Culture, Poetry

Culture, Poetry: The Ballad of Mulan: The Original Poem

Originally by:

This is the original poem of Mulan.

The Ballad of Mulan

Tsiek tsiek and again tsiek tsiek,
Mu-lan weaves, facing the door.
You don’t hear the shuttle’s sound,
You only hear Daughter’s sighs.
They ask Daughter who’s in her heart,
They ask Daughter who’s on her mind.
“No one is on Daughter’s heart,
No one is on Daughter’s mind.
Last night I saw the draft posters,
The Khan is calling many troops,
The army list is in twelve scrolls,
On every scroll there’s Father’s name.
Father has no grown-up son,
Mu-lan has no elder brother.
I want to buy a saddle and horse,
And serve in the army in Father’s place.”
In the East Market she buys a spirited horse,
In the West Market she buys a saddle,
In the South Market she buys a bridle,
In the North Market she buys a long whip.
At dawn she takes leave of Father and Mother,
In the evening camps on the Yellow River’s bank.
She doesn’t hear the sound of Father and Mother calling,
She only hears the Yellow River’s flowing water cry tsien tsien.
At dawn she takes leave of the Yellow River,
In the evening she arrives at Black Mountain.
She doesn’t hear the sound of Father and Mother calling,
She only hears Mount Yen’s nomad horses cry tsiu tsiu.
She goes ten thousand miles on the business of war,
She crosses passes and mountains like flying.
Northern gusts carry the rattle of army pots,
Chilly light shines on iron armor.
Generals die in a hundred battles,
Stout soldiers return after ten years.
On her return she sees the Son of Heaven,
The Son of Heaven sits in the Splendid Hall.
He gives out promotions in twelve ranks
And prizes of a hundred thousand and more.
The Khan asks her what she desires.
“Mu-lan has no use for a minister’s post.
I wish to ride a swift mount
To take me back to my home.”
When Father and Mother hear Daughter is coming
They go outside the wall to meet her, leaning on each other.
When Elder Sister hears Younger Sister is coming
She fixes her rouge, facing the door.
When Little Brother hears Elder Sister is coming
He whets the knife, quick quick, for pig and sheep.
“I open the door to my east chamber,
I sit on my couch in the west room,
I take off my wartime gown
And put on my old-time clothes.”
Facing the window she fixes her cloudlike hair,
Hanging up a mirror she dabs on yellow flower powder
She goes out the door and sees her comrades.
Her comrades are all amazed and perplexed.
Traveling together for twelve years
They didn’t know Mu-lan was a girl.
“The he-hare’s feet go hop and skip,
The she-hare’s eyes are muddled and fuddled.
Two hares running side by side close to the ground,
How can they tell if I am he or she?”

From:The Flowering Plum and the Palace Lady: Interpretations of Chinese Poetry By Han H. Frankel, Yale University Press, 1976.

Culture, Latin, Politics

Culture, Politics, Latin: Yes, Prime minister

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In the British TV series “Yes, Prime minister, the actors used some Latin sentence.

Latin: “Forsan miseros meliora sequentur.”

English: “for those in misery, good things will follow.”

Latin: “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.”

English: “I  fear Greeks even if they bring gifts.”

Latin: “Inter Alia.”

English: “Among other things.”

Latin: “Mutatis mutandis.”

English: “once the necessary changes are made.”

Latin: “Prima facie”

English: ” on its first encounter or at first sight.”

Latin: “Pro bono publico”

English: ” professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.”


Culture: Leadership

Leadership is defined -according to me- as maintaining the delicate balance between the team and the mission, by keeping all your team members motivated while joining forces to achieve the goal of the mission.

Leadership according to

“process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”.A definition more inclusive of followers comes from Alan Keith of Genentech who said “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.

According to this definition, I would categorize the leaders into:


Culture, Humor, Language

Culture, Humor, Language: Blackadder, Ink and incapability

In the timeless T.V. series of Blackadder, starring Rowan Atkinson.
In the third season, second episode titled ink and incapability, Edmund Blackadder mocked Samuel Johnson, author of the dictionary, by listing non-words to confuse the poor author.

the words are mentioned in

Contrafibularities: Obviously from contra, against, + fibula, the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. Means ‘pulling one’s leg’.

Anaspeptic: From ana. back or up, + peptic, pertaining to the stomach. Obviously refers to some form of upchuck (vomit).

Frasmotic: Possibly a portmanteau word, frazzled + spasmodic. So frazzled that one goes into a spasm.

Compunctuous: A variation of compunctious, slightly influenced by contemptuous. Having a bad conscience because one has harmed somebody one really despises.

Pericombobulation: From peri-, around, + discombobulation. Disturbance and confusion because someone has been running circles around one.

Intrafrastically: from Intra means beneath, below, + fract means break, which I have no idea what it should mean.

Cinema, Culture

Cinema, Culture: Valkyrie (film) quote.

Col. Claus von Stauffenberg: [looking at a portrait of Hitler] Do you know how this war will end, Lieutenant? The portrait will be unhung, and the man will be hung. I am involved in high treason with all means available to me. Can I count you in?
Lieutenant Werner von Haeften: For anything, sir. Anything at all.
Stauffenberg: “Anything” is a very dangerous word, Lieutenant.
Culture, Latin, Politics

Culture, Politics, Latin: “Yes, Prime minister” and “Yes, Minister” Latin sentences.

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In the British TV series “Yes, Prime minister” and “Yes, Minister”, Sir Humphrey Appleby used some Latin sentences,here is the episode.

And here are the ones I remember and its meanings.

Latin: “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.”

English: “I  fear Greeks even if they bring gifts.”

Latin: “Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis.”

English” “The times are changing, and we change in them.”

Latin: “Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.”

English: “if you had kept your silence , you would have stayed a philosopher.”

Latin: “Qoud erat demonstranum.”

English: “This is a demonstration”

Stay tuned for more Latin sentences and its meanings.

Culture, Politics

Culture, Politics: Yes, Prime minister… A Victory for Democracy

In the British TV series “Yes, Prime minister” season 01 episode 06 “A Victory for Democracy” in 1986.

Enjoy the episode, and don’t forget to check the questions and answers.

Sir Humphrey Appleby, with the secretary of Foreign affairs asked Bernard Woolley the private secretary some questions to prove that politician are ignorant regarding foreign affairs, Bernard wasn’t able to answer and neither do I (until I searched for answers).

The questions were:

Q1: Where is the Isle of wight?

A1: The Isle of Wight is located in the English channel.

Q2: Where is Upper Volta?

A2: Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) is in Africa, North of Ghana and South of Mali, it is Capital is Ouagadougou.

Q3: What is the Capital of Chad?

A3: Chad in Africa, South of Libya, West of Sudan,  the Capital is N’Djamena,
And in 1986, Chad was at war against Libya (Opération Épervier).

Q4: What is the Language of Mali?

A4: Capital city is Bamako, Language is French,
And in 1986, Upper Volta and Mali, disputed their frontier.

Q5: Who is the president of Peru?

A5: in July, 1985, the president of Peru was Alan García, since July, 2016 the president is Pedro Pablo Kuczynski

Q6: What is the Religion of Cameroon?

A6: Christianity is the main religion, Cameroon is south of Chad, east of Nigeria, the capital is Yaounde and French is the main language.

stay tuned for Latin sentences from the series and their meaning from the series.

Have an awesome day.