Monday, November 29, 2010

Between Scylla and Charybdis

According to Ovid (tr. Gregory):
Even brave sailors fear rock-caved Charybdis
Who drinks the waves, vomits them out again,

And Scylla with her barking dogs around her
Churning the waves that circle Sicily.
“Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim!”. In 'The Odyssey' Homer describes Skylla, or Scylla, as a barking-mad monstrous goddess who together with the whirlpool daemon Charybdis makes life hell for sailors and their ships in the Strait of Messina (between Sicily and Calabria, Italy). Any ship sailing too close to the sharp-toothed Skylla would lose six sailors, one for each of her six heads, whereas anyone sailing near Charybdis, who lives on the other side of the narrow strait, would risk being ship wrecked in her rough waters.

Thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother (Merchant of Venice Act III, Sc. V)

Pronunciation

First, let's deal with the pronunciation of the two words. The sc in Scylla is pronounced like the s in sit, sip and set, while the following y is like the i in it, is and hit. The final a is like the a in china. The main stress is on the first syllable. The ch in Charybdis is pronounced like the k in kit, kill and kiss. The following a is like the a in china, while the y and the final i are like the i in kit, pit and sit. The main stress is on the second syllable.


Scylla and Charybdis are two rocks located in a narrow sea passage in the Straits of Messina. Scylla is located on the Italian side, while Charybdis is on the Sicilian side.

In ancient Greek mythology, Scylla was a female monster with twelve feet and six heads. She had razor sharp teeth and was capable of ripping apart sailors who had the misfortune of coming too close to her. Charybdis was a whirlpool. It was seen as a monster, which gulped down huge amounts of water and in the process sucked in sailors who accidentally got close to it.
When Ulysses tried to make his way through this narrow passageway, Scylla managed to kill six of his sailors. When you say you are between Scylla and Charybdis what you are implying is that you are between the devil and the deep blue sea. You are being threatened by two dangers at the same time and in trying to avoid one you fall victim to the other.

The two dangers are often seen as representing life. Trying to avoid one mistake, we often end up making another.

Possibly related to 'between the Devil and the deep blue sea'.
The first recorded citation of 'the Devil and the deep sea' in print is in Robert Monro's His expedition with the worthy Scots regiment called Mac-keyes, 1637:
"I, with my partie, did lie on our poste, as betwixt the devill and the deep sea."

The Merchant of Venice



Shylock
– a rich Jew, father of Jessica
Antonio - a merchant of Venice;
Bassanio – Antonio's friend, in love with Portia
Portia – a rich heiress
Gratiano – friend of Antonio and Bassanio;
Nerissa – Portia's waiting-maid



  • Antonio a generous Christian merchant gives interest free loans
  • Shylock mean and stingy Jewish money lender has intense dislike of Antonio
  • Bassanio has no money but wants to marry Portia the rich heiress
  • Bassanio asks Antonio for a lend of some money
  • Antonio has all his money tied up in a shipment
  • Antonio asks Shlyock for a lend of the money for Bassanio
  • Shylock sees an opportunity to get at Antonio
  • Shylock offers to lend Antonio the money and for a 'sport' Antonio can put up a pound of flesh as collateral, so if he cannot pay he has to have a pound of his flesh cut off his body.
  • Antonio's ships are lost, Shylock demands his pound of flesh.
  • Antonio is prepared to give up his pound of flesh.
  • Portia hears about what has happened and disguises herself as a lawyer (a man) to argue against Shylock.
  • Portia (in disguise) points out that Shylock must not spill a drop of blood, or take 1oz of flesh more or less than is what is in the contract, on pain of death.
  • Shylock is forced to pay compensation
  • Bassiano is very grateful to Portia and asks her (him) how he can repay him
  • Portia (in disguise) asks Bassiano for the ring which Portia has given him
  • Bassiano does not want to give it but feels he must because of his obligation
  • Nerissa (in disguise) asks Gratiano her husband (Bassiano's friend) to also give up the ring Nerissa has given her and Grantiano obliges, wanting to seem as grateful as Bassiano
  • Portia and Nerissa later have fun teasing Bassiano and Gratiano
Quotes

Act. v. Sc. I
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!

Act II, Sc. VI
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit.

Act I, Sc. I
Why should a man whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?

Act. v. Sc. I
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Act I, Sc. III
Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness.

Act I, Sc. III
My meaning in saying he is a good man, is to have you understand me that he is sufficient.

Act III, Sc. I
The villany you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard, but I will better the instruction.

Act III, Sc. I
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?

Act I, Sc. III
Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves.

Act I, Sc. II
When he is best, he is a little worse than a man; and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

Act III, Sc. II
An unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn.

Act III, Sc. II
Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply.

Act I, Sc. I
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
A stage, where every man must play a part;
And mine a sad one.

Act III, Sc. II
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But being season'd with a gracious voice
Obscures the show of evil?

Act IV, Sc. I
Speak me fair in death.

Act IV, Sc. I
A harmless necessary cat.

Act I, Sc. II
I dote on his very absence.

Act II, Sc. II
In the twinkling of an eye.

Act III, Sc. V
Let it serve for table-talk.

Act II, Sc. II
An honest exceeding poor man.



Act II, Sc. VII
All that glitters is not gold

Act IV, Sc. I
Is it so nominated in the bond?

Act II, Sc. II
It is a wise father that knows his own child.

Act I, Sc. III
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

Act. v. Sc. I
This night methinks is but the daylight sick.

Act II, Sc. V
And the vile squeaking of the wry-necked fife.

Act IV, Sc. I
I never knew so young a body with so old a head.

Act I, Sc. II
God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.

Act III, Sc. I
If my gossip Report be an honest woman of her word.

Act IV, Sc. I
What! wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

Act II, Sc. II
Truth will come to sight; murder cannot be hid long.

Act III, Sc. I
If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.

Act III, Sc. II
Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words
That ever blotted paper!

Act III, Sc. II
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest.

Act I, Sc. III
For when did friendship take
A breed for barren metal of his friend?

Act III, Sc. V
Thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother.

