higher education market, Chinese academics teaching China-related humanities subjects in the US and their already-marginalised departments and courses have been affected. US academic Wu Guo believes that the future generation’s understanding of the Chinese language and of China's culture and history will deteriorate as a result and worsen the disconnect between the US and China.
A delivery worker rides a vehicle pasts a JD.com advertisement with an image of freestyle skier Eileen Gu, at a bus stop in Beijing, China, 11 January 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

How do you romanise a Chinese name? Gu Ailing, Eileen Gu or Ailing (Eileen) Gu?

Translation studies professor Xiao Weiqing muses that the media and the Chinese Olympic Committee must have taken great pains to standardise and romanise Chinese names in their coverage of the Winter Olympics.