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Is China's First Lady a debt recovery officer?

23 March 2014
 

When visiting a calligraphy class at a Beijing high school with US President Obama's wife Friday, Peng Liyuan, Chinese President Xi Jinping's wife wrote four Chinese characters on a piece of paper and gave it as souvenir to her guest.

Grandma: How much is the fine for late debt payment?

Granddaughter: Hum, you wouldn't want to know.

US First Lady: Gosh, she's brutal!

The four characters form an idem "厚德载物", meaning "great spiritual virtue promotes abundant material wealth", which was part of the opening lines of I Ching, China's No.1 classics and the critical foundation of Chinese culture and very basis of Daoism, with its significance to Chinese civilisation over thousands of years and to Chinese people's daily life today far, far, far and far more important than Confucius.

Why did she write this particular idem?

Peng is not an academically oriented intellectual (not in the conventional Western sense), nor can she be considered as a "Talented Woman" (not from the typical Chinese view point), although she knows well what she sings and can execute art of calligraphy proficiently.

The First Granny: What sort of new WMD this PLA general is holding?
The First Lady: Don't panic mama, I'm copycating this piece of high tech.
Peng: Trying to spy on my military equipment, hie, where is your Apple camera phone?

Then what prompted a mobile camera fanatic to pick up words from the metaphysically charged ancient text? Given she so far has shown little sign as a person politically alert over international wrestling and mentally sharp in internal social reality, or she wouldn't show off her Apple phone overseas and keep wearing attire at home that not only is visually repunsive (make her look fat and short like a rich & vulgar madam) but reminds the public of the most humiliating era in Chinese history under an alien rule.

Therefore a bunch of speculations sprout across Chinese online space.

One believes Peng is educating her American visitor about the relationship between spiritual virtue and material abundence, which is something American leaders, including her guest's husband, fail to comprehend, judging by their actions.

Another hypothesis though reckons Peng's message should be much down to earth: She's just worring about the money some Chinese traitors lent to America, because, as the theory goes, the pronunciation of "厚德载物” (virture promotes wealth) is fairly close to that of "好多债务”(so many debts). When Michelle hangs Peng's calligraphy art on a White House wall and recites the Chinese idem daily with her twisted US tongue, it will serve as a constant reminder to the US president about how much America has owed China.

 
 
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