Tribute to Dr. Luo Xiwen (罗希文)
January 07, 2015
I am saddened today to learn about the death of my friend Dr. Luo Xiwen 罗希文.
Dr. Luo was my director for several years beginning in 1993 at the English Department of the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. It was actually Dr. Luo who introduced me to Sun Dawu in 2002.
I belatedly learned of his death. He died on July 27, 2012. Shortly thereafter, I was researching the medical works of Sun Simiao who is honored through a temple at Dawu village. I was curious to see if Luo Xiwen had translated the Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang which was written during the Tang Dynasty in 682 AD and consisted of 30 volumes. I was shocked to learn that Dr. Luo had died in the midst of translating it.
Dr. Luo was the foremost translator of Chinese medical classics into English. Actually, the medical classics represent about one-half of the total number of all Chinese classics. He is best known for his translation of the Compendium of Materia Medica which took him ten years to translate. However, this classic was just a part of the more than 25 million words he has translated.
At the beginning of the 21st century Dr. Luo visited me in South Korea. Of course, it was mainly in regard to translation. He was promoting the translation of a Chinese medical classic in that country.
He personally gave me copies of two of his books which I dutifully read. These were the Treatise on Febrile Caused by Cold (Shang Han Lun) and Treatise on Febrile Caused by Cold with 500 Cases which relied upon Zhang Zhongjing interpretation. They gave me a better understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Dawu Group and Red Deer College
In 2002, I flew in from Dalian at the request of Dr. Luo. Earlier, he had met Sun Dawu at a philosophical conference. Sun had asked him to establish a college at the village. Dr. Luo was to be the President and the author was to be the Dean.
In 2002, I flew in to Beijing from Dalian at the request of Dr. Luo. Earlier, a a philosophical conference, he had met Sun Dawu who had asked him to establish a college at the village. Dr. Luo was to have been the President and I was to have been the Dean. The author then assessed possible co-operative arrangements from all over the world. He settled on Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada.
The author then invited officials at this college to China. They were impressed with the educational infrastructure at that time which included a private middle school and a trade school which had accepted agricultural students from Africa. Dr. Luo, Sun Dawu and I met these officials and began negotiations in Beijing. At Dawu village an agreement was signed between Dawu Group and Red Deer College to establish Red Deer Dawu College. Sun Dawu made an additional commitment to build a library. Officials of the Canadian Embassy visited the site and approved of the arrangement and facilities.
Next, we went to Agriculture University in Beijing at the instigation of Sun Dawu where we signed a co-operative agreement. Then, we signed a reciprocal agreement with a college in Japan to train nannies which I believe was initiated by Dr. Luo. The author then recruited Professor Kretschmer of the Graduate School of CASS and an Australian teacher from Dalian who was fluent in Japanese.
At that point, the author returned to Dalian. He successfully negotiated an agreement between a four star hotel and Dawu Group in terms of hotel management. Students would receive classroom training at Dawu and hands-on training at the hotel.
I returned to Beijing to teach at the Graduate School where Dr. Luo lived and also the International Economics University. The SARS crisis was in full swing at this time. Almost all foreigners had left Beijing.
There was a palpable fear in the eyes of Beijing residents during the crisis. I bought a subway ticket from the attendant who was wearing mask and gloves. She was fearful to even handle my payment for the fare. I sat on the normally packed subway train with only one other person who looked away. In the streets I met a few people who actually clapped their hands when they saw a foreigner who had not left.
At this point classes were still running. The cleaners though were spraying vinegar on the floors and wiping handrails to ward off the disease. Every day, I would lose a student who was fearful or whose parents were fearful. I told them there was nothing to fear. I would continue to teach even if there was only one student. Shortly, the Graduate School locked its gates. All students who were in were in and all students who were without were without. The International Economics University closed its doors, too.
Across the road from our apartments was a restaurant. It was emptied by the government and converted into a hospital. SARS patients were brought to that location from all over Beijing.
I met Luo Xiwen in the courtyard of his apartment building. We agreed that I would go on to Dawu village to finalize preparations for the September start of the college. (By the way, by the time September had arrived the SARS crisis was over in Beijing and Hebei and classes were open). I arrived at the village in the final part of May 2003. I had to take a battery of medical tests to enter. The middle school students could not leave this school either.
I also prepared for the arrival of our visitor. In Beijing, I had met a former student of the Youth Communist League. He would visit the village with his wife. We were to negotiate a contract between the new college and the private middle schools of his uncle in Shangxi and Mongolia Provinces.
