Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chinese and Western Culture - Worlds Apart

A few days ago, I was listening to a radio program on KALW (I forget which program) about how China views itself (kind of a large generalization since we're talking about a billion people). The view of the person talking was that China has a self image similar to what the US had in the 1950's. The one where "Everybody loves us." and they were really stunned to learn that in the "West" (US and Europe) that's oh so not the case.

What makes me realize over and over how far apart the cultures are is that the Chinese put so much stock in shame and are so firmly convinced that's supposed to carry weight in the West. They quoted one person saying how "ashamed" they were of France around the torch relay protests. "Shame on you France." All I can think of is "Huh?" You ignore that your country steamrolls over basic human rights on a regular basis (too many refs to list), and when someone else points it out, all you can think of to say is that they should be ashamed for dishonoring China and themselves. All I can do is shake my head in amazement, we may never be on the same page at this rate.

Though I must admit I'm looking forward to the Olympics, but I always do. I think the expectation of many world records is a little high given the horrible air quality in Beijing, but we'll have to see.

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