November 11th, 2011
in Op Ed
by Frank Li
Hello from China, again!
More than a year ago, I received an interesting email from a friend. It was an erotic oil painting with an interesting interpretation (in Chinese) of a profound worldview. I posted the painting at my own web site on June 9, 2010. I then translated the interpretation from Chinese to English, without publishing it though, because I did not think my audience at the time (i.e. the folks in the scale industry) was ready for that. Larger image of painting is displayed at end of article.
At the encouragement of GEI’s editor, I did my best to identify the source of both the painting and the interpretation over the past four months, without success. Taking advantage of freedom of speech and freedom of press, I decided to have both of them posted at GEI …
Follow up:The oil painting, shown below, is the work of Liu Yi, an expatriate Chinese in Canada. It was shown in New York City on March 6, 2005, under the title of "2008 Beijing."
The girl with tattoos on her back is a Chinese. The one on the left is a Japanese. The one across the Chinese is an American. The one on the right is a Russian. Finally, the one standing is a Taiwanese.
The American looks the best, at the 1st glance at least. The Russian is touching the American with her one foot, while passing cards to the Chinese on the other side. The Japanese looks at her own cards with dedication, focusing on her game without caring much about what's going on around her. The Taiwanese is dressed in a traditional Chinese vest, symbolizing the real inheritance of the Chinese culture. She holds a plate of fruits in one hand, while holding a fruit knife in the other, looking at the Chinese with resentment. But she is not part of the game - Her role is to serve fruits.
The Chinese woman is topless, with a skirt and a panty. The American woman dresses well on the top but is bottomless. The Russian woman has nothing but the panty left. The Japanese has nothing on at all.
Suppose the game is strip poker. If the Chinese loses, she will loose the skirt, ending up like the Russian (meaning disintegration as a country). If the American loses, she will have one piece left, like the Russian (meaning disintegration as a country). If the Russian loses, she will have nothing left. The Japanese? She has nothing left already.
In summary, the American looks the best for now. But if she loses once more, she will not be the one looking the best. The Russian is working with both the American and the Chinese under the table, because she can't play by herself alone. The Chinese has many hidden cards,
and is willingly working with the Russian under the table. The American can only know what's going on between the Chinese and the Russian by observing the Taiwanese. The Japanese does not know, nor does she care about, what's going on. The Taiwanese can see what's going on, but is not part of the game.
Who is going to win the game? The Chinese or the American! The game is Mahjong, a Chinese game. Can the American win by playing a Chinese game?
Author’s note: both the painting and the interpretation were [said to be] published in 2005. Does the 6-year hindsight help?
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder & President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action. Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson" (see page 31).