Sunday, September 28, 2008

Doctor slang is a dying art

Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2003 11:18 UK

Doctor slang is a dying art

Is doctor slang on the wane?
The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.

So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples.

Medicine is a profession already overflowing with acronyms and technical terms, and doctors over the years have invented plenty of their own.

However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with abbreviations designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.

CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
GLM - Good looking Mum
GPO - Good for Parts Only
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury
The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).

Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes.

He told BBC News Online: "This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: 'To take fluids orally'."

Quaint up North

Regional dialects abound, even in the world of the medical abbreviation.

In the north of England, the TTR (Tea Time Review) of a patient is commonplace, but not in the south.

And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous.

"I can't believe what he just called me..."
From LOBNH (Lights On But Nobody Home), CNS-QNS (Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient), to the delightful term "pumpkin positive", which refers to the implication that a penlight shone into the patient's mouth would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up.

Regular visitors to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night are also classified.

DBI refers to "Dirt Bag Index", and multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed.

A PFO refers to a drunken patient who sustained injury falling over, while a PGT "Got Thumped" instead.

Digging for Worms - varicose vein surgery
Departure lounge - geriatric ward
Handbag positive - confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
Woolworth's Test - Anaesthetic term (if you can imagine patient shopping in Woolies, it's safe to give a general anaesthetic)
This is an international language - Dr Fox's research reveals that a PIMBA in Brazil can be translated as a "swollen-footed, drunk, run-over beggar".

Doctor insult

And much of the slang is directed at colleagues rather than patients.

Thus rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes "rheumaholiday", the "Freud Squad" are psychiatrists, and "Gassers" and "Slashers" are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.

Dr Fox is keen to point out that neither he, nor the other authors of the paper, published in the journal Ethics and Behavior, actually advocate using any of the terms.

He said: "It's a form of communication, and it needs to be recorded.

"It may not be around forever."

He said: "I do think that doctors are genuinely more respectful of their patients these days."

If that is the case, perhaps the delights of a "Whopper with Cheese", "Handbag positive" or "Coffin dodger" could be lost forever.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

'Car sleepers' the new US homeless

'Car sleepers' the new US homeless

By Rajesh Mirchandani
BBC News, Santa Barbara

Barbara Harvey sleeps in her car
Car sleepers are on the rise in California which has been hit hard by the housing crisis

Santa Barbara boasts a classic laidback California lifestyle, with uncongested beaches, wholesome cafes and charming Spanish-style architecture.

Of course there's a hefty price tag: nestled between the gentle Santa Ynez mountains and the inviting Pacific Ocean are multi-million dollar homes.

But in this sun-washed haven of wealth, many live far from the American dream.

In a car park across the street from luxury mansions, the evening brings a strange sight.

A few cars arrive and take up spaces in different corners. In each car, a woman, perhaps a few pets, bags of possessions and bedding.

Across the street from homes with bedrooms to spare, these are Santa Barbara's car sleepers.

Homeless within the last year, they are a direct consequence of America's housing market collapse.

In this woman-only parking lot, Bonnee, who gives only her first name, wears a smart blue dress and has a business-like demeanour.

'4x4 homes'

A year ago, she was making a healthy living as, ironically, a real estate agent. But when people stopped buying houses, her commission-based income dried up, and, like many clients, she too was unable to pay her mortgage.

Bonnee, one of Santa Barbara's car sleepers
Bonnee still works in the real estate business

Soon she found herself with nowhere to live but her 4x4.

Piles of blankets are in the back of the vehicle. Personal documents are stuffed into seat pockets. Books litter the back seat. A make-up bag and gym membership card (she washes at the gym) are in the front. With her constantly, are photos of her former life.

She can't quite believe her situation.

"My God, America's heart is bleeding," she tells me.

Tears fill her eyes.

"I know it'll get better. But it feels sad. I really fought hard."

A medium-sized 4x4 pulls into the parking lot and 66-year-old Barbara Harvey gets out.

She opens the back door and two large Golden Retrievers jump out.

