What percent of the world knows about ROTK? (Besides Asia)

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Unread postby didier » Sun Oct 03, 2004 1:01 am

Oh, comon! Read the original question:

What percent of the world knows about The Three Kingdoms more than the people here?(Besides Asia)

Like I said, next to none, like about 0%. I would say less than 1 in 200 non-asian people would even have heard of ROTK or SGYY. It sucks, yes, but at least we here all know how brilliant it is.
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Unread postby GuangRong » Sun Oct 03, 2004 1:33 am

Lady Wu wrote:But most of those illiterate/not so literate >50 year old people would have seen an opera based on RTK, or have heard street-side or radio story-tellers talk about RTK.

ya some would have,
but Operas keep staging popular segments like “过五关 斩六将“ over and over again..

And RTK is not the only show on radio, there's Wuxia Novel,and the other three Classics. and I doubt most people would have heard the whole of SGYY from radio alone..

what I wan to say is most people would have heard of RTK in someway ,but their knowledge is often superficial and out of context..

In contrast with the equally/more widely known "Journey to the West"
I would think most who have heard about it would have atleast an idea of its simple overall storyline and be more familar with it's (fewer)Main chars...
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Unread postby Da_Chicago_Jigalo » Sun Oct 03, 2004 2:45 am

Well I never knew anything like the three kingdoms even existed until about 6th grade. I had a chinese freind, and we basically taught eachother our languages, he never even mentioned anything like that about china during our history class.
I found out about ROTK when i was at a small time video game place at the corner. I was browsing through PS1 games, and the dude who owned the place said he had some games he could give to me that no one had bought the whole year. One of them in there was ROTK 6. After that, i played the game for about 2 years thinking it was all just mythology or something, but then after me and my cousin played dynasty warriors, i knew they were the similar stories and i looked it up. And after that, bam, i knew about The Three Kingdoms.
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Unread postby Liu Yuante » Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:45 am

Being a lover of history I probably would have stumbled upon 3K sooner or later but really most Americans probably know of 3K through the games, and most of those probably are not seized with the desire to go learn more about it, historically, or to read the novel even. When I first got the novel, my brother asked a girl of Chinese ancestry who went to his college (Yale) about it, and her reply was, "the crappiest of all our epics." Even people who know about it don't necessarily like it.

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Unread postby Po Hsing » Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:01 am

The "classic" romance epics like the Water Margin, ROTK, Dream of the Red Chamber are not stressed in schools in the Chinese communities. They are considered to be "trash" novels unworthy of deep study in schools.

What they teach at school are stuff like Confucius, Mencius, etc. Tang poetry, and all the other scholarly works.

So if anyone wants to read them, they will have to do it outside of school. And just from that, you can take out 50% of the population (female), since they generally wont be interested in these sword fighting stories. Most people aren't interested in reading anyway, unless they are forced to do it. So it is hardly surprising that most people have not read the whole book, and only get the slight exposure from TV.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:41 am

I don't know if they are really considered "trash" novels--there are far trashier novels out there. I can't speak for places other than Hong Kong, but when I went to primary school, we didn't get any classics; we only did 2 Tang poems in Pr. 5. Nothing from the Analects or the Mencius was taught. Extracurricula reading was encouraged but nobody ever does it.

However, we did have one chapter on the Battle of Chibi, in Pr 6.

I doubt they really discourage people from reading those novels, or label them unworthy of study. The problem is that it's really hard to integrate them into the regular curriculum. First, the language in the "4 Classical Novels" is neither contemporary baihua, which you'd like your students to learn, nor standard classical wenyan that would enable them to tackle other classical works such as the books of the Spring & Autumn/Warring States periods or later scholarly writings. Second, they don't teach novels in Hong Kong. This may come as a surprise to those who grew up in the Western system, where you do get some longer works to study in high school--Dickens, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, etc. The last time I looked at the HK high school curriculum, you'd be lucky to get an excerpt from the Rulin Waishi ("Tales from the Scholarly World"). There is no time to teach long novels. Students must learn this list of 3329 points in order to pass the standardized exams in year 11 (HKCEE (= GCSE?)). Novels are a waste of time.

When my dad was in primary school, he had a Chinese teacher who knew the entire Water Margin by heart. The teacher would tell a chapter by memory to the class if the class had been good and there was time left at the end of the period. Of course, such teachers are hard to come by, and these days they just won't have time luxury of time to tell stories. :?

Guangrong: I don't know if people are more familiar with Journey to the West than RoTK. Most people would have some idea of there being a period of time where there were three kingdoms. Old timers who have studied the 三字经 (a really long rhyme, with 3-syllable lines, that contains basic knowledge about science and nature, literature, history, and morality. Used widely as a primer in the old days) will remember the lines "光武兴,为东汉。四百年,终于献。魏蜀吴,争汉鼎。号三国,迄两晋". There are also numerous sayings and idioms that are based on the TK history (it just struck me the other day that in Cantonese slang, we call a double-crosser a 反骨仔 "backward-headbone guy"--referring to how Kongming noted that Wei Yan had the looks of a traitor the first time they met in Changsha). Of course, not everyone knows where the term came from, but the point is that RTK is a larger part of Chinese society than people realize. In comparison, I can't think of any good idioms based on Water Margin.

And who says females generally won't be interested in these stories? (Actually, when I was in primary school, most of the kids who read the Louis Cha/Jin Yong martial arts stories were girls.)
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Unread postby Po Hsing » Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:01 am

I was speaking from experience in Taiwan, and yes, they don't teach novels in Taiwan schools. The experince there is very similar to the HK system.

I would be interested in the PRC system, although I guess the bent would be similar, with perhaps even less study of the novels and the classics, and more emphasis on the modern works.

P.S. The Louis Cha stories are very popular, and are widely read by girls. But they also have very strong female characters in all of the books, and have a strong romantic bent. They also are not as bloody and violent as the Water Margin / ROTK. Characters like Huang Rong and Little Dragon Lady are perhaps even more well known than most major ROTK characters.
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Unread postby GuangRong » Tue Oct 05, 2004 6:04 am

ya there's certainly alot of terms and idioms that derived from TK,

You'll also very likely came across story like eg. Cao cong measuring the white elephants ,and the EVAR popular "Kong Rong give pear" in civic studies..

But most of the time, these stories is out of context of the whole story
for eg. in Cao Cao's " 望梅止渴 " story,

it goes something like , "Once during the 3K period, while the Warlord Cao cao was on a expedition... blah blah.."

Sure you know how Cao Cao took care of his water problem in this pa.. but does it tells you anything about the over-all RTK story ???

Unlike Journey to the west, where everone sort of knows the overall story since it's so simple and repetittive (just with diffrent monsters)
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Unread postby Lucifer » Tue Oct 05, 2004 6:40 am

Really now... the Asian population not knowing about it or caring about it isn't that spectacular of a fact. To put the situation in context, think of 3K as a Western epic or novel of great importance- make it the Bible, perhaps. Now, how many Westerners know about the bible past Jesus, Adam, and a few other names? How many Westerners actually like to study it and talk about it frequently? Homer's epics? Its basically the same. Many people think that the bible is dry and hard to read (even if they're Christians) and many people think that Homer is boring.
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