有子曰：「其為人也孝弟，而好犯上者，鮮矣；不好犯上，而好作亂者，未之有也。君子務本，本立而道生。孝弟也者，其為仁之本與！」 Youzi said: “A man who shows filial and fraternal devotion is unlikely to question the authority of his superiors. Such a man will never provoke disorder. A leader focuses on the root; once this takes hold the way appears. Filial and fraternal devotion is the root of goodness.”
Confucius was a master of talent development, training hundreds if not thousands of followers (1) who went on to take official positions and run businesses in the patchwork quilt of states that comprised China during his lifetime.
子曰：「學而時習之，不亦說乎？有朋自遠方來，不亦樂乎？人不知而不慍，不亦君子乎？」 The Master said: “Isn’t it a pleasure to study and repeatedly apply the lessons you’ve learned? Isn’t it a joy to have friends visit from afar? Isn’t it the mark of a leader to go unacknowledged without letting it annoy you?”(1)
How do you become a leader? This is the central theme of the teachings of Confucius as recorded in The Analects. The answer is by studying the core principles hard and iterating the lessons you have learned from them so enthusiastically that they become an unconscious part of who you are and how you conduct yourself. There are no magical shortcuts in this process, though that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be an enjoyable one. There are no guaranteed earthly or heavenly rewards for following it either. You pursue this path because it is the right thing to do, not because there is a pot of gold at the end of it or any likes or retweets along the way. (2)
Alibaba have published an interesting overview of the Chinese coffee market on their Alizila website, even if it somehow neglects to mention the potential impact of emerging local players such as Luckin.
The key takeaway for me wasn’t so much the big numbers that the report throws around, but the two key consumption trends that it identifies: namely, the move to “premium artisan products” and the quest for “novel experiences.”
I’m glad that I managed to get back home from an afternoon excursion to Guandu before a big thunderstorm hit the city. Compared to southern Taiwan, Taipei has got off reasonably lightly during the recent spate of monsoon rains, but the one we had today seems to have tested the limits of the city’s drainage system– though perhaps not quite a severely as the intrepid reporters the TV stations send out into the streets might want us to believe!
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After my bus ride home this evening, I can’t help thinking that autonomous vehicles can’t come soon enough! Don’t get me wrong, the public bus service in Taipei is excellent for the most part. I have a choice of three nearby lines that can zip me down Dunhua South Road, up on the elevated highway to Xindian, and down to a stop nearby office in less than half-an-hour at rush hour – all for the princely sum of NT$30 ($1).
I forgot to include The Soong Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave to my list of memorable books about China. While the prose is a tad too purple in places for my taste, the book provides a riveting account of the extraordinary lives of the three Soong sisters, Soong Ai-ling, Soong Ching-ling, and Soong Mei-ling, who had such an enormous impact on the history of China during the first half of the Twentieth Century.
Shanghai of the 1930’s was a city of extremes: home to some of the richest tycoons on the planet and millions of poor Chinese laborers and their families struggling to survive on the pittances they were paid for grinding away in its docks and factories.