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Thread: Birth Mother or Raise Mother

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Default Birth Mother or Raise Mother

    One of the most celebrated example of heroism was Qiao Feng's defiance of the Khitan King in defence of the Song Dynasty.

    At the time the Khitan King gave the order Qiao Feng had cleared his name of numerous crimes and received instructions from his father not to allow Khitan and Song to go to war.

    However if the order had come before the incident at Shaolin Temple would Qio Feng had been justified in obeying his king.

    1) Qiao Feng was raised by the Song so should owe them some loyalty. But he had served them loyally all his adult life and braved many dangers in his service to them. Had he repaid his debt?

    2) It was the Song who killed his mother and turned him into an orphan and a racial traitor to the Khitans.

    3) When his ethnicity was discovered all his good work was forgotten and he was hunted like a criminal.

    4) The Khitans, especially the King treated him with respect and honour despite knowing his upbringing. Did he owe more to them than to a nation that had spurned him for being different?

    Qiao Feng has been held up as the ideal hero, his sense of honour and humanity unmatched. But given what he went through if he was given the chance to avenge himself would he had been justified in taking it?

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    If by justified you mean if I would blame him for doing so, then no, judging by a common person's morals and expectations, he can do what he wants and most people couldn't rightfully criticize him without being hypocrites.

    But for being a hero of the ages, then yes, he's supposed to rise above the masses and forgive the people who scorned him as well as forget the people who took him in during his time of need if they are in the wrong afterwards. You don't owe allegiance or vengeance to anything but your own personal morals, which is why Qiao Feng is so revered.

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tape View Post
    If by justified you mean if I would blame him for doing so, then no, judging by a common person's morals and expectations, he can do what he wants and most people couldn't rightfully criticize him without being hypocrites.

    But for being a hero of the ages, then yes, he's supposed to rise above the masses and forgive the people who scorned him as well as forget the people who took him in during his time of need if they are in the wrong afterwards. You don't owe allegiance or vengeance to anything but your own personal morals, which is why Qiao Feng is so revered.
    I guess that explains why there were so few heroes. It was not just physical prowess you needed but also saintlike virtue.

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    The question is which side does he want to be with. Civilized Song or uncivilized Barbarian Khitan? Kiu Fung made the correct decision.

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The question is which side does he want to be with. Civilized Song or uncivilized Barbarian Khitan? Kiu Fung made the correct decision.
    So you see the Song treatment of Qiao Feng as 'civilized'?

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    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    A better example of this situation is Guo Jing. His life and the life of his mother was literally saved by the Mongols, who then raised him as their own, only to have Guo Jing betray them and fight for the Song. I've never liked this part of Guo Jing. He has no reason to be loyal to Song except that it's his blood, but he never knew the place. Everything that he knows and remembers is from the Mongols. His mother told him to side with the Song, so you can say he was filial in that respect, but at the same time, according to Chinese custom, Guo Jing would have been the head of the family, and his mother would have to listen to him. Legally that's how it would be, but of course their relationship was not like that.

    But his mother was wrong to ask him to betray the people who saved his and her life and raised him as a son. The message the book sends with Guo Jing's decisions is that acts of kindness and benevolence are inconsequential in the face of blood. No matter how good someone else has been to you, blood relations always come first. Given this is a Chinese story I am not surprised, but I don't agree with it at all. The Mongols are his benefactor (恩人) and he betrayed them flat out. So I would say Guo Jing is 忘恩負義 (ungrateful, lit. forget favors/kindness and turn your back on justice).

    I'm sure it stirs nationalistic pride to have Guo Jing come back and fight for the Song, but he has no real reason to do so except for his mother's order, which was a cruel thing to do to him, to make him choose like that. He could have just stayed out of the fight altogether. I certainly don't see anything heroic about betraying the people who treated you like family all for the sake of nationalism.

    EDIT: Actually I shouldn't say this is a better example as Guo Jing's and Qiao Feng's situtation were different, but with both you can see how nationalism and the blind faith in blood leads to bad acts. Qiao Feng was treated badly just because of his blood, forget about all he has done. How could he not be justified if he wanted revenge?

    1) Qiao Feng was raised by the Song so should owe them some loyalty. But he had served them loyally all his adult life and braved many dangers in his service to them. Had he repaid his debt?


    Can one repay one's debt to family?
    Last edited by whiteskwirl; 02-16-14 at 12:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    A better example of this situation is Guo Jing. His life and the life of his mother was literally saved by the Mongols, who then raised him as their own, only to have Guo Jing betray them and fight for the Song. I've never liked this part of Guo Jing. He has no reason to be loyal to Song except that it's his blood, but he never knew the place. Everything that he knows and remembers is from the Mongols. His mother told him to side with the Song, so you can say he was filial in that respect, but at the same time, according to Chinese custom, Guo Jing would have been the head of the family, and his mother would have to listen to him. Legally that's how it would be, but of course their relationship was not like that.

