Sticks and Cudgels

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In response to comments, I am posting a somewhat better picture pf the torch design that I think makes the connection to the jinqubang clearer. I do concede that “western demons” was an unhappy phrase and somewhat facetious to boot. Regarding the point about Monkey as a rebel, I am posting what seems to me an interesting comment by Perseverance. I would only note that parts of the Monkey legend were around in the Han and that the Buddhist elements were obviously added later, after the religion’s arrival in China and presumably during its apotheosis under the Tang. I also note that I always found Monkey’s ultimate accession to Buddha-hood (or Bodhisatva-hood) hard to swallow. Remember that while he evidently had some affection for the Monk, he also had to be controlled regularly by the headache band he wore and which Xuan Zang didn’t hesitate to use. Anyway, here’s Perseverance’s comment about imputing too much:

I do agree, after being edified, that the torch greatly resembles the cudgel and I also harbor the suspicion that their designer(s) has(have) the cudgel in mind when drawing up the pattern of the torch.

I also partly agree with the reason to such dubious absence of the implication. Strictly speaking,the cudgel is a weapon, used to kill demons and monsters, not exactly a symbol of such Olympic spirits as friendship and peace.

clearly those who select the design are so fond of such ingenious pattern that carries the unique Chinese favor that they would choose it despite some negative notion.

But, boy, I am surprised by Mr. Elegant’s speculation in the end about the conflict between west and east and the fight for freedom and liberty. Though the cudgel is heavy, it doesn’t contain such heaviness of political stuff. It’s more like a fantastic toy, having fun to play with. In this sense, it’s light.

Despite the denial of Tolkien himself, some critics still believe the literary works of the lord of the rings have the connotation of fighting against fascism. In such sense, the four great Chinese novels can be viewed as four great weapons to attack the current system. The Water Margins is a story about the rioting of the oppressed and the poor; the dream of red mansion is about the corrupt life of the powerful and the rich and the inevitable collapse of the system; the romance of three kingdoms are about rebellions and chaos; Journey to the west can be a glorious epic about fight for freedom as embodied by the unruly Sun Wukong.

It seems that not only the cudgel,but everything is changeable according to the whim of the beholder.

The journey to the west is a quest to seek truth and guidance from the west heaven. The demons monkey king kills are just those who get in the way of such a “noble” cause,not exactly “western”.

At the end of the story, the monkey king himself becomes a high-ranking buddha , a member of the powers that be, a defender of the hierarchy and supremacy of the rule of the heaven.

Choose as you will.

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