Act I, Sc. I
Fish not, with this melancholy bait,
For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.

Act I, Sc. I
Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.

Act II, Sc. I
Mislike me not for my complexion,
The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun.

Act I, Sc. II
They are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing.

Act I, Sc. III
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine.

Act I, Sc. III
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

Act I, Sc. I
I do know of these
That therefore only are reputed wise
For saying nothing.

Act III, Sc. II
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue in his outward parts.

Three Prisoners problem (paradox)

The Three Prisoners problem appeared in Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column in Scientific American in 1959. It is mathematically equivalent to the Monty Hall problem with car and goat replaced with freedom and execution respectively, and also equivalent to, and assumedly based on, Bertrand's box paradox.

Problem
Three men, A, B, and C were in jail. Prisoner A knew that one of them was to be set free and the other two were to be executed. But he didn't know who was the one to be spared. To the jailer who did know, A said, "Since two out of the three will bee executed, it is certain that either B or C will be, at least. You will give me no information about my own chances if you give me the name of one man, B or C, who is going to be executed." Accepting this argument after some thinking, the jailer said, "B will be executed." Thereupon A felt happier because now either he or C would go free, so his chance had increased from 1/3 to 1/2. This prisoner's happiness may or may not be reasonable. What do you think? (cited from Shimojo & Ichikawa, 1989)
OR
Three prisoners, A, B and C, are in separate cells and sentenced to death. The governor has selected one of them at random to be pardoned. The warden knows which one is pardoned, but is not allowed to tell. Prisoner A begs the warden to let him know the identity of one of the others who is going to be executed. "If B is to be pardoned, give me C's name. If C is to be pardoned, give me B's name. And if I'm to be pardoned, flip a coin to decide whether to name B or C."
The warden tells A that B is to be executed. Prisoner A is pleased because he believes that his probability of surviving has gone up from 1/3 to 1/2, as it is now between him and C. Prisoner A secretly tells C the news, who reasons that A still has a chance of 1/3 to be the pardoned one, but his chance has gone up to 2/3.
What is the correct answer? Prisoner C is right, A's probability of surviving is still 1/3, but prisoner C's probability of receiving the pardon is 2/3.
Solution The answer is he didn't gain information about his own fate. Prisoner A, prior to hearing from the warden, estimates his chances of being pardoned as 1/3, the same as both B and C. As the warden says B will be executed, it's either because C will be pardoned (1/3 chance) or A will be pardoned (1/3 chance) and the B/C coin the warden flipped came up B (1/2 chance; for a total of a 1/6 chance B was named because A will be pardoned). Hence, after hearing that B will be executed, the estimate of A's chance of being pardoned is half that of C. This means his chances of being pardoned, now knowing B isn't, again are 1/3, but C has a 2/3 chance of being pardoned.

Why the paradox?

The tendency of people to provide the answer 1/2 neglects to take into account the query that the warden was asked. Had the query been: "Will B be executed?" then the warden's answer "Yes, B will be executed" would indeed result in a probability 1/2 for A's death. Judea Pearl (1988) used a variant of this example to demonstrate that belief updates must depend not merely on the facts observed but also on the experiment (i.e., query) that led to those facts.

Shimojo, S., & Ichikawa, S. (1989) Intuitive reasoning about probability: theoretical and experimental analyses of the "problem of three prisoners". Cognition, 32, 1 - 24.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

King Lear


Characters
  • King Lear
  • Cordelia
  • Edmund
  • Goneril
  • Regan

Shakespeare's dramatic use of chaos and conflict provides a rich background conducive to exploring psychological issues. In King Lear, chaos in the kingdom, represented by the king's division of the kingdom, symbolizes King Lear's corrupt personal relationships, wherein he tries to quantify his daughters' love. In the first act, King Lear commands his daughters to perform an outward show of love for payment, i.e. a part of the kingdom. In respect for her father, Cordelia refuses to put a price on her love. This paper will investigate King Lear's underlying motives for his unreasonable demands by using Freud's psychological theories, while connecting King Lear's motivations with his monologue in Act 5, Scene 3.

Cordilia's Disinheritence

The confrontation in Act 1, Scene 1 reveals King Lear's underlying motivations, suggesting that King Lear, unaware of his own desires, is sexually attracted to his daughter and does not wish to give his daughter away in marriage, a normal outcome between a father and a daughter. In keeping with these darkest desires, King Lear damages Cordelia's marriage prospects, although she is both dutiful and truthful. In light of this analysis, Cordelia's words, which are not offensive, become hurtful to her father, who desires all her love. She says:

You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Happily, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
[To love my father all]. (1.1.96-105)

Cordelia's words, that she loves Lear like a daughter, but half of her love and care must go to a husband, are not acceptable answers to King Lear. In rage, he disinherits his "sometime daughter" (119). Continuing the scene, King Lear presents Cordelia, divested of her dowry, to both Burgundy and the King of France, thereby sabotaging Cordelia's chance of marriage. However, the King of France accepts Cordelia, and ironically, places her in a position where she can assist her father to regain both his sanity and his kingdom.

King Lear's motivations for his unreasonable demands become clear when contrasted with his monologue in Act 5 Scene 3. In his words, King Lear's betrays his underlying need for Cordelia: "Come let's away to prison: / We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage" (9-10). King Lear continues: "So we'll live, / And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh / At gilded butterflies" (11-3). King Lear's words, which are incompatible with his circumstances, reveal his happiness to be with his daughter and represent his love, which is strong enough that even in prison he will be content if he can be with his Cordelia. These emotions, more appropriate to a lover than to a father, expose his underlying need for his daughter.

Cordelia's Reconciliation

In conclusion, King Lear's demand for a public display of devotion from his daughters become comprehensible when analyzed in the context of a father's sexual interest in his daughter. King's Lear's disproportionate anger against Cordelia, although entirely unfair, can be understood in this context. Even his act of sabotaging his daughter's marriage prospects reveals his desire to own his daughter and to keep her with him. Although King Lear has more power than a father does today, according to Freud, this psychological need is still being played out in our modern relationships.

