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Monthly Archives: January 2012

我剛看完一本書叫 “Kung Fu: History, Philosophy and Technique” by David Chow and Richard Spangler. 這本書是1977年面世的所以比較老的書. 可是我覺得裡面說的東西得有趣. 這個作者說最早的功夫出現因為中國進入了戰國時代. 貴族需要可以打跟保護貴族的地. 這些人變成武倈(knight errants) 而且他們主要是保護於是俠氣(chivalry)植根了.
少林武功出現當達摩(從印度來的) 發現他的學生都沒有刀氣打禪(meditate), 所以達摩創造少林拳幫學生加強他們的身体. 達摩也很注意呼吸為了提倡Qi. 另外, 功夫明阳和木火土金水的概念被道教增強. 道教也加了“需要才用刀氣” 因為道教是鼓勵不軔手的方法. 要說為什麽功夫有這麽多關于動物的打法呢是因為人看動物怎麽本身的力氣跟它敵人的九氣贏.
最後, 這本書說功夫怎麼進電影工業. 我們會通常想到Bruce Lee. 但是Bruce Lee 之前是Master Kwan (Kwan Tak Hing) 可是他只作中文電影所我們在美國不認識他. 書本說Bruce Lee也很喜歡看Master Kwan 的電影. 所以功夫有很長的歷史在打架方面和娛樂方面. 中國的傳統歌劇本身用功夫. 這不是新的現象.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

我跟費老師的武術課先要看兄弟的忠誠. 所以我看了John Woo 的一片電影叫Red Cliff. 我覺得很好看. 看得目前我覺得拍的真棒!從電影看得出來尊重廉潔. 人不會跟著一個領導像Liu Bei 如果這一個人不會保護他們或者相信他. Red Cliff 一開就是Cao Cao 跟Liu Bei 打, Liu Bei 沒有夠士兵打Cao Cao的軍隊 因為Liu Bei 強調要保護流民. Liu Bei 的信徒也後來跟他退避. 而且, Cao Cao 自己也問 “為什麼他下面沒有這麼勇敢的人跟他?” 電影從開到完就是說這兒. 打 Cao Cao 的人都是用公平的方法打战. 然後雖然Cao Cao 有幾十萬人在他的軍隊和海軍, 後來沒贏. 所以電影是講你說或者誓約的話你必須要負責任. 不管是你說三天內你會拿到十萬箭或者說你會合作當同盟國, 你一定要做到底.
我也讀了三國演義的一些部分, 然後我現在了解兄弟和答應的意思. 古代說有些战是為了女生打的. 我覺得也有很多战是為了忠誠打起來的. 比如說, 三國演義有講到用一個兄弟的頭避免打战或者刺激人打架. 所以讀了三國演義, 看得出來兄弟忠誠非常重要. 坦白的說, 有一些部份我讀不太懂因為我讀的部分會條的.可是我訂了書, 所以整個看完應該比較清楚.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Elections

Wow, I have not posted in awhile.

Last week I was in Taipei finishing up the rest of my internship. It was really cold there. Cold and wet. You need to carry and umbrella with you at all times to survive there. I was able to go to the National Palace Museum up there, Taipei 101, and a place called Dan Shui. It was pretty sweet. Aside from the cold…and the rain. I was just unprepared for that kind of weather.

But in other news…today is election day in Taiwan! I’ve never actually been to an election in the States so I can’t really compare but I was able to see how they did things here. 4-5 days before elections, you’re given a slip that says you can vote as well as each candidate’s platforms and etc. Day of, you go to a registered school and show your ID with the slip and proceed inside. For record keeping, you need to bring your signature-stamp before you get the ballots. There are three slips, one of them for the Pres/Vice Pres, one for I guess a congressman, and the other for which party you support. I’m not actually too clear on how the process, nor am I very clear on each candidate’s platforms. However, I do keep on hearing that the largest issue right now is the issue of whether Taiwan is Taiwan, or is Taiwan part of China, or is Taiwanese equivalent to Chinese. That’s basically what the buzz is about.

In the States, the debate for presidency goes from Education, to Health Care, Unemployment, Ethics, Outsourcing, to LGBTQ issues and a whole range of things. The election period is far more heated in the States, I think. But for awhile now, in Taiwan there have been little trucks blaring down the streets about the candidates. Last night, there was a whole procession in the streets cheering for a particular candidate.

The polls close at 4/5ish and I guess we’ll see where Taiwan will be headed then.

Other than that…next next is Lunar New Year….Year of the DRAGON. I hope the celebrations live up to my expectations. I’m really excited.

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Potions Class…minus the Unicorn Hair and Dragon Heartstring

Herbal Pharmacy was kind of like Potions Class and it was very cool. Like I mentioned before, medicine is prescribed according to what category your signs and symptoms fall under and the medicine brings you back to equilibrium. Of course, if this was the only thing you needed to know you wouldn’t need 5 years of training to become a Pharmacist or 7 years to become a TCM physician. The ingredients they use fall under animal, plant, and mineral categories. There are hundreds of ingredients and it got me thinking. Did they have to be ingredients that naturally grow in China to be considered TCM? But for a nation as big as China with such a long history, it is impossible to assume that TCM wasn’t influenced by other countries. So I asked around to find out if TCM can ever evolve in modern times. I mean, the formulas used in TCM today had to be experimented with and the ingredients could not have all been just from China. Do you know what I mean? However, it seems like formulas used now in TCM are set. Herbs found to be useful from other places today can be used but they are considered Herbal Medicine, not TCM.

