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Your New Year's Guest List


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You're not going out this year and can only sit there and fantasize. So what Chinese figures, living or historical, would you invite over?


For me:


张学良, because I've always wanted to meet a warlord.


林彪, because anyone who upset Mao that badly can't be all bad.


张大千, because he'd write out a beautiful inscription that'd fund my old age.


德范克, because I'd like to thank him for his great textbooks. And have someone there to translate if my Chinese fails me.

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What a really good, thought-provoking question. 

乐黛云 - co-authoress of (IMHO) one of the best books written on the turmoil of the mid 20th century

胡耀邦 - what an amazing life and first-hand experience of life in China throughout the 20th century. In fact, having invited him to the party, I'd better stay clear of inviting other former colleagues of his in case it ends up in a fight.

It would also be interesting to have some of the common folk who lived through this era and hear about the struggles they had, starting from the latter years of the Qing dynasty and the Boxer Rebellion through to the end of the cultural revolution.  With this in mind, how about similar ordinary folk throughout Chinese history when China was at its peak in the Tang/Song era and, conversely, when things were going downhill in the mid-19th century?

Don't think I'd invite 秦始皇, as I suspect he'd probably try to steal my house.

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Rabban Bar Sauma - that's one hell of a journey at one interesting point in history http://ringmar.net/irhistorynew/index.php/2018/10/13/rabban-bar-sauma-envoy-to-the-pope/


Cao Zhenglu 曹征路 - one of my favourite living authors, be nice to meet while he's still around


Kumarajiva if he'd count, as his birthplace is now in China and of course his work was here, could teach you a thing or two about translation


Peng Pai 彭湃 from recent history for his activism and interesting to hear his take on Chen Jiongming


Wu Cheng'en 吴承恩 besides Journey to the West if he did indeed write it as generally believed he's supposed to have known loads of good folktales and I like his sense of humour.

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@Jim I'd like to join your dinner table if you're inviting Kumarajiva! 


My first guest would be Su Dong Po (Su Shi)  苏东坡 because of his bright take on life no matter how hard, his seeing and making magic everywhere (finding last night's moon trapped in a jar of water), his tolerance and broad mind and, of course, his exquisitely beautiful poetry. I wonder if he'd be willing to also cook one of the dishes?


Shen Kuo (沈括), the Song Dynasty polymath, probably one of the topmost gifted brains in the history of our species. We'll talk about geology and stratigraphy and I'm sure he'll be thrilled to hear about plate tectonics. But I'll also want to hear all about his UFO encounters!


Xuanzang (玄奘), the real monk Tipitaka (though his fictional persona was my inspiration to study Chinese). I'll want to hear about the Silk Road and about the famous Nalanda. I'll apply to join his team of translators and thank him for all his troubles. I'll also advice him most strongly against buying those cheap wicker baskets in the bazaar and to go for 100% water and corrosion proof caskets, no matter the cost.


I would like to invite Zhuangzi 庄子 too, but I'm sure he wouldn't come.


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曹雪芹 - I wanna know what REALLY happened at the end of 紅樓夢


王羲之 - for obvious reasons, but also to get me even richer than 889 would be after their NYE


米芾 - not just an amazing calligrapher, just a wacky guy all round, sure he'd have some great stories to tell





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