Death of Corderlia - Hanged in jail ordered by Edmund

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Newcomb's Paradox / Problem

One of the most simply stated but astonishing of the so-called prediction paradoxes that bear on the problem of free will. It was devised in 1960 by William Newcomb, a theoretical physicist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and the great-grandson of the brother of the astronomer Simon Newcomb, while contemplating the prisoner's dilemma.

It was first made popular by Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick. The following is based on Martin Gardner's and Robert Nozick's Scientific American papers on the subject, both of which can be found in Gardner's book Knotted Doughnuts. The paradox goes like this:

A superior being, with super-predictive powers that have never been known to fail,
he has run this experiment with 999 people before, and has been right every time. has put $1,000 in box A and either nothing or $1 million in box B. The being presents you with a choice:

(1) open box B only, or
(2) open both box A and B.

The being has put money in box B only if it predicted you will choose option (1). The being put nothing in box B if it predicted you will do anything other than choose option (1) (including choosing option (2), flipping a coin, etc.).

The question is, what should you do to maximize your winnings? You might argue that since your choice now can't alter the contents of the boxes you may as well open them both and take whatever's there.

This seems reasonable until you bear in mind that the being has never been known to predict wrongly. In other words, in some peculiar way, your mental state is highly correlated with contents of the box: your choice is linked to the probability that there is money in box B.

These arguments and many others have been put forward in favor of either choice. The fact is there is no known "right" answer, despite the concerted attentions of many philosophers and mathematicians over several decades.

The Solution:

The solution to exposing Newcomb's paradox as fallacy is to view the potential monetary gains against the probability of the beings prediction being correct. For a given probability P the best choice is the one that gives the greatest return.

The formula:

Return = P(Correct) + (1-P)(Wrong)

Lets assume a probability of 1 (ie. the being has a 100% chance of predicting correctly).

Return from taking B:

1(1,000,000) + 0(0) = 1,000,000

Return from taking both A and B:

1(1,000) + 0(1,001,000) = 1,000

As can be seen, if the being has a 100% chance of predicting correctly then the rewards of taking box B are much more favourable than taking both box A and box B. You may notice that this outcome is equivalent to Argument 2 above. Now let's assume a probability of 0.5 (the being has a 50% chance of predicting correctly).

Return from B:

0.5(1,000,000) + 0(0) = 500,000

Return from A and B:

0.5(1,000) + 0.5(1,001,000) = 501,000

With a probability of 0.5 the rewards of taking both box A and box B are slightly greater than taking only box B. This means that if the being only has a 50% chance of correctly predicting your choice then you should take both box A and Box B. Now let's assume a probability of 0 (The being has no chance of predicting correctly).

Return from taking B:

0 + 1(0) = 0

Return from taking both A and B:

0 + 1(1,001,000) = 1,001,000

This time the rewards of taking both box A and box B are far greater than taking only box B.

You may have noticed that the two formulas Return = P(1,000,000) + (1-P)(0) and Return = P(1,000) + (1-P)(1,001,000) are in fact straight lines and can be graphed as such:

Graph of Probability verses Return

The two lines intersect when P is at a value of 0.5005. That is to say that if the being has a greater probability than 0.5005 of being correct then you should take box B. If the probability of the being being correct is less than 0.5005 then you should take both box A and box B.

The paradox should now be exposed to you as a fallacy. If it is not, let me state more clearly why. Argument 1 relies on an implicit assumption that there are equal chances* whereas Argument 2 asserts that there is every chance that the being will correctly predict your choice.

At the end of the day you could say the being is either going to predict correctly or not, ascribe a probability of 0.5 and take both box A and box B. But if the being had previously made 1000 correct predictions then surely this line of action would be 1000 times more foolish than the other? If you say no then I guess you'd give yourself a 50/50 chance of beating Garry Kasparov at chess?

Box A Box B

* Argument 1 asserts that no matter what you choose, 'the being either has or has not put the money in box B'. It follows from this assertion that if you choose box B then there may or may not be money in box B. Likewise, if you choose box A and box B there still may or may not be money in box B. This is equivalent to saying that the being may or may not correctly predict your choice.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quotes & Sayings

Just a collection of quotes.

Listen to your heart or your heart might stop talking to you.




Happiness can be attained either when existence accords with our desires, or when our desires are in harmony with existence. True, the second alternative is difficult; but the first is impossible.
Sangharakshita (A Survey of Buddhism)

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind....William James

The universe (which others call the Library) - Jorge Luis Borges http://jubal.westnet.com/hyperdiscordia/library_of_babel.html

We do not so much need the help of our friends as the confidence of their help in need. ~ Epicurus

To know you have enough is to be rich. ~ Tao Te Ching

The feminine is more powerful than the masculine, the soft is more powerful than the hard, the water is more powerful than the rock. -Osho

 Constant dripping wears away the stone (or water wears away the stone by constant dripping not by smashing it)

Chinese Version:  
Dripping water pierces a stone; a saw made of rope cuts through wood.
?(shui)?(di)?(shí)?(chuan),?(shéng)?(jù)?(mù)?(duàn)?


In music you are taught to play correctly, but sometimes the incorrect is correct - From Israeli movie "The Secrets".

As often as I have been amongst men, I have returned less a man (Seneca  quoted by Thomas à Kempis, Imitation, Book I, c. 20. perhaps advocating the monastic life or a vow of silence). 

“We grow too soon old and too late smart” Dutch Proverb
( Old too soon, smart too late ... via Mike Tyson).

God created man and, finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly. Paul Valery

A good traveller doesn't know his destination; the best ... his origin

The mind of each man is a savage garden : Anne Rice - The Vampire Chronicles

How can one know the color of spring unless one visits the garden? (Farewell my Concubine)

Death's an old joke, but each individual encounters it anew.Ivan Turgenev

"Genius demonstrates its autonomy not by ignoring all rules, but by deriving the rules from itself." (Kneller, Jane (2003). Guyer, Paul. ed. Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement: Critical Essays. Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 0742514196)

Paul Valéry, "Everything simple is false. Everything which is complex is unusable." (Notre destin et les lettres, 1937)  - Bonini's paradox 

Herbert Stein's Law: ''If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.''

