King Leonidas was Chinese

Cheng Liang is a friend and classmate of Matilda‘s in Beida – in his first postgraduate year studying Chinese language (which incorporates teaching Chinese as a foreign language and linguistics, among other things). He hails from the island of Chong Ming, near Shanghai (‘my island’, as he calls it).

Liang has also been studying ancient Greek since 2003. Why did he choose to take up this particular dead language? Because (why else?) “there was a beauty in the class”. He even has a Greek name, given to him by his teacher: Leonidas. On which note, here is a picture of Liang from another angle.

King Leonidas studied philosophy at Beida as an undergraduate, focusing on logic. As a result, he’s full of interesting riddles and problems. Over dinner the other day, he told me of Betrand Russell’s famous paradox, and this Greek one which is still troubling me:

A hairdresser says he will cut the hair of everyone who does not cut his own hair. Can the hairdresser cut his own hair?


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