Barbara begins her nightly routine. She moves a few bags from the boot to the front seat and takes out pyjamas and a carton of yoghurt (her dinner). She then arranges blankets in the back of the car.

It's not an American dream , it's an American nightmare
Nancy Kapp
Outreach worker for car sleepers

Barbara used to work in housing finance - this is the double whammy of the housing collapse where many who worked in the sector lost their jobs and their homes.

But since April, she and her dogs, Ranger and Phoebe, have spent every night in her car. It's cramped, but she says if they sleep diagonally they can all fit.

New trend?

The car park lets the car sleepers enter from 7pm, local public toilets close at dusk.

As a result, Barbara says she doesn't drink any liquids after she arrives. In the mornings, she showers at a friend's house.

Dressed in clean, comfortable clothes and wearing sunglasses, she is far removed from the stereotypical image of homelessness.

"I don't think I fit into anybody's image," she says.

"There's going to be lots of homeless individuals who are middle-class, there can't be anything but. We're in an awful mess economically. I don't think we've seen half of what's going to happen in this country."

It's hard to keep things clean. It's hard to feel complete and whole
Paige Miller

This new phenomenon of middle-class homelessness is hard to quantify, but New Beginnings, an organisation that runs the car park sleeping scheme in Santa Barbara, says they accommodate some 55 people in a dozen parking lots.

Outreach worker Nancy Kapp, once homeless herself, says there is a waiting list for car park spaces and she is getting more and more calls each day from people about to lose their homes.

She identifies it as a new breed of homeless emerging in America.

'American nightmare'

"Being poor is like this cancer, and now this cancer is filtering up to the middle-class," she says. "I don't care how strong you are, it's a breakdown of the human psyche when you start to lose everything you have."

"These people have worked their whole lives to have a house and now it's crumbling and it's in ashes and how devastating is that?" she says.

"It's not an American dream, it's an American nightmare."

California house prices fell by 30% in the year to May. Few parts of America have been hit as hard.

But national housing groups say they have seen a rise in homelessness across the US since the foreclosure crisis began last year.

Miller family
The Miller family feel "cramped" in their small mobile home

In another car park in Santa Barbara, Craig Miller, his wife Paige and their two children say they feel cramped in the small mobile home where they have been living for several months.

"It's hard to keep things clean," says Paige. "It's hard to feel complete and whole."

Originally from Florida, the family used to own a four-bedroom house with a pool. But when Craig's business failed, they lost it.

Undeterred, the family embarked on a dream to drive across America and make a new start in California. But unable to find full-time work, and unable to afford rent, as Craig puts it "we got stuck".

He says it was like a holiday at first but now it is much harder.

"Getting money for food, it's not something we've had to think about before," says Craig.

"We're definitely looking forward to getting out and getting a place. And we're working hard at getting there. This is just the journey, it's not the destination.'

As darkness falls on Santa Barbara, the car sleepers settle in for the night.

They'll have to be up early: they are not allowed to stay in the car parks beyond 7am. Some work, others spend their days driving from one spot to another.

When evening comes around again, they return to their car park homes.

In comparison to other countries, and indeed America's own long-term homeless, they are still fortunate.

But as America's economic crisis deepens, could there soon be more of them?

Teachers will also have to be university graduates from 2015

Sep 25, 2008
Single session primary schs
Teachers will also have to be university graduates from 2015
By Jane Ng
AS PART of sweeping changes to be made to all their primary schools which will move toward a single session, all new teachers will have to be university graduates from 2015.

Schools will also get more support in the form of teacher aides.

These changes will affect all 179 primary schools and will be introduced as part of a review to improve primary education to better prepare pupils for the future workforce.

Education Minister Ng Eng Hen who laid out the broad directions of the changes at the Education Ministry's annual workplan seminar on Thursday, said more could be done to inculcate lifeskills and values in the young, for instance, public speaking, teamwork and confidence.

One way is to get pupils involved in co-curricular activities right from primary school as these would help to develop leadership qualities and mould their characters.

In his address, the minister noted that space is a constraint at many primary schools.

