“夫以銅為鏡，可以正衣冠；以古為鏡，可以知興替；以人為鏡，可以知得失” ― 唐太宗
“Using bronze as a mirror, we can adjust our attires; using bygones as a mirror, we can understand why dynasties rise and fall; using people as a mirror, we can know our strengths and shortcomings.” ― Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty
“Loss of data distorts ancient history; partisanship distorts modern history.”
B.A. (summa cum laude), Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, USA
Fields of interest
Current research / scholarly activity
In case you would like to know more about me…
My primary research interests include the life and career of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist Movement, and China’s role in the Second World War.
I enjoy teaching history, especially that of the modern world and modern China, from a non-Western perspective. Of all genres of history, I particularly enjoy military and political history. History, I believe, has always been the epitaph for the rich and powerful, and will continue to be so.
In addition to written history, I also enjoy history on film. Although history films may not be historically faithful to the original events, they nonetheless offer a different take on the interpretation of our past and many of them are quite entertaining. Some of my favorite history films include: The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951), The Longest Day (1962), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Great Escape (1963), Battle of the Bulge (1965), Is Paris Burning? (1966), Blue Max (1966), The Night of the Generals (1967), The Bridge at Remagen (1969), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Cross of Iron (1977), and Das Boot (1981).
Lawrence of Arabia, one of the greatest epic films of all time, is based on the life of British Lieutenant-Colonel T. E. Lawrence. Not only it sports a terrific storyline, it also features awesome soundtrack music by the French composer Maurice Jarre. By the way, do you know the theme from The Longest Day was written by a Canadian of Lebanese descent?
Of course, there are always mediocre history films, and one of them is the 1963 film 55 Days at Peking, Hollywood’s version of the Boxer Rebellion in China, 1900-1901. The film was shot in Spain, where not many Chinese live. And that created a major problem as thousands of Chinese extras were needed for the shooting of the film. In case you are wondering why the film was not shot in Mainland China where Chinese are plentiful, Mainland China, under Communist rule at the time and still is today, was completely cut off from the Western world in the wake of the disastrous Great Leap Forward Movement.
Eventually, enough Chinese extras were brought in from all over Spain so the filming could begin. This was bad news for lovers of Chinese food in that country. For several months during the filming, one was hard pressed to find a Chinese restaurant open for business when the entire restaurant staff was away for the filming.
Speaking of Spain as the filming site of 55 Days at Peking, the country is also the place where many Spaghetti Westerns were filmed, including, for example, the Dollars Trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). The Dollars Trilogy catapulted a young Clint Eastwood to international stardom. The rest, as people say, is history.