    But his mother was wrong to ask him to betray the people who saved his and her life and raised him as a son. The message the book sends with Guo Jing's decisions is that acts of kindness and benevolence are inconsequential in the face of blood. No matter how good someone else has been to you, blood relations always come first. Given this is a Chinese story I am not surprised, but I don't agree with it at all. The Mongols are his benefactor (恩人) and he betrayed them flat out. So I would say Guo Jing is 忘恩負義 (ungrateful, lit. forget favors/kindness and turn your back on justice).

    I'm sure it stirs nationalistic pride to have Guo Jing come back and fight for the Song, but he has no real reason to do so except for his mother's order, which was a cruel thing to do to him, to make him choose like that. He could have just stayed out of the fight altogether. I certainly don't see anything heroic about betraying the people who treated you like family all for the sake of nationalism.

    EDIT: Actually I shouldn't say this is a better example as Guo Jing's and Qiao Feng's situtation were different, but with both you can see how nationalism and the blind faith in blood leads to bad acts. Qiao Feng was treated badly just because of his blood, forget about all he has done. How could he not be justified if he wanted revenge?

    [/FONT]
    It sort of comes down to whom was the aggressor in the conflict. Ultimately, I think Gwok Jing would side with victims of aggression against the aggressors.

    At the time, the Mongol Empire's goal was to add the Sung territories to its dominion. The Sung might have had similar interests if they had been in a position to realize it, but the Sung had been on the defensive against foreign tribes almost since their founding three-hundred years earlier. Through the regimes of Temujin, Ogodei, Mongke, and Kublai, the Sung were in the position of victims of Mongol aggression, not the other way around.

    Had the shoe been on the other foot...a powerful Sung Kingdom invading the Mongolian steppes, I think Gwok Jing would have cast ethnicity aside to help his Mongol brothers. He was "conveniently" on the Sung side only because Sung was under Mongol attack, not vice-versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    A better example of this situation is Guo Jing. His life and the life of his mother was literally saved by the Mongols, who then raised him as their own, only to have Guo Jing betray them and fight for the Song. I've never liked this part of Guo Jing. He has no reason to be loyal to Song except that it's his blood, but he never knew the place. Everything that he knows and remembers is from the Mongols. His mother told him to side with the Song, so you can say he was filial in that respect, but at the same time, according to Chinese custom, Guo Jing would have been the head of the family, and his mother would have to listen to him. Legally that's how it would be, but of course their relationship was not like that.

    But his mother was wrong to ask him to betray the people who saved his and her life and raised him as a son. The message the book sends with Guo Jing's decisions is that acts of kindness and benevolence are inconsequential in the face of blood. No matter how good someone else has been to you, blood relations always come first. Given this is a Chinese story I am not surprised, but I don't agree with it at all. The Mongols are his benefactor (恩人) and he betrayed them flat out. So I would say Guo Jing is 忘恩負義 (ungrateful, lit. forget favors/kindness and turn your back on justice).

    I'm sure it stirs nationalistic pride to have Guo Jing come back and fight for the Song, but he has no real reason to do so except for his mother's order, which was a cruel thing to do to him, to make him choose like that. He could have just stayed out of the fight altogether. I certainly don't see anything heroic about betraying the people who treated you like family all for the sake of nationalism.

    EDIT: Actually I shouldn't say this is a better example as Guo Jing's and Qiao Feng's situtation were different, but with both you can see how nationalism and the blind faith in blood leads to bad acts. Qiao Feng was treated badly just because of his blood, forget about all he has done. How could he not be justified if he wanted revenge?



    Can one repay one's debt to family? [/FONT]
    Gou Jing's situation was almost the polar opposite to Qiao Feng's.

    Strange how both characters are considered heroes when their choices were so different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It sort of comes down to whom was the aggressor in the conflict. Ultimately, I think Gwok Jing would side with victims of aggression against the aggressors.

    At the time, the Mongol Empire's goal was to add the Sung territories to its dominion. The Sung might have had similar interests if they had been in a position to realize it, but the Sung had been on the defensive against foreign tribes almost since their founding three-hundred years earlier. Through the regimes of Temujin, Ogodei, Mongke, and Kublai, the Sung were in the position of victims of Mongol aggression, not the other way around.

    Had the shoe been on the other foot...a powerful Sung Kingdom invading the Mongolian steppes, I think Gwok Jing would have cast ethnicity aside to help his Mongol brothers. He was "conveniently" on the Sung side only because Sung was under Mongol attack, not vice-versa.
    Makes you wonder what would have happened had the fictional Guo Jing been in charge of the areas of northern China controlled by the Mongols when the historical Song attacked. Of course, Genghis would have been dead by then, but then Guo Jing had never been on bad terms with Ogedei.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pannonian View Post
    Makes you wonder what would have happened had the fictional Guo Jing been in charge of the areas of northern China controlled by the Mongols when the historical Song attacked. Of course, Genghis would have been dead by then, but then Guo Jing had never been on bad terms with Ogedei.
    Interesting thought. To take it further if in GJ and QF stories if it was the Songs invading would they haver fought on the Mongol and Khitan side respectively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pannonian View Post
    Makes you wonder what would have happened had the fictional Guo Jing been in charge of the areas of northern China controlled by the Mongols when the historical Song attacked. Of course, Genghis would have been dead by then, but then Guo Jing had never been on bad terms with Ogedei.
    The Sung were poking a hornet's nest with a very short stick. The Sung took the initiative, but the Mongols held the aggressor role for the balance of the long war.

