Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Outsider

Here's something else I never knew before: Deng Xiaoping, the great privatizer of modern China, was a Hakka; that is to say, member of an ethnically distinct subgroup in China, with its own language and a kinda sorta outsider status.  Am told that "Hakka" means "visitor" or "traveller" (Traveller?  Gypsies are "Travellers," not so?).   It appears the Hakka have punched way above their weight in producing leaders for the government and the military--evidently Lee Kwan Yew, long the leader of Singapore, is a Hakka at least on one side.

Comparisons between Chinese Hakka and western Jews are tempting but I suppose inexact.  But would it be too much to add Deng to the list of outsider-leaders, along with the Corsican Napoleon Bonapart, the Georgian Joseph Stalin, the Ukranian Nikita Khrushchev, the Hungarian Nicolas Sarkozy and of course the Kryptonian Barack Obama?  

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