Only 40 per cent of primary schools are single-session so they have to free up classroom space in the afternoon for activities.

But 48 per cent are partial single session, meaning Primary 1 and 2s are still in the afternoon session and another 12 per cent of primary schools have double sessions.

These schools find it challenging to conduct CCA when they have to keep noise levels down because other pupils are having lessons. The lack of space also means they have limited time to use a classroom as they have to give way to another class for lessons.

So all schools will move towards having just one session, with the time frame to be announced at a later date.

From 2015, all new teachers will have to be graduates. This is in line with the expansion of university places to 30 per cent of each cohort by then.

MOE now recruits teachers from the top 30 per cent of each cohort.

The proportion of graduates has increased over the last few years, and some teachers have also got their degrees in-service.

Currently, 55 per cent of primary school teachers and 91 per cent of secondary school teachers are graduates.

Dr Ng cited high-performing education systems around the world, which have teachers with high qualifications.

For example, countries like Korea, Britain and the United States require their teachers to be graduates while all teachers in Finland are required to possess a Master's degree.

'Our move towards recruiting graduates as new teachers is appropriate as the educational levels of the population have been rising over the years. There are higher expectations - both from parents and our desired outcomes of education, which are better met by graduate teachers,' he said.

But he also reassured non-graduate teachers that they will continue to be valued, with assessment based on performance and not their educational level.

To ensure that students have the financial means to take part in CCAs or other enrichment activities, MOE will add $11 million to increase the contribution to pupils' Edusave accounts - from the current $180 to $200 per year for primary pupils and $220 to $240 for secondary students next year.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can forgetful people now relax?

Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 10:36 UK

Can forgetful people now relax?

Scan of the human brain

By Susan Blackmore
Presenter, Remember Remember

Names, phone numbers, directions - it can be a struggle to remember. Digital technology could soon make forgetfulness a thing of the past, but do we really want that?

It's a lively party. You see someone you know, you rush up to say hello and you can't remember their name. It's a common social faux pas, but help could soon be at hand.

Just as glasses and hearing aids are now commonplace, scientists are working on day-to-day digital devices to help us remember, with some taking inspiration from ancient times.

Remember Remember was on BBC Radio 3 on 21 September at 2130 BST
Catch up with the BBC iPlayer

"The nomenclator was in Roman times the person who went round telling the senator who they were meeting," says Wendy Hall, a professor of computer science at Southampton University.

"We think that quite soon we'll be able to develop a technology, like some combination of hearing aid and glasses, that will actually enable you to remember.

"We really think within the next five to 10 years you'll be able to be helped by memory aids."

Most of us already outsource our memories to electronic devices. Our mobiles remember phone numbers for us, and satnavs and GPS systems do the same for directions.


Engineer Lyndsay Williams decided to try and take things further when she started to regularly find a forgetful family member's missing mobile phone in the washing machine.

The Sensecam takes pictures every 30 seconds

At the time she was working for Microsoft Research in Cambridge, where she developed the SenseCam - a small digital camera to be worn around the neck. It takes pictures every 30 seconds, or when it detects a change in light or heat. At the end of the day you can review all the pictures - perhaps 2,000 shots - in a few minutes.

While reviewing the photos taken after a short walk around a science park in Cambridge, I remembered everything I'd thought about during the stroll - thoughts I might have forgotten if I'd never checked back.

Microsoft isn't planning to market the SenseCam, but researchers say it can provide real help for people who suffer from Alzheimer's or severe memory loss.

For many their most precious memories are of their children growing up, but one couple is taking this to extremes.

Speech scientist Deb Roy, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his wife are recording all the speech uttered in their home during the first three years of their son's life. High-quality microphones and video cameras are installed in the ceiling of every room.

"We have a total of somewhere in the order of 200,000 hours of audio and video," Professor Roy says.

The aim is study exactly what a child hears as he learns to speak. Along the way this "ultimate home video system" has provided some interesting surprises.

He recently looked up some video of his son's first steps, an occasion he thinks he can vividly recall.

"It was in the morning, it was in the hallway, I was with my wife and it was a special moment."