"political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind" : George Orwell

"The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth: `I, the state, am the people.'... Everything about it is false; it bites with stolen teeth. "
by:
Source:
from "Thus Spake Zarathustra"

Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. Marx (The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)

Tolstoy - "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."

"A man puts plans in place and fate displaces them." - Russian saying.

“Once the limits of the possible have been overturned, it is difficult to bring them back,” Clausewitz

'Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child' - Cicero

There is no such thing as society. There is a living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us, by our own efforts, is prepared to turn round and help those less fortunate. Margaret Thatcher
http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_4_snd-big-society.html

“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”   Evelyn Beatrice Hall (writing about Voltaire), incorrectly attributed to Voltaire, and less frequently, Jefferson, the attribution gets mixed up over time because Miss Beatrice Hall wrote a biography on Voltaire.

"Not the strongest, nor the smartest - those most responsive to change survive." --Charles Darwin

"More life may trickle out of men through thought than through a gaping wound." --Thomas Hardy

"Being impatient to win ensures a loss" - Louis XIV 

"When the hyena is the judge, the goat has no rights" African proverb

"Depending on your social height,
The law will see your crime as black—or else as white"   Jean de La Fontaine, 1621-1695 http://danieldendy.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/the-animals-stricken-with-plague-la.html

“He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.” King Lear, Act 3, Scene 6, Page 2.

“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become." Margaret Thatcher channeling her father channeling the Buddha

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. - C. S. Lewis

"There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face." (DUNCAN - Macbeth)
(There’s no way to read a man’s mind by looking at his face. I trusted Cawdor completely).

"Excuse me can you tell me where there is a vending machine where I can get some water?" "Here's some more water Mr X".

"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change." (Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard, (Tancredi the nephew character)

Everyone knows that an eager young bride can accomplish in 7 months what it takes an older bride to accomplish in 9 - heinlein

The second baby takes 9 months, but the first one can come anytime.

"a cat may look at a king" proverb

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” William Shakespeare, Macbeth 

Cemeteries are full of people who had the right of way (unattributed)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Moral Hazard

Moral Hazard is the risk that the presence of a contract will affect on the behavior of one or more parties. The classic example is in the insurance industry, where coverage against a loss might increase the risk-taking behavior of the insured.

The actual words moral hazard have a long history. Using them in the context of financial risk is a return to etymological roots; hazard was originally the name of a dice game, the Middle Ages precursor to craps, on which bets were placed and fortunes could be swiftly lost. For centuries, the resulting use of the word hazard carried a whiff of the unsavory due to its association with gambling.

Moral hazard occurs when a party insulated from risk behaves differently than it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk.

Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, a person with insurance against automobile theft may be less cautious about locking his or her car, because the negative consequences of vehicle theft are (partially) the responsibility of the insurance company.

Information Asymmetry

Economists explain moral hazard as a special case of information asymmetry, a situation in which one party in a transaction has more information than another. In particular, moral hazard may occur if a party that is insulated from risk has more information about its actions and intentions than the party paying for the negative consequences of the risk. More broadly, moral hazard occurs when the party with more information about its actions or intentions has a tendency or incentive to behave inappropriately from the perspective of the party with less information.

Moral hazard also arises in a principal-agent problem, where one party, called an agent, acts on behalf of another party, called the principal. The agent usually has more information about his or her actions or intentions than the principal does, because the principal usually cannot completely monitor the agent. The agent may have an incentive to act inappropriately (from the viewpoint of the principal) if the interests of the agent and the principal are not aligned.

According to contract theory, moral hazard results from a situation in which a hidden action occurs. Quoting Bengt Holmström,

'It has long been recognized that a problem of moral hazard may arise when individuals engage in risk sharing under conditions such that their privately taken actions affect the probability distribution of the outcome.'


The name 'moral hazard' comes originally from the insurance industry. Insurance companies worried that protecting their clients from risks (like fire, or car accidents) might encourage those clients to behave in riskier ways (like smoking in bed, or not wearing seat belts). This problem may inefficiently discourage those companies from protecting their clients as much as they would like to be protected.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Four Temperaments

If we consider the reaction of various persons to the same experience, we will find that it is different in every one of them; it may be quick and lasting, or slow but lasting; or it may be quick but of short duration, or slow and of short duration. This manner of reaction, or the different degrees of excitability, is what we call "temperament." There are four temperaments: the choleric, the melancholic, the sanguine, and the phlegmatic.

The sanguine temperament is marked by quick but shallow, superficial excitability; the choleric by quick but strong and lasting; the melancholic temperament by slow but deep; the phlegmatic by slow but shallow excitability. The first two are also called extroverts, outgoing; the last two are introverts or reserved.




Sanguine


The Sanguine temperament personality is fairly extroverted. People of a sanguine temperament tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be quite loud. They are usually quite creative and often daydream. However, some alone time is crucial for those of this temperament. Sanguine can also mean very sensitive, compassionate and thoughtful. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when pursuing a new hobby, interest is lost quickly when it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. For some people, these are the ones you want to be friends with and usually they become life long friends.

A person with a dominance of sanguine traits tends to be an extrovert (outgoing) and is usually an optimist. They like to talk, laugh a lot and love things to be fun. They enjoy being with people and they are often the life of the party. They are happy go lucky sort of people.

Some Sanguine Traits
Fun loving
• Talkative
• Warm
• Friendly
• Like to laugh
• Persuasive
• Disorganised
• Forgetful
• Happy go lucky
• Life of party

There are a few clues to help you decide if a client is a sanguine. Firstly they smile a lot, wide smiles and bright eyes. They tend to use open body language, will be the first to reach out to shake hands and make eye contact. They can be charming and friendly.

They like relationships and encounters to be fun. They can be easily distracted. When working with sanguine people they like you to have a light, breezy and fun attitude. They can be disorganised and forgetful. So it pays to give them brief outlines to hold their attention and write things down so they can remember what was discussed.

