On Drinking Tea

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My good friend Annie Pecheva has just published a wonderful blog post, translating a list of the twenty-four best situations in which to drink tea, taken from the Tea Report 《茶疏》 by Ming Dynasty scholar, Xu Cishu 許次紓. Here are the first six from the list: 1. 心手閑適 when you are idle and relaxing 2.披詠疲倦 when tired of reading poetry 3. 意緒棼亂 in time of …

Knowing, not knowing and teaching

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I’ve just been sending off the edits for a paper that I’ve been writing for China Media Research, who are running a special issue on communication and Chinese philosophy. The paper is about education as a matter of communicating not just knowing, but also not-knowing, something that I’m arguing through a reading of the Laozi and the Zhuangzi. In talking about not-knowing, …

The Pleasure and Difficulty of Writing

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There’s a spectacularly stupid quote attributed to Hemingway that seems to be everywhere on the internet these days. It goes like this, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” It turns out that Hemingway probably never said this (although he may have said other spectacularly stupid things), although that has not stopped the …

Tove Jansson on Men & Marriage

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“All the reasons I don’t want to get married came up… The whole male solidarity and protective pedestal of privileges, their weaknesses, inviolable and fenced in by slogans, their inconsistency and charming disregard for the feelings of others proclaimed with no trace of nuance as they beat a big drum from morning to evening from the safety of their boys’ …

Gilgit - Image Courtesy Hashoo Foundation.

Unmapped: Flesh and Stones

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I’m very pleased to have another article in Unmapped Magazine. This time the subject of the magazine is books, and the piece is a short story about corpses, cherries, perilous roads in the north of Pakistan, and one of my early encounters with Buddhism, by means of an old and mildewed book that I picked up in a second-hand bookshop. You …