But when he looked at the video he found it had actually happened in the evening. What's more, his wife was away and he had shouted out to his mother instead.

"That memory error didn't impress my wife nor my mother," he says.

Total recall

The lure of all these burgeoning memory aids is that they might free up our minds to do other things, or help us relax because we know we have our precious memories stored.

Would you be stuck if it broke?

But is being able to remember more always a good thing? Professor Jim McGaugh, of the University of California at Irvine, has his doubts.

He has studied three rare people with what he calls "hyperthymestic syndrome" - an uncanny ability to remember what happened on every day of their adult life. Among them is Jill Price.

"If I ask her what happened on 12 May, 1993, she'll say first of all the day of the week and then she'll say something of what she did that day. If there was a significant public event - a plane crash, a train crash, a war - she'd be able to give the details."

But none of these people has benefited greatly from their ability. Indeed, rather the reverse in Ms Price's case.

"If she thinks of the date today, then she'll think of the date last year and the year before and the year before," he says. "Then she'll come across a day in which something terrible happened and that's very disturbing to her."

Like some of these digital devices, Jill's amazing memory means she is deficient in an underrated human skill - forgetting.

What does the Bible actually say about being gay?

Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October 2003, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
What does the Bible actually say about being gay?
Confused how two groups of church-goers can have such conflicting views about whether it's OK to be gay?

Both sides of the debate about homosexuality in the church, which threatens to split the worldwide Anglican church, hold their views sincerely and after much study. So how can their views be so contradictory?

The Bible makes very few mentions of homosexuality - lesbianism isn't mentioned at all in the Old Testament - and as the examples below show, interpretations of the verses that do exist differ hugely.

Following each of the verses below is a brief illustration of what a hardline pro- and anti-gay position might be. (Most Christians hold views somewhere in between these two stances.)

An illustration of the division can be seen by what either side might say about the friendship in the Old Testament between David and Jonathan. One verse reads: "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; dear and delightful you were to me; your love for me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women."

A pro-gay position might be that this is a clear indication that King David had a gay relationship, and to pretend otherwise is naive.
An anti-gay opinion might be that the friendship between the two men was exactly that - a very close and loyal allegiance.

Similarly, the tale of Sodom is often debated. In it, Lot has two angels staying in his house. The men of Sodom surrounded the house. "They called to Lot and asked him where the men were who had entered his house that night. 'Bring them out,' they shouted, 'so that we might have intercourse with them.'"

To protect his visitors from an act which Lot describes as "wicked", he offers the crowd his two virgin daughters instead. The crowd are not satisfied and break the door down - the angels then make the intruders blind and Sodom is eventually destroyed by "fire and brimstone".

An anti-gay argument might say this story demonstrates the immorality of homosexuality, as has been accepted for generations, hence the term sodomy. Elsewhere in Genesis, God says of the men: "Their sin is very grave." It's an example of behaviour degenerating.
Of course the men's behaviour was wicked, but it was wicked because it's a tale of sexual assault and rape. When Jesus mentions Sodom, hundreds of years later, it appears to be in a context of a discussion of hospitality, rather than one of sexual morality.

There are several verses in the Bible which are similarly contested - there are however a much smaller number of seemingly clear statements. The most famous of them is probably from Leviticus: "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination."

An anti-gay position would be that this line is unambiguous. It is also repeated elsewhere in the book. The speaker of the words is God, so this is an explicit indication that homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes. It was one of the sins that justified God in giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites
A pro-gay argument might say that other verses in the same book forbid a wide range of sexual activities, including having sex with a woman who is having her period. This is an indication that the passage embodies specific cultural values rather than God's law.

There is some debate about how relevant rules in the Old Testament are to Christians. Some would say they are binding, since Jesus said he did not come to abolish the old laws. Others would say that Jesus set Christians free from the old laws, highlighting instead that people should love God and their neighbour.

Jesus himself says nothing explicitly about homosexuality. There are though two statements by him which have been interpreted as having a bearing on the subject.

"[A] man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh."