Some keys to recognising sanguine at first glance
Wide smile
• Open body language
• Bright eyes
• Will talk first
• Reach out for handshake first

When you have a client who has a sanguine type personality they like to talk, so let them talk. But you can still guide the conversation to find out what you need to know. They enjoy jokes and don’t like to be too serious. They dislike routine, dull tasks, details and criticism. They like to be the centre of attention they do not like to be ignored.

Working with someone with sanguine traits
Let them talk
• Guide the conversation gently
• Smile
• Make eye contact
• Give outlines not details
• Use images

Some other names used for the sanguine personality

· Expressive
· Artisan
· Sensing
· Intuitive
· Influencing


Choleric


A person who is choleric is a do-er. They have a lot of ambition, energy, and passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. They like to be leaders and in charge of everything.

One theory on the personality styles estimates that about 3% of the population are choleric. When you consider choleric’s are born leaders it is just as well they only make up 3%.

Most great leaders have been people with dominant choleric traits. When working with people with choleric characteristics the important thing to know is they like control. They are born leaders and dislike being told what to do.

Some choleric traits:

Born leaders

• Like control

• Have strong personalities

• Decisive

• Know what they want

• Can be bossy

• Organised

• Practical

• Productive

• Visionary


A person with a dominance of choleric traits is like the sanguine outgoing and optimistic. They are also very decisive and can make decisions quickly. They are the sort of people who get things done. Being direct and independent they are well organized and simulate activity.

As great leaders they can be productive, resolute, practical and visionary. They tend to move quickly and look like they are in charge. When this sort of person walks into a room everyone usually sits up and takes notice. The choleric person can do many things at the same time they have an abundance of energy. They can actually exhaust everyone else. They tend to thrive on activity and do not like to stay still for long.

Some keys to recognising choleric at first glance

Move quickly

• Will take the lead

• Direct

• Talk quickly

• Have strong hand shake

• Look you straight in the eye

With their strong personalities they can boss everyone around. They appear to have a bundle of confidence. They are the sort of people who want things done yesterday. Designers working with these sorts of characters will find they like to control projects and they are very clear about what they want. They don’t like fuss or as they sometimes say ‘This lovey dovey stuff’.

Working with someone with choleric traits

Be professional

• Be prepared

• Let them talk

• Be honest

• Have a confident air

• Show no fear

• Be concise

• Make short clear statements

• Give outlines not details

• Use images

• Pay attention

• They do not suffer fools gladly

Yesterday I mentioned how I had worked out a colour for the four main personality types. If a person with choleric traits was a colour. It would be my guess they would be red. Red demands attention and promotes activity. Just like the choleric person. I read somewhere studies were carried out in a staff room. When staff room walls were painted red the staff did not stay in the room very long. Thus making it an ideal colour for staff the room as it encouraged people to quickly return to work.

Melancholic


A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very considerate and get rather worried when they could not be on time for events, melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry and art - and can become occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent; one negative part of being a melancholic is sometimes they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of others.

Designers take time with those with a melancholic mind

The gentle sensitive person with melancholy traits can be genius prone. Many great artists have been people with a melancholy temperament. The troubled artist Vincent Van Gogh is an example of a person with melancholy traits.



They have perfectionist tendencies. If you want something done perfectly; just call on the person with melancholy traits. They are very task orientated, take in every detail and aim for accuracy. The melancholic type person tends to be orderly organised and able to find creative solutions.

Some melancholy traits:
· Detailed
· Organised
· Creative
· Perfectionists
· Careful
· Cautious
· Competent

The melancholy person tends to be more interested in getting the job done that wasting time talking. Being deep thinkers they take their time before making decisions. However they can take so long to think things through they can find it hard to come to a decision or finish a job.

Some keys to recognising melancholy at first glance
· Serious
· Often appear shy
· Can listen without looking at the person speaking
· Can have a far away look
· Usually dress in understated way
· Speaks quietly

Treat the gentle, easily offended melancholy person with care. They hate to think someone maybe laughing at them. They do not like confusion or noise. They usually hate trivial pursuits and do not like to jollied along.

Working with someone with melancholy traits
· Be accurate
· Be detailed
· Take time
· Be honest
· Have a quiet air
· Explain things clearly
· Be prepared for questions
· Conduct interviews with this client in a private place
· Make sure you will not be interrupted
· Give detail reasons for your selections
· Be reassuring
· Gentle
· They like graphs and schedules

It can take time to earn the trust of a person with a melancholy personality. They can be suspicious and negative. They tend to sit back and view the world. They don’t smile a lot so it is often difficult to know when they are happy or pleased with your suggestions. They tend to see all the problems in situations. They want every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed.


Phlegmatic
Phlegmatics tend to be self-content and kind. They can be very accepting and affectionate. They may be very receptive and shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. They are very consistent, relaxed, rational, curious, and observant, making them good administrators and astronauts.

Designers helping the phlegmatic to make decisions will bring success
A person with a phlegmatic temperament hates conflict and confrontation. They tend to be motivated by loving approval. They prefer to work in a team. It is bliss to the phlegmatic ear to hear we can do this together. Not you do this and you do that.

Some phlegmatic traits
• Easy going
• Relaxed
• Faithful
• Reliable
• Find it difficult to take initiative
• Relate well to others

Australians have a saying which would suit the phlegmatic person very well. The saying ‘She’ll be right mate’. They are happy to take instructions. They prefer not to be in charge. It has been estimated by some personality theorist about 68% of the population have a dominance of phlegmatic traits.

Some keys to recognising phlegmatic at first glance

Moves slowly
• Friendly
• Good listener
• They lean against things
• Tend to be watchers
• Appear relaxed

Phlegmatic people are inoffensive. They can be lazy and avoid responsibility. But can be faithful reliable workers. Family are very important to them. The will put family before work every time.






























































HumourSeasonElementOrganQualitiesAncient nameModernMBTIAncient characteristics
Bloodspringairliverwarm & moistsanguineartisanSPcourageous, hopeful, amorous
Yellow bilesummerfiregall bladderwarm & drycholericidealistNFeasily angered, bad tempered
Black bileautumnearthspleencold & drymelancholicguardianSJdespondent, sleepless, irritable
Phlegmwinterwaterlungscold & moistphlegmaticrationalNTcalm, unemotional

mǎ mǎ hū hu 马马虎虎

mǎ mǎ hū hū

Horse Horse Tiger Tiger 马 马 虎虎

So-so, “mediocre” It’s neither one nor the other – it’s so-so, mediocre.



