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QIAN, Zhongshu



Fortress besieged

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I just wish I could invent a fresh and fleeting expression that only I could say, and only you could hear, so that after I’ve spoken it and you’ve heard it, it would vanish and in the past, present or future there would never be another man using the same expression to another woman. I’m so sorry that to you who are without equal in the whole world, I can only use clichés which have been worked to death for thousands of years to express my feelings. …

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Kao Sung-nien was an old science scholar. The word ’old’ here is quite bothersome. It could describe science or it could just as well be describing a scientist. Unfortunately there is a world of difference between a scientist and science. A scientist is like wine. The older he gets, the more valuable he is, while science is like a woman. When she gets old she’s worthless. Once Mandarin grammar reaches its full development, the time will come when ‘old science scholar’ can be clearly distinguished from ‘scholar of old science’, or one will say ‘science old scholar’ or ‘old science scholar’. But as it’s still too early for that yet, a general term of reference will have to do in the meantime.

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Man was created to be lonely. Each one has to keep to himself and never have anything to do with anyone else to his dying day.

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