    I think that even if the Sung had taken a pacifist stance, the Mongols would have eventually attacked them anyway. The Mongols might have needed to wait longer for a good pretext for invading the Sung territories (instead of having the Sung gift-wrap and deliver one to them), but it was just a matter of time. The Mongol Empire's territorial ambitions didn't stop with the former Jin territories; they wanted as much as they could take.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    The Sung were poking a hornet's nest with a very short stick. The Sung took the initiative, but the Mongols held the aggressor role for the balance of the long war.

    I think that even if the Sung had taken a pacifist stance, the Mongols would have eventually attacked them anyway. The Mongols might have needed to wait longer for a good pretext for invading the Sung territories (instead of having the Sung gift-wrap and deliver one to them), but it was just a matter of time. The Mongol Empire's territorial ambitions didn't stop with the former Jin territories; they wanted as much as they could take.
    The Mongols justifiably get much of the historical condemnation, but sometimes the other side don't help themselves with some extremely shortsighted and frankly stupid provocateurism. The Khwarezmians were obliterated by the Mongols, but the casus belli arose when Genghis sent a trade caravan to them, which was raided by a border governor. When Genghis sent another delegation to ask for satisfaction, the Khwarezmian ruler, who had taken some of the proceeds of that raid, refused to give it, disfiguring some of the envoys and killing the rest. When you provoke a country who are rather good at warfare with that kind of stupid action, it's hard to sympathise when you're conquered in turn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It sort of comes down to whom was the aggressor in the conflict. Ultimately, I think Gwok Jing would side with victims of aggression against the aggressors.

    Had the shoe been on the other foot...a powerful Sung Kingdom invading the Mongolian steppes, I think Gwok Jing would have cast ethnicity aside to help his Mongol brothers. He was "conveniently" on the Sung side only because Sung was under Mongol attack, not vice-versa.
    When GJ made his decision in LOCH, the only factor that went through his (and mother's) head was that 'he was a Han' and that he would be 'betraying his own country'. He had no previous qualms about participating in the Mongolian conquests as long as they were not directed at 'his country' (although he was disturbed by the massacre at Samarkand). The idea of 'fighting to preserve the lives of innocents' came much later in ROCH - while a noble sentiment, it came long after his initial decision, and so smells somewhat of a post-facto justification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    When GJ made his decision in LOCH, the only factor that went through his (and mother's) head was that 'he was a Han' and that he would be 'betraying his own country'. He had no previous qualms about participating in the Mongolian conquests as long as they were not directed at 'his country' (although he was disturbed by the massacre at Samarkand). The idea of 'fighting to preserve the lives of innocents' came much later in ROCH - while a noble sentiment, it came long after his initial decision, and so smells somewhat of a post-facto justification.
    I think the change of mind/heart did not need to wait until ROCH, but began after Gwok Jing's brief "what am I doing with my life?" funk following his mother's death, and was finally resolved when he spoke with Yau Chui Gei and saw (at Mt. Hua) how his teacher, North Beggar Hung 7 Gung, chose to deal with Kau Cheen Yan. To me, the transformation of Gwok Jing's character from "patriot" to "humanitarian" culminated at that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    I think the change of mind/heart did not need to wait until ROCH, but began after Gwok Jing's brief "what am I doing with my life?" funk following his mother's death, and was finally resolved when he spoke with Yau Chui Gei and saw (at Mt. Hua) how his teacher, North Beggar Hung 7 Gung, chose to deal with Kau Cheen Yan. To me, the transformation of Gwok Jing's character from "patriot" to "humanitarian" culminated at that point.
    Guo Jing's reading of Hong Qigong's argument was that, despite him not being perfect and free from fault that would allow him to throw stones in a greenhouse (so to speak), if he did the best he could with the knowledge that he had, that was as much as he could do. That led to the practical Guo Jing that we see in ROCH. But the humanitarian Guo Jing culminated in his counter-argument to Genghis, the two pivotal characters of LOCH discussing the pivotal theme of LOCH, "What is heroism". Genghis's vision of heroism was to do ever more for his people as a monument for his life. Guo Jing countered by pointing out that we all end up in the ground, that maximising happiness and minimising unhappiness might be a better monument. The novel ends by implying that Genghis may have conceded Guo Jing's point, but it's arguable that neither sees the other as necessarily wholly wrong. Each approaches the question from a different perspective, and ends up with a different take. But to bring it back a couple of decades, I'm not sure if Guo Jing would have shared his father and Uncle Yang's vision of cleansing Song's disgrace by taking back the north. Jing Kang was the past, what mattered was the ordinary people currently living ordinary lives.

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