►Nǐ de guóyǔ shuō de hěn hǎo.
你的國語說得很好。
你的国语说得很好。
Your Mandarin is very good.

►Nǎli nǎli - mǎmǎ hǔhǔ.
哪裡哪裡 馬馬虎虎。
哪里哪里 马马虎虎。
Not at all – it’s very bad.

About.com daily Chinese

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Modus ponens

MODUS PONENS: Latin MODUS "standard, measure" is from the Indo-European root MED- "to take appropriate measures." The second word, PONENS, is the present participle of Latin PONERE "to put." (See more under COMPONENT.) In logic, MODUS PONENS is a standard form of argumentation in which you "put down" the antecedent of an if-then statement and conclude the occurrence of the consequence of that if-then statement.

In classical logic, modus ponendo ponens (Latin for the way that affirms by affirming; often abbreviated to MP or modus ponens) is a valid, simple argument form sometimes referred to as affirming the antecedent or the law of detachment. It is closely related to another valid form of argument, modus tollens.

Modus ponens is a very common rule of inference, and takes the following form:

1. If P, then Q.
2. P.
3. Therefore, Q.




Modus ponens is related to modus tollens. They both have a premise that is a conditional statement. The most important difference lies in the negation of the last two lines.

See also Modus Tollens

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tai Ping Tian Guo 太平天囯

The Taiping Rebellion referred to as the Tai Ping Tian Guo in Chinese 太平天囯 ( 太 Tai-'Great' ,平 Ping - 'Peace', 天 Tian-"Heaven', 囯 Guo-'Country or Kingdom' ) the 'Kingdom of Heavenly Peace', was one of the bloodiest civil wars in history between the Qing Dynasty and the Chinese 'Christian' rebels led by Hong Xiuquan (old spelling Hung Hsiu-ch'uan).
Taiping soldiers, male and female, outside Shanghai

The rebels were led by Hong Xiuquan ( old spelling Hung Hsiu-ch'uan ) who believed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, chosen by God to establish a heavenly kingdom upon earth and replace the corrupt Manchu Qing dynasty.The conflict, which took place mostly in south China , the Yangtze valley and in the Shanghai and Nanjing area, killed an estimated from 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 people killed (largely due to famine and wholesale slaughter of captured armies and cities which resisted ) . According to the census of 1851 there were 432 million in China. The next census of 1911 shows 375 to 400 million, which shows the staggering impact of the rebellions and natural disasters that beset China . There were other rebellions against the Qing such as the Nian and Muslim rebellions,but the Taiping rebellion was the largest in scale and came closest to toppling the Qing Dynasty.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Plato The Republic - Characters

The main characters in The Republic are:


Cephalus
Polemarchus
Thrasymachus
Socrates
Glaucon
Adeimantus








certain poles threading socks greatly admired
Cephalus appears in the introduction only, Polemarchus drops at the end of the first argument, and Thrasymachus is reduced to silence at the close of the first book. The main discussion is carried on by Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Among the company are Lysias (the orator) and Euthydemus, the sons of Cephalus and brothers of Polemarchus, an unknown Charmantides—these are mute auditors; also there is Cleitophon, who once interrupts, where, as in the Dialogue which bears his name, he appears as the friend and ally of Thrasymachus.

The scene is laid in the house of Cephalus at the Piraeus; and the whole dialogue is narrated by Socrates the day after it actually took place to Timaeus, Hermocrates, Critias, and a nameless person, who are introduced in the Timaeus.


Cephalus, the patriarch of the house, has been appropriately engaged in offering a sacrifice. He is the pattern of an old man who has almost done with life, and is at peace with himself and with all mankind. He feels that he is drawing nearer to the world below, and seems to linger around the memory of the past. He is eager that Socrates should come to visit him, fond of the poetry of the last generation, happy in the consciousness of a well-spent life, glad at having escaped from the tyranny of youthful lusts. His love of conversation, his affection, his indifference to riches, even his garrulity, are interesting traits of character. He is not one of those who have nothing to say, because their whole mind has been absorbed in making money. Yet he acknowledges that riches have the advantage of placing men above the temptation to dishonesty or falsehood. The respectful attention shown to him by Socrates, whose love of conversation, no less than the mission imposed upon him by the Oracle, leads him to ask questions of all men, young and old alike, should also be noted. Who better suited to raise the question of justice than Cephalus, whose life might seem to be the expression of it? The moderation with which old age is pictured by Cephalus as a very tolerable portion of existence is characteristic, not only of him, but of Greek feeling generally, and contrasts with the exaggeration of Cicero in the De Senectute. The evening of life is described by Plato in the most expressive manner, yet with the fewest possible touches. As Cicero remarks (Ep. ad Attic.), the aged Cephalus would have been out of place in the discussion which follows, and which he could neither have understood nor taken part in without a violation of dramatic propriety (cp. Lysimachus in the Laches).


Polemarchus, Cephalus' 'son and heir' has the frankness and impetuousness of youth; he is for detaining Socrates by force in the opening scene, and will not 'let him off' on the subject of women and children. Like Cephalus, he is limited in his point of view, and represents the proverbial stage of morality which has rules of life rather than principles; and he quotes Simonides (cp. Aristoph. Clouds) as his father had quoted Pindar. But after this he has no more to say; the answers which he makes are only elicited from him by the dialectic of Socrates. He has not yet experienced the influence of the Sophists like Glaucon and Adeimantus, nor is he sensible of the necessity of refuting them; he belongs to the pre-Socratic or pre-dialectical age. He is incapable of arguing, and is bewildered by Socrates to such a degree that he does not know what he is saying. He is made to admit that justice is a thief, and that the virtues follow the analogy of the arts. From his brother Lysias (contra Eratosth.) we learn that he fell a victim to the Thirty Tyrants, but no allusion is here made to his fate, nor to the circumstance that Cephalus and his family were of Syracusan origin, and had migrated from Thurii to Athens.


