Class Dismissed: The Malaysian Chinese Community in Bukit Mertajam

Article by Zhao Yen Beh. Abstract: The grand narrative regarding the Malaysian Chinese community as a ‘rich community’ is still dominant in Malaysia which overshadows the real situation of the Malaysian Chinese community since Malaysian Chinese tycoons only make up a small part of the community. Therefore, this article will …

Asia as Method. By SUN Ge and Yueh-Tsen CHUNG

Unit 3-2: Asia as Method

Instructors:SUN Ge and Yuehtsen CHUNG

Date:  8th July                                    

 In order to introduce Professor Sun Ge’s speech, it is necessary first to describe the history of modern Chinese studies in Japan, that is the problem about ‘’early modern” China (jìnshì) . To put it simply, that is what Professor Sun Ge said ‘‘modernity’’. Unlike the point of view about the inferiority of China, It seems that starting from Yoshimi Takeuchi, China has become a country that the Japanese are longing for, a country of communism which can preserve itself in the colonial era. However, even if Yoshimi Takeuchi praised China quite well, the successor, Mizoguchi Yuzo still believes that he has a European-centered thinking. After all, Yoshimi Takeuchi believes that we must go ahead with “modernity,” though it is a “Chinese mode.” This contempt for China comes from the view that “China lacks modernity.” Contrary to this ‘’misunderstanding’’, Mizoguchi Yuzo began his research on the question about ‘’early modern China” to show that China does not lack modernity. On the contrary, modernity has long appeared in the Song Dynasty, and this is the problem of “automatic production”(內發性) that Mizoguchi Yuzo talked about.

 By omitting the Sun Ge’s introduction about the background of Mizoguchi Yuzo, let us directly address what the Sun Ge’s speech focus on and the text she discussed: China as method. In simple terms, the most important part of Professor Sun Ge’s speech is how Han Studies transformed into China studies. This history will have strong relation with the question of the so-called progress of civilization. According to Professor Sun Ge’s view, Japan first invented the method of kun’yomi to introduce China’s thinking. However, this method of research was later replaced by the so-called Shina studies, and the texts written in modern Chinese are also valued. However, there is a common concept in these two researches: China is a country with no history. What replaces Shina studies is China studies. There are two important points in this studies: modernity and ‘’real’’ China history. However, the important scholar of China Studies, Shimada Kenji still use the concept of West and cannot not clearly figure out so called the internal mechanism of Chinese thinking system. The research of Mizoguchi Yuzo: China as a method, is exactly formed in this kind of background. That is what Professor Sun Ge mentioned ‘’free china studies’’. In other words, ‘’free china studies’’ is a kind of research which face directly the china’s phenomenon without any presupposition.

Finally, I want to ask Professor Sun Ge a question. Mizoguchi Yuzo has clearly used the concept of modernity in another book: The impact of China. This is obviously in contradiction with the free China Studies. How does Professor Sun Ge explain this?

為了介紹孫歌教授的演講,有必要先說明近代日本中國學的概括,也就是中國的「前近代」(近世)的問題。說的再簡單一點就是孫歌教授說的 ‘‘現代性’’不同先前日本中國學歧視的言論,似乎從竹內好開始,中國變成日本憧憬的國度,一個在殖民時代下,能夠保有自身的社會主義國度。但既使竹內好對中國讚譽有加,後繼者溝口雄三仍然認為其有著歐洲中心主義的思考,畢竟竹內好依然認為要往「現代化」前進,雖然是以「中國」的方式。針對這個對中國的歧視來自於「欠缺現代性」的看法,溝口展開他有關中國「前近代」的研究以說明中國並非缺乏現代性,相反的現代性早已出現在宋代,而這也就是溝口所說的「內發性」的問題。

 省略孫歌教授對溝口雄三背景的簡介,讓我們直接切入孫歌教授這次演講的內容及其文本 :作為方法的中國。簡單的說孫歌教授本次演講內容最重要的部分在於漢學轉變為中國學的歷史過程,而這會牽扯到亞洲西化時,所謂文明進步的問題。根據孫歌教授的看法,一開始日本發明了訓讀的方式引介中國的思想。然而這樣的研究方式之後就被所謂的支那學代替,而以現代漢語寫成的著作因而也獲得重視。不過這兩種研究方法中有一個共通的觀念,那就是中國是個沒有歷史的國家。接替支那學的便是戰後中國學。此研究重要的部分有兩點,現代性與重視中國歷史。不過中國學中的島田虔次依然是使用西方的概念以及無法清楚說出所謂中國內在機制。在這樣的脈絡下,就出現的溝口雄三所謂的 :作為方法的中國。這個就是孫歌教授提到的自由中國學的問題,也就是不帶任何預設,直接面對中國現象。

最後筆者想要對孫歌教授提出一個問題。溝口雄三在另一本書中明顯使用了「現代性」 :中國的衝擊。這明顯與自由中國學有所矛盾,對此孫歌教授要如何解釋呢 ?