Essays of Lim Boon Keng on Confucianism


Lim Boon Keng/Yan Chunbao
2015 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
Softcover, 23cm x 15cm, 259 pages
ISBN 9789814472784

Product Description

This book is a compilation of articles by Dr Lim Boon Keng, published from 1904 to 1917, and is the most representative of Dr Lim’s thoughts on Confucianism. Dr Lim was an outstanding thinker and an authority on Confucian history of Singapore. His approach towards Confucianism was as unique then as it is now, as it melded both the former with Christianity. Written in a simple and accessible manner in English and Chinese, this book will be of interest to anyone interested in knowing more about Confucianism. Incidentally, this book is the first bilingual version on Dr Lim Boon Keng’s thoughts on Confucianism.

Confucianism is full of human feelings with universal values. The idea of “self-cultivation, keep ones’ family in order, run the country well and peace will prevail” that is advocated by Confucianism is not only the code of conduct to cultivate one’s good moral character, it is also the cornerstone of domestic peace and racial harmony. Moreover, it is the guiding ideology on national education and developing patriotism. As this book’s translator Yan Chubao puts it, “I really hope the publication of this book can let us deeply cherish and pay tribute to Dr. Lim’s great contribution to the development of Confucianism. Furthermore, I also hope that with the help of this book, more people can better understand Confucianism. In addition, I earnestly hope the younger generations of Singaporeans who have strayed from traditional Chinese culture will retum to the fine traditions of Confucian through this book—whether by reading the graceful original English edition of Dr. Lim or by reading my translation, though it is not perfect.”

Dr. Lim’s main purpose in writing these articles was to introduce and infuse Confucian culture into those Babas who received English education in order to get them to come back to Confucian tradition again, as well as to introduce it to the ‘westerners’. Dr. Lim himself did not directly bring out the situation of Babas at that time. However, Professor Wolfgang Franke, a famous Sinologist who came from Germany and was appointed as a Visiting Professor in the University of Malaya for a long time, gave an insightful footnote to this problem: “The biggest shortcoming of Chinese people only receiving English education was that Chinese traditional culture was uprooted. Even if they received more than 13 years of English education, the education was still superficial. Only a handful of excellent students could thoroughly grasped the basic values of the western culture so as to replace their long lost Chinese culture. Unfortunately, most Chinese people were satisfied with their superficial English education because of job security which would lead to a comfortable life. Some of them might even become professionals—White Collars. Hence, not only were they proud of their English education, on the contrary, they despised those people who were Chinese educated. This kind of attitude and thought was caused by the Colonial era. However, these Chinese people who lived in the materialistic world lacked a stable culture and ethical standards. Even Malays had the Islam tradition as their humanity and morality foundation. However, some Chinese who received English education only knew the value of money. …Though they looked Chinese physically, however, culturally and spiritually, we could see that they were neither Chinese, Englishman, Indian nor Malays. Maybe they did not understand who really they were! …What seemed strange, however, was that many scholars did not realize the consequences of local Chinese people who were deprived of Chinese culture by receiving purely English education.”

About the author of Essays of Lim Boon Keng on Confucianism

Lim Boon Keng (1869–1957) studied at the University of Edinburgh, and upon returning to Singapore, passionately promoted Confucianism among his peers and even elevated it to a religion. Lim was a Straits-born ”Baba”,  someone who belonged to a cultural heritage totally different from Chinese culture. But he promoted Confucianism not because of ethnic nationalism or because he was discriminated against by the British; he did so because of  a self-conscious journey—through difficult Chinese classics such as Zuozhuan  (Commentary on History by Zuo) that he elegantly translated—in search of his Chinese cultural roots.

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Table of Contents

  • Confucian Cosmogony and Theism
  • 儒家的天道观
  • Confucian View of Human Nature
  • 儒家的人性观
  • The Basis of Confucian Ethics
  • 儒家的伦理基础
  • The Confucian Code of Filial Piety
  • 儒家的孝道观
  • The Confucian Cult
  • 儒家的祭拜仪式
  • The Confucian Ideal
  • 儒家的理想
  • The Confucian Doctrine of Brotherly Love
  • 儒家的兄弟观
  • The Status of Women Under a Confucian Regime
  • 儒家社会中妇女的身份地位
  • The Confucian Code of Conjugal Harmony
  • 儒家的婚姻观
  • The Confucian Ethics of Friendship
  • 儒家的交友之道
  • The Great War From the Confucian Point of View
  • 从儒家的观点和立场看世界大战

Additional Information

Weight 500 g
Dimensions 23 x 15 x 1.5 cm