Thrasymachus, The 'Chalcedonian giant', of whom we have already heard in the Phaedrus, is the personification of the Sophists, according to Plato's conception of them, in some of their worst characteristics. He is vain and blustering, refusing to discourse unless he is paid, fond of making an oration, and hoping thereby to escape the inevitable Socrates; but a mere child in argument, and unable to foresee that the next 'move' (to use a Platonic expression) will 'shut him up.' He has reached the stage of framing general notions, and in this respect is in advance of Cephalus and Polemarchus. But he is incapable of defending them in a discussion, and vainly tries to cover his confusion with banter and insolence. Whether such doctrines as are attributed to him by Plato were really held either by him or by any other Sophist is uncertain; in the infancy of philosophy serious errors about morality might easily grow up—they are certainly put into the mouths of speakers in Thucydides; but we are concerned at present with Plato's description of him, and not with the historical reality. The inequality of the contest adds greatly to the humour of the scene. The pompous and empty Sophist is utterly helpless in the hands of the great master of dialectic, who knows how to touch all the springs of vanity and weakness in him. He is greatly irritated by the irony of Socrates, but his noisy and imbecile rage only lays him more and more open to the thrusts of his assailant. His determination to cram down their throats, or put 'bodily into their souls' his own words, elicits a cry of horror from Socrates. The state of his temper is quite as worthy of remark as the process of the argument. Nothing is more amusing than his complete submission when he has been once thoroughly beaten. At first he seems to continue the discussion with reluctance, but soon with apparent good-will, and he even testifies his interest at a later stage by one or two occasional remarks. When attacked by Glaucon he is humorously protected by Socrates 'as one who has never been his enemy and is now his friend.' From Cicero and Quintilian and from Aristotle's Rhetoric we learn that the Sophist whom Plato has made so ridiculous was a man of note whose writings were preserved in later ages. The play on his name which was made by his contemporary Herodicus (Aris. Rhet.), 'thou wast ever bold in battle,' seems to show that the description of him is not devoid of verisimilitude.


Glaucon and Adeimantus, the two principal respondents, appear on the scene when Thrasymachus has been silenced, as in Greek tragedy (cp. Introd. to Phaedo), three actors are introduced. At first sight the two sons of Ariston may seem to wear a family likeness, like the two friends Simmias and Cebes in the Phaedo. But on a nearer examination of them the similarity vanishes, and they are seen to be distinct characters. Glaucon is the impetuous youth who can 'just never have enough of fechting' (cp. the character of him in Xen. Mem. iii. 6); the man of pleasure who is acquainted with the mysteries of love; the 'juvenis qui gaudet canibus,' and who improves the breed of animals; the lover of art and music who has all the experiences of youthful life. He is full of quickness and penetration, piercing easily below the clumsy platitudes of Thrasymachus to the real difficulty; he turns out to the light the seamy side of human life, and yet does not lose faith in the just and true. It is Glaucon who seizes what may be termed the ludicrous relation of the philosopher to the world, to whom a state of simplicity is 'a city of pigs,' who is always prepared with a jest when the argument offers him an opportunity, and who is ever ready to second the humour of Socrates and to appreciate the ridiculous, whether in the connoisseurs of music, or in the lovers of theatricals, or in the fantastic behaviour of the citizens of democracy. His weaknesses are several times alluded to by Socrates, who, however, will not allow him to be attacked by his brother Adeimantus. He is a soldier, and, like Adeimantus, has been distinguished at the battle of Megara (anno 456?)...The character of Adeimantus is deeper and graver, and the profounder objections are commonly put into his mouth. Glaucon is more demonstrative, and generally opens the game. Adeimantus pursues the argument further. Glaucon has more of the liveliness and quick sympathy of youth; Adeimantus has the maturer judgment of a grown-up man of the world. In the second book, when Glaucon insists that justice and injustice shall be considered without regard to their consequences, Adeimantus remarks that they are regarded by mankind in general only for the sake of their consequences; and in a similar vein of reflection he urges at the beginning of the fourth book that Socrates fails in making his citizens happy, and is answered that happiness is not the first but the second thing, not the direct aim but the indirect consequence of the good government of a State. In the discussion about religion and mythology, Adeimantus is the respondent, but Glaucon breaks in with a slight jest, and carries on the conversation in a lighter tone about music and gymnastic to the end of the book. It is Adeimantus again who volunteers the criticism of common sense on the Socratic method of argument, and who refuses to let Socrates pass lightly over the question of women and children. It is Adeimantus who is the respondent in the more argumentative, as Glaucon in the lighter and more imaginative portions of the Dialogue. For example, throughout the greater part of the sixth book, the causes of the corruption of philosophy and the conception of the idea of good are discussed with Adeimantus. Glaucon resumes his place of principal respondent; but he has a difficulty in apprehending the higher education of Socrates, and makes some false hits in the course of the discussion. Once more Adeimantus returns with the allusion to his brother Glaucon whom he compares to the contentious State; in the next book he is again superseded, and Glaucon continues to the end.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Special Surveys


1 chain = 22 yards
1 square chain = 22 x 22 yards = 484 square yards
1 acre = 10 square chains = 4,840 square yards
640 acres = 1 square mile
5120 acres = 8 square miles

Original grant was 8 square miles (5120 acres).

Payment required was: 1 pound per acre (well below the value of the land at that time)

Amended by Gipps:

5 miles from a surveyed township (Melbourne, Williamstown, Geelong, and Portland)
1 mile of water boundary for every 4 square miles (measured by straight line land distance) (so, 2 miles of water boundary).

Special Surveys was a scheme under which in August 1840, the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners of the British Government decided to allow the purchase of land anywhere in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales – now Victoria, Australia. 5,120 acres (2,070 ha), or eight square miles, could be purchased for £1 per acre. This price was significantly below the value of the land at that time.

