Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In praise of pigs and Chinese bean curd (Winston Churchill and Qu Qiubai)

I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

  -- Winston Churchill


A death which in its odd and different way .............was that of Qu Qiubai. He could not depart on the Long March because at 36 he was dying of tuberculosis. Captured by the Kuomintang, before his execution he composed a testament, called ''Some Superfluous Words,'' for which the orthodox have not forgiven him. Although expressing envy of the young who manned the barricades, he ended on a sardonic note, praising flowers, moonlight and factory chimneys, recommending ''Anna Karenina'' and ''The Dream of the Red Chamber,'' and stating, last of all, that ''the Chinese bean curd is the most delicious food in the whole world. Goodbye and farewell!''


  1. The pig is a noble animal to be admired and respected. Churchill was almost right. They are only a little bit superior to us.

  2. Thanks for your reply. They are indeed exceptional and superior. I think this may be my favorite Churchill quotation. I first read the Qu Quibai passage in a book review a long time ago. It stayed with me as a uniquely wonderful example of "famous last words" and because of the way he included a passionate tribute to Chinese bean curd in his testament. When Caroline and I were kidnapped in Mexico City during the 1990s (we were released after about 9 hours; it was horrible, but it's not an uncommon occurrence in the D.F.), the experience did provoke a certain amount of clear thinking about basic issues, but I wouldn't have had the capacity to compose "Some Superfluous Words". A couple of years later, when we visited Hong Kong and the P.R.C. during our adoption trip, we were able to sample bean curd in China and it really is out of this world, far superior to any I've eaten anywhere else. Curtis

  3. Chinese bean curd is pretty good.

  4. Hi, Nameless. It's PLENTY GOOD, I think. Watch this space. More coming, hopefully not TOO superfluous.