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Monday, October 29, 2007
斷袖之癖 -vww

With all the debate going on about 377A, it seems appropriate for me to share something I learnt recently about the Chinese phrase "斷袖之癖" (literally quirk of sleeve cutting). 斷袖之癖 is a term used to describe homosexuals and has its origins in the Han Dynasty.

Emperor Ai (漢哀帝) of the Han Dynasty had a gay lover Dong Xian. As the story goes, Emperor Ai and Dong Xian were napping in the same bed. When Emperor Ai awakened, he found Dong Xian asleep on his sleeve. Emperor Ai then cut off his sleeve to avoid disturbing the sleeping Dong Xian. Hence the term.

Throughout history, tales such as this often gets imported, exported and modified. It is not uncommon to find similar stories set in different contexts. There is another famous story that shares the structure of this one.

It is about a person who found his cat asleep on his sleeve. In order to leave for prayer without disturbing the cat, he cut his sleeve off. The name of the cat was Muezza. The person was none other than the Prophet Muhammad.

p.s. For someone who is anti-homosexuals (quote "Allah curses the one who does the actions (homosexual practices) of the people of Lut"), the association is rather ironic.

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
12:05 PM


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