To restrict the sale of valuable land, Governor Gipps introduced regulations in March 1841 that required the land to be more than 5 miles (8.0 km) from a surveyed township, and to restrict the water-frontage to one mile per four square miles of area.
http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/view.cgi?year=1841&class=general&page_num=321&state=N&classNum=G18&searchCode=2060279
http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/view.cgi?year=1841&class=general&page_num=784&state=N&classNum=G45&searchCode=2060279
http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/view.cgi?year=1843&class=general&page_num=1209&state=N&classNum=G78&searchCode=2060869

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Theory of Mind


Category mistake can involve thinking about the mind as either the brain, which is absurd because brains have mass and volume but thoughts have neither, or as some kind of immaterial entity, a ghost in the biological machine which is our bodies.

Gilbert Ryle explains how to avoid this problem by understanding the mind not as a single object. Instead it is something which wants, desires, understands, thinks, and so on. It is the totality of all these things which procudes what we call a mind. This is similar to our understanding of a university as the totality of its colleges, libraries, museums, and gardens, for example.

Cinderella

There are over 500 versions of Cinderella in Europe alone. Charles Perrault is the author of modern Cinderella in 1690s.

Once there was a widower who married a proud and haughty woman as his second wife. She had two daughters who were equally vain. By his first wife, he'd had a beautiful young daughter who was a girl of unparalleled goodness and sweet temper. The Stepmother and her daughters forced the first daughter to complete all the housework. When the girl had done her work, she sat in the cinders, which caused her to be called "Cinderella". The poor girl bore it patiently, but she dared not tell her father, who would have scolded her; his wife controlled him entirely.

One day the Prince invited all the young ladies in the land to a ball so he could choose a lovely wife. As the two Stepsisters were invited, they gleefully planned their wardrobes. Although Cinderella assisted them and dreamed of going to the dance, they taunted her by saying a maid could never attend a ball.

As the sisters swept away to the ball, Cinderella cried in despair. Her Fairy Godmother magically appeared and vowed to assist Cinderella in attending the ball. She turned a pumpkin into a coach, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen. She then turned Cinderella's rags into a beautiful gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers. The Godmother told her to enjoy the ball, but return before midnight for the spells would be broken.

At the ball, the entire court was entranced by Cinderella, especially the Prince, who never left her side. Unrecognized by her sisters, Cinderella remembered to leave before midnight. Back home, Cinderella graciously thanked her Godmother. She then greeted the Stepsisters who enthusiastically talked of nothing but the beautiful girl at the ball.

When another ball was held the next evening, Cinderella again attended with her Godmother's help. The Prince became even more entranced. However, this evening she lost track of time and left only at the final stroke of midnight, losing one of her glass slippers on the steps of the palace in her haste. The Prince chased her, but outside the palace, the guards had seen only a simple country wench leave. The Prince pocketed the slipper and vowed to find and marry the girl to whom it belonged. Meanwhile, Cinderella kept the other slipper, which had not disappeared when the spell had broken.

The Prince tried the slipper on all the women in the kingdom. When the Prince arrived at Cinderella's villa, the Stepsisters tried in vain. When Cinderella asked if she might try, the Stepsisters taunted her. Naturally, the slipper fitted perfectly, and Cinderella produced the other slipper for good measure. The Stepsisters begged for forgiveness, and Cinderella forgave them for their cruelties.

Cinderella returned to the palace where she married the Prince, and the Stepsisters also married two lords.

The moral of the story is that beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything


China has its own version of Cinderella and soem say the Chinese version might have been the source of the version we know today. The story was popularly known as Yeh Hsien and told in the 9th century, 800 years before European created Cinderella. If you read the story of Cinderella, the most significant part of the story is the “glass Slipper or golden shoes” in some stories, the evil step-mother, the ugly sisters, the ball or party, the king/prince and of course the magic.



Surprisingly, the story came from a native tribe in Nanning – The Zhuang tribes. According to the author who wrote the story during the Tang Dynasty, it was supposedly told by a servant. Cinderella - a servant's story, only one who has been will know what it is like to be a servant and the hardship of chores


A Zhuang trible woman - Cinderella would probably look like this

The first Cinderella story is about a young girl – Yeh Hsien being bullied by her step-mother and step-sisters, always giving her the worst household chores to do. One day they found out that yeh hsien has a “pet fish”, her only friend and enjoyment, and the step-mother stole the fish and cooked it and ate it.

Poor Yeh Hsien cried and she took the remains of the fish bones and kept it in a box and when night falls, the box will glow and has magical powers. What Yeh Hsien wants, it will grant her wishes. One night she wish she could attend the village festival party and her wishes were granted and she got a beautiful dress and a pair of golden cloth shoes. She attend the party, being worried that the step-mother and sisters could recognise her, she ran home but left one shoe at the party in a hurry to run home. A trader found the golden shoe and present it to a neighbouring village chief and the hunt for the owner of the shoe began. After a long search at last they found that Yeh Hsien foot fits the shoe and the village chief brought her home and married her.

Anyway, it is believed that the story must gave been told to travellers along the silk road and that’s how the Yeh Hsien’s story reached Europe. If you read about Chinese ancient history, you will realize that shoes can differentiate and signifies some royalty values. Foot binding – to have small feet signifies power and royalty. You can’t have small feet if you are a peasant girl because you need to work for a living. Therefore finding a small feet among the villager becomes something intriguing.


Foot-binding - a chinese customs - a painful and pitiful custom to prove that you are from a royal or wealthy family. To criple yourself so that you can't walk without assistance, a privilege only the royalty and the rich could afford.

Another fact that they found out is that the Zhuang tribes have annual “mating festivals” – a day when the women and men will sing their hearts out to woo one another finding their future mate.

The Chinese were the first to round the world, hundreds of years before Columbus did and now Cinderella was copied from China. I think there will be alot of fascinating discoveries as the search for more historical facts begins as China opens their country to the world.