This indicates Jesus saw heterosexual relations as the proper way of behaving.
Jesus is actually talking about the sanctity of heterosexual marriage

Later in the same conversation, after Jesus has spoken about divorce, the disciples say to him it is better not to marry at all. Jesus says: "That is something which not everyone can accept, but only those for whom God has appointed it. For while some are incapable of marriage because they were born so, or made so by men, there are others who have themselves renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let those accept it who can."

This shows that Jesus is more concerned with people looking after their own relationship with God, than with enforcement of rules. The reference to being "born so" indicates that heterosexual marriage is fine for those who are heterosexual, but it's OK to be different. Again and again Jesus reaches out to those on the margins of society, like prostitutes and tax collectors, to include them.
Jesus here is actually talking about people who were born incapable of having children, or people who were castrated - not about gays. He is actually saying that marriage and chastity are both within God's purpose. Jesus does appeal to the sinners, but once he has called them, he tells them to go and sin no more.

The letters of St Paul provide the other traditional support for the position that homosexuality is sinful. He writes: "God has given [people who worship false gods] up to shameful passions. Their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and their men in turn, giving up natural relations with women burn with lust for one another; males behave indecently with males and paid in their own persons the fitting wage of such perversion."

Paul later writes: "Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolator, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers of drunkards of slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God."

A pro-gay position might be that the word Paul uses for homosexual here could alternatively be translated as "male prostitute". In any case, Paul's writings are clearly of his time, and there are plenty of other verses which people have no difficulty in ignoring - for instance: "a woman brings shame on her head if she prays or prophesies bare-headed; it is as bad as if her head were shaved." This should be viewed like that.
Anti-gay argument might say this line is crystal clear in establishing that Christianity and homosexuality are incompatible. Paul is actually quite clearly referring to homosexual behaviour, and includes lesbianism. You can't just pretend that St Paul, who did so much to influence our understanding of Jesus, didn't know what he was talking about. He's clear that homosexuality is an offence against God and against people's own bodies.

Part of the reason the views diverge so much is because Christians think of the Bible differently. Some see it as literally the word of God, divine inspiration which humans should not question. Others see it rather as a book which is a witness to God's message, but one which was written by humans and thus has flaws.

Trying to find common ground between the two positions is no simple matter - one of the reasons that Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is having such a tricky job keeping everyone on board.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Party mum blames son, 6, after toddler dies

Party mum blames son, 6, after toddler dies
SAITAMA (Japan): A mother was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday for the death of one of her two-year-old twins and the severe dehydration of the other. She had left them in the care of their six-year-old stepbrother while she partied with her boyfriend.

Megumi Shimamura, 30, of Misato, Saitama Prefecture, blamed her son for the death of his brother in her 11-day absence, according to the Saitama District Court, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Judge Yujiro Nakatani chided Shimamura, saying 'such a heartless and inhumane crime makes one doubt (your) self-awareness, affection and humanity as a parent'.

Shimamura, who is unemployed, left her house on March 3 because she wanted a break from child-rearing and to hang out with her boyfriend, according to the Asahi.

Her mother apparently gave Shimamura the money she needed to keep herself and her three young children alive, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Shimamura reportedly told her six-year-old son: 'I will not return so take care of things.'

He called Shimamura's mobile phone several dozen times a day but was largely ignored, the Asahi said.

Shimamura left hamburgers, bread, cookies and other food at the entrance of the house once or twice a day.

But the food was not enough for the three children, according to the court.

On March 12, the six-year-old called Shimamura to say his brother would not wake up.

She returned to the house but did not have the courage to enter it. Instead, she went to a pub and got drunk.

The next day, her son called her again, saying: 'He still won't wake up.'

On March 14, Shimamura returned home and found the two-year-old boy dead in a crib covered in garbage and faeces, Asahi reported.

She slapped the older boy's face and said: 'You are disqualified as my child. Though I'm responsible, you are also responsible. You must have eaten all the food by yourself.'

The two-year-old starved to death on March 12, according to the court.

The six-year-old told prosecutors: 'Mum told me I was fired because I didn't take care of the twins. It's all my fault.'