As part of my internship, I was brought to a lab session in the Pharmacy school. Everyone was given a prepared bag of a certain formula and the students brought other cooking ingredients. TCM is a large part of the culture here, and so a part of that shows up in the food. Cooking TCM with food makes it taste better and more nutritious. What surprised me a little was how much rice wine in cooking the medicine. It’s obviously not used to get drunk; instead, it is added because 1) it has a lower boiling point so the medicine can brew in a shorter time 2) the wine makes you sleepy, which is good when you’re sick. Stacked in a corner of the rooms were crate of rice wine. Something you won’t see in a chemistry lab. The group I worked with brought hotpot ingredients and used the medicine as a hotpot, which was yummy.

The only problem I had was when the teacher announced to the entire class that I was from America and was here to learn about TCM. Right after, a surge of 20 students rushed at me and wanted to take pictures. Haha, but it was fun getting to know people.

I was able to work in a commercial pharmacy as well as the pharmacy in the hospital. The hospital is geared towards producing/bagging medicine at a greater volume so they have a very innovative computerized system for this. For powdered medicine (extracts of the real thing), each bottle has a barcode and the pharmacist responsible for combining the medicine together swipes his card, swipes the prescription, and then swipes each bottle used. If the wrong bottle is swiped, then the computer voices it and when the last bottle is swiped, the computer automatically says the prescription is complete. Each prescription has a total mass on the bottom of the sheet so when the pharmacist is finished with combining all the powders, he/she weighs the whole thing to make sure it has the correct weight. After the medicine is packaged into little bags, there is a weight the medicine (bags and all) should have. This is actually a very clever way to measure performance and to prevent mistakes when things get busy. The computer measures how fast and accurate a pharmacist can put together the medicine. Unfortunately, it’s harder to create a similar system with the section of the pharmacy dealing with TCM with the actual herbs. But, the person who created the system for the powdered medicine is working on it. I’d like to see what he comes with.

A pharmacist has to know where the ingredients come from, as in its original live form. As well as what it should look like when they are prepared. They should know how they are prepared and why. They should be able to identify the ingredient and recognize fakes. An ingredient can be prepared by drying it, “frying it” with honey or stones. Some more toxic ingredients are cooked or prepared to decrease the toxicity level into medicine. After all, all medicine is poison in large amounts. The preparation can bring out the effects of the herb, or dampen it depending on its potency. The pharmacist also learns to identify the herb using spectroscopy methods such as TLC and HPLC, types of chromatography. And of course, they should be able to know what ingredients cross-react with one another. So the amount of information they need to know is quite a lot, just like WM pharmacists.

A shout-out to pharmacists everywhere…kudos.

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas Hiking and New Year’s

I thought I was going to be yearning for Christmas and New Year’s back in the States but they were both pretty sweet over here. When I asked around how Christmas and New Year’s are celebrated here, most people said no one really celebrates it and that made me a little bit sad. But I guess you just got to find the right crowd, which is always the case anywhere.

Christmas Eve, I went to a friend’s house (from Germany) and I got introduced to what a Taiwanese Dog is. They have pointy ears, a curled tail and eat just about anything. In the States, pet owners are warned not to give their dogs chicken bones so they don’t choke on the small pieces but here it doesn’t matter. If we accidentally dropped food (or didn’t like the food) the dogs would eat it up. I actually have a German Shepard at home that does the same, but these dogs eat veggies too! It’s actually cool because this way you don’t waste food.

On Christmas Day I went to Miaoli and went hiking. It counts to be my first time hiking which was pretty cool. The scenery was amazing. We hiked into a clearing where farmers were growing oranges so we bought a couple and they were super sweet and juicy. I also got to see where papayas come from…I didn’t know they grew on trees. At the end of the hike, we came across a temple with a huge incense burner and so I left a prayer for my friends and family. The way the incense burner is designed, you either pray inwards to the temple or outwards to the sky. The one there was towards the sky and it was pretty cool especially since that day the sky was a clear baby blue.

Last night was New Year’s and I was taken to a place called Tiger City which is like a mall and happens to have a Cold Stone Creamery and a Chili’s as well as movie theaters and of course other eateries. There was a stage set up for a performance and we counted down to the New Year. There were so many people squeezed into that square at a couple of points I felt like a part of a very densely packed solid. Someone planned a proposal at the performance, and we watched her say yes. At midnight, we were treated to a fireworks show and yes…we were right under the fireworks. Wicked cool.

So Christmas and New Year’s were quite fun here. Makes me excited for Lunar New Year. The Year of the Dragon.

Happy New Year everyone!

New Year's at Tiger City

Miaoli

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Uncategorized