YJ called me this morning and asked, “What does ‘epitomize’ mean?”
“集大成, I guess?”
I wondered about the random vocab word, until I read the China Law Blog today. YJ and I usually read the CLB daily but I’d been busy the last few days and so had not had the chance to read this wonderful post and the equally delightful comments. In the post, CLB eulogizes the late President Gerald Ford:
For days I have been wanting to write something on our late President, but could not think of any way to legitimately link it to
CLB then asks the question: If Gerald Ford in some way epitomizes America, then “Who is China’s Gerald Ford?”
I once jokingly suggested Hua Guofeng, but in light of President Ford’s recent passing and the tributes pouring in from all quarters, such a comparison now seems a bit cruel. Jerry doesn’t need more jokes, after all the man outlived
The suggestions and the comments responding to Dan’s question are fascinating, everybody from Yao Ming to Sun Yatsen, it’s quite a range. I myself put in a vote for Zeng Guofan. We all seemed to suggest somebody different.
But then I thought about why this is such a difficult exercise. Dan gave some ideas as to what he feels defines an “American.” I suppose each American has their own definition, but as hard as it is to define the quintessential “American,” how does one define the quintessential “Chinese”? What does it mean to be Chinese? What are the essential characteristics?
A very bright (and committed) fellow named “Leo” and I have been having a bit of a debate regarding nationality as it pertains to Genghis Khan. If nothing else, Leo has shown me how hard it is to define what is (and was) “
I welcome any and all suggestions to this conundrum and if you haven’t already, have a read at the CLB.