Saturday, 16 August 2008

Chinese Nationalism

A good American friend had an experience with a Chinese person that can only really happen if you have lived in this most wierd of places. It reminded me of some of my experiences in the middle kingdon.

This is what she wrote.

I recently recieved a notice from alerting me that my Chinese friend Qiande Zhang's birthday was coming up, so I decided to send him a birthday greeting. In the same email I asked him if life is any different for him now that the olympics are in town. He actually lives in Shanghai, not Beijing, but I wondered how far reaching the "rules" were. So I asked about a couple that I thought were especially peculiar:

1) Were stinky cab drivers really banned?

2) If you see a bottle of liquid on the ground, do you really have to pick it up and take a sip to determine if it is a poison?

This is his oh so very wonderful response:

thanks very much. it is so sweet of you. actually i was grown up from my hometown where people celebrate their birthday once in ten years, say when you are ten, or twenty, or thirty. but anyways, thanks for your greetings. it was a big surprise to me.

Olympics, people are just talking about it, watching the TV, counting how many medals China has got. nothing is special than any other Olympics which were not held in China before. maybe the only difference is that this time, common people can buy some tickets and watch some events.

Rules? you mean checking in when you are at the bus station or the train station? Shanghai is fine, like everyday. actually everyday in Shanghai, it is already very safe place. so, there is no difference. stinky cab drivers should be banned in Beijing, but maybe not in those small places, you know that. sip-taking test is only for the bus station or something like this, but not just on the street, nobody would like to take a sip out of a bottle just picked up on the street. so you are right, it is ridiculous.

there are not that many special rules. even there are rules, it is not an option to follow it or not. it is a team work to host the Olympics in China and all these so called rules won't affect us that much. besides, all these rules are bringing good to people, so, why not?

actually there are football matches in Shanghai. these days, friends are buying tickets and watching some games, maybe proud that China can also host the Olympics too.

to me, Olympics is just the opening ceremony. all the culture stuff reflected out of it. i enjoyed it very much. only the Opening ceremony is China. other stuff, like events, are just common stuff, no difference to any other Olympics.

the funny thing is that there was no one English word spoken at the show except by the Chairman of IOC. it was weird. Soul was having an English song even which is very popular now. but not this one in China. what is going on? where is the message of communicating with people from all over the world? is it discrimination to people who doesn't have good enough Chinese literacy? where is culture diversity?

these days, im studying the obsession, stalking, manner, leadership, being submissing, many different stuff etc etc in the Asian culture by watching Japanese soap operas which offer me many different perspectives to look at Asian culture, and Western culture.. also a little bit personal reflection, enjoying.

Weekend in Shanghai means Saturday night. man, cannot wait to get a beer tomorrow night.

Dimitri is back to Shanghai in the end of this month.

take it easy. hope to meet you again in Shanghai.

amazing stuff I think you will agree, none too surprising though.

This was my experience a couple of years ago.

I once had a class of teenagers in wenzhou who when practicing conditionals were asked to question their partner 'What would you do if?' and come up with three responses. After adequate time and prompting was given the students had to perform their mini role play at the front of the class to give an account of their progress.

The first and second pairs of students did the usual dribble, 'What would you do if you were sick?' 'Go hospital,' These types of pre-intermediate noodlings continued for the next pair also.

Then stepped forward a cocky pair of grinning fourteen year olds with a history of being a pain in the hole. One said to the other 'What would you do if you met a Japanese?' The other then promptly and imperiously sneered, 'If I met a Japanese man I would kill him with a gun!.'

I think this is another example of the level of patriotic nationalism that runs through the blood of the average Chinese man.


Cheers Lisha