'Bloggers 13' want near free-for-all

Sep 4, 2008
'Bloggers 13' want near free-for-all
Their verdict on new-media proposals: Advisory council's approach overly cautious
By Jeremy Au Yong
'Bloggers 13' members (from left) Ng E-Jay, Alex Au and Choo Zheng Xi giving their feedback on proposals for regulating the Net. The group welcomed some 'good, forward-looking options' but expressed reservations too. -- ST PHOTO: FRANCIS ONG
GOOD, but not good enough.

That was the verdict yesterday of a group of bloggers on a list of proposals a Government-sponsored panel had put up for managing new media.

It has some 'good, forward-looking options' but the approach was overly-cautious, said the group which calls itself 'The Bloggers 13'.

They had, in April this year, handed their list of suggestions on Internet freedom to the Government, to pre-empt the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (Aims).

The council released its consultation paper last Friday and is now seeking public feedback on its proposals.

But when three members of the group - Mr Alex Au, Mr Choo Zheng Xi and Mr Ng E-Jay - met reporters yesterday, their responses were only on the political changes. They want a near free-for-all approach towards online political content.

In fact, for every Aims suggestion that called for a relaxing of restrictions, the bloggers went one-up and asked for the law to be removed completely.

Where the panel gave three ideas for easing the ban on party political films, the bloggers wanted an unconditional repeal of Section 33 of the Films Act.

In fact, they also wanted Section 35 of the Films Act to go, a move that would render the Government powerless to ban any film contrary to public interest.

The panel had also urged that more activities be allowed for online election advertising. But the bloggers asked if such a list is even necessary.

Similarly, they disagreed with Aims' suggestion that political bloggers be exempted from registering under the Class License Scheme. They want it dumped altogether.

The scheme requires all who deal with political material or religious issues online to register with the Media Development Authority.

In addition, it treats all websites as automatically licensed, meaning their owners must adhere to a prescribed code of conduct. For instance, the code prohibits the posting of pornographic material.

The bloggers argue that existing laws adequately deal with pornography or racial and religious hate-mongering without the need for such a scheme.

The only suggestion they agreed with is the lifting of the ban on 100 websites. Aims believes that once its proposals for the protection of minors are in place, the list becomes unnecessary.

Mr Choo explained the bloggers' decision to ignore the sections about protection of minors, immunity for intermediaries and Government engagement.

'In terms of substantive legislation this is probably where we feel we can most contribute to,' said the 22-year-old law undergraduate.

When his group gave their suggestions to the Government, they were concerned that the Aims study would focus too much on the views of experts.

Asked if they now felt their move was justified, Mr Au said: 'What is important is that they (Aims) have come up with something that is quite substantive.'

There is very little to fault in its background analysis, he added.

People keen on giving their feedback can attend a forum on Sept 19. Its details will be available at



[郑永年] (2008-09-02)

不管是奥运会的开幕式还是闭幕式,或是奥运会期间中国人表现出来的那种“有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎?”的态度,都从不同层面和角度传达出了这样一个信 息,那就是经历了世纪之久的文明悲观论之后,中国人再次寻回了文明的自信和文化的自信。较之其他任何东西,这种文明自信对中国今后的内政外交都会有更为持 续的具有冲击性的影响力。










  从上世纪初的“五四运动”到1989年的电视剧《河殇》,都典型地表现出这种不自信。相反,在很长时间里,中国人的自信来自反文明,就 是批判和反对自己的文明,相信只有去除了原有的文明,中国才会发展出新的文明来。在很大程度上说,文明悲观论是中国近代历史的一条主线,尤其是在知识分子 群体中间。










  在经验层面,近代以来很多中国人与其说是对文明的不自信,还不如说是对政治的不自信。很多人是由政治上的不自信最终转变成为对文明的不 自信。正因为这样,中国知识群体对政治的批评总是通过对文明的批评表现出来的。这一点从五四运动到改革开放后的《河殇》并没有实质性的改革。







·作者是国立大学东亚研究所所长 文章仅代表个人观点