Shortly, thereafter, Sun Dawu was arrested. He had been invited to dinner by officials on a false pretext. The charges involved the grey area of banking. Personally speaking though, I think he was arrested because he spoke publicly too much about things they wanted to remain private. He was also arrested I believe because local officials did not wish to see a co-operative college established at Dawu village. Finally, he was arrested because local officials were concerned about the possible response of the peasant farmers to the SARS crisis.
Dr. Luo and I met on and off after that time. He would take a few minutes from his task of translation to meet an old friend. Dr. Luo was a remarkable man. I believe that he should be posthumously nominated for a Nobel Prize in the field of peace or medicine for his lifetime translation of the Chinese medical classics which he has brought to the world.
D. Carlton Rossi
January 07, 2015
Luo Xiwen: He introduced Traditional Chinese Medicine to the World
At 22:55 on July 27th, 2012, known as "the first English translation of Chinese classics whole person" Mr. Luo Xiwen died of illness in Beijing at the age of 67 years old. Xiwen Luo has many identities: Chinese famous Chinese classics into English studies and expert honor CASS academician, researcher at the CASS Institute of Philosophy, History of Chinese Philosophy, president of the Professional Committee of Chinese Medicine philosophy and so on. However, these identities Xiwen Luo, the most important identity should be to build a bridge between the traditional Chinese medicine introduced to the modern world, man.
CASS Institutue of Philosophy
I have dedicated my latest I’mage poem of The Elegant Celestial Giza Series to Luo Xiwen.
It is titled 罗希文 优雅的天体金字塔 which can be translated as Luo Xiwen: The Elegant Celestial Pyramids.
It is conjectured by the poet that the perceived distance between the two pole stars (Draconis 11 and 10) at the centre as seen by Egyptians in 3000 B.C.E. on a similar celestial map determined the heights of the Khufu and Khafre pyramids at Giza. This I'mage portrays the Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure pyramids.
罗希文 优雅的天体金字塔 D. Carlton Rossi (copyright 2015-2022)
Luo Xiwen: The Elegant Celestial Pyramids
Note: the I'mage are PERCEPTIONS and not projections.
LI Pei 李佩
Today, I remember and pay homage to my former director at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (中国科学院). Her name is LI Pei 李佩 (December 20, 1917 – January 12, 2017). In a sense, she reminded me of my grandmother who weathered many adversities. Both instilled strength in me.
LI Pei was a director of the English Department at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). She founded TESL in China ie. Teaching English as a Second Language.
I remember the first time I talked to her in 1992. She phoned me at midnight in Canada from Zhongguancun in Beijing. I had been studying Japanese for six months in preparation for work in Kyoda, Japan. However, she convinced me to teach at CAS in Beijing. I began teaching master level students in Haidian District at Academia Sinica (中央硏究院). In four months, I was promoted to teach doctoral students at the science institutes of CAS (国科学院) in Zhongguancun (中关村) or what was known as the Silicon Valley of China. Today, Shenzhen is trying to make a claim to the designation "Silicon Valley of China".
I also had the honour of visiting her many times at the "building". It housed the cream of Chinese scientists. It was designated 13, building 14, No.15 Zhongguancun Keyuan community. Her husband had lived there, too. He was GUO Yonghuai 郭永怀 (April 04, 1909 - December 5, 1968). His field was aerodynamics. He died rather mysteriously in a plane crash during the Cultural Revolution as he approached Beijing International Airport. Guo was one of three scientists who developed China's first atomic bomb. He was awarded postumously Two bombs and One Satellite Achievement Medal in 1999.
Later, I went over to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) 中国科学院
in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. I taught master and doctoral level students in the afternoon. Again, I got a call from LI Pei. She wanted me to teach 300 students at CAS in the morning. Basically, I told her it was impossible because I was teaching various classes for a total of 300 students at CASS. However, one can't say no to LI Pei whom I regarded as my friend. I bicycled across Beijing to CAS in the morning to teach an auditorium full of 300 doctoral students and back again to teach classes at CASS in the afternoon under the direction of LUO Xiwen 罗锡文 who was the foremost translator of the Chinese medical classics.
One of my fondest memories was as a dinner guest of LI Pei. I was finishing up my meal and LI Pei commented on how I left some rice on my plate. Now my mother had said the same thing to me about not leaving vegetables on my plate because people were starving in China, but China was very far away to me as a five year old. My director explained to me that times were tough during the Cultural Revolution and every grain of rice counted. That's how I learned the skill to pick up a single grain of rice using chopsticks with either hand--not much an accomplishment compared to the accomplishments of LI Pai and GUO Yonghuai.
D. Carlton Rossi
January 06, 2022