Nice Meetup with Hailey and Roddy

I am sure Hailey (old blog), Roddy and Hailey’s friends in CRI (China Radio International) will not be unhappy because I mentioned their names and out meetup tonight. Hailey is a successful blogger and an editor in CRI. Tennessee Ruck has a good review of Hailey’s blog. I just found it when I returned. Roddy runs Chinese Forums, a great place for ex-pats in China with more than 1400 registered users. I managed to get some time to walk out of the office at night for the first time in my 9 working days in Beijing and enjoy the night life in this amazing city.

Topics

We talked about many in our meetup, from real estate in Shanghai (Hailey is a real estate editorial) to the culture shock of a new comer to Shanghai; from the city infrastructure of Shanghai, to the difference between Shanghai and Beijing (the ultimate topic) and finally to blogging stuff. It is quite an interesting night. Roddy was so kind to listen to us talking in Chinese. He came from England and claimed to be able to understand 90% of our conversation. It is amazing. Roddy speaks very good Chinese, much better than my English.

It is nice to talk with people from different perspective, although this time I seemed to dominate the talk because it started with an interview request from CRI :-D

The young generation like Hailey and her kind collogues impressed me a lot – they just graduated from school but has smart ideas and open minds. I observe a deep gap between the two groups of people – those who were born before 1979 and those after. 1979 is the year the one child policy was enforced in China (Birth control is forbidden word here though). It is the only generation that is not directly affected by the Culture Revolution. I attribute the gap to these two major reasons.

Other young generation representatives are XGAO and Claire (mentioning with courtesy)….. Well. I am not saying I am too old, what I mean is, I am happy to see the younger generation become much better in communication, presentation, independence in mind and the change in lifestyles. It is quite promising for China.

Mercy! Tolerance

During the talk, we touched the topic of Shanghai v.s. Beijing. “Which city you like better, Shanghai or Beijing?” Oh. It is an inevitable topic between any two persons from these two cities.

I love Beijing. Beijing is a fabulous city and becomes better and better everyday. I hope I can move to Beijing and settle down here for two years or longer.

I also love Shanghai. I miss Shanghai three days after I left it.

This was my answer.

Mercy! Tolerance!

If there is something the current Chinese society lack of, I guess it is mercy, or tolerance.

The argument of Shanghai is better or Beijing is better reflects the problem. If you check some websites with such topic, you will see how hot the topic is – no matter where you see it, and when it is raised. It seems the answer to this question divides people into two groups – pro-Beijing group and pro-Shanghai group. The size of the later is much smaller, though.

People in Shanghai believe, Shanghai is the best city in China. They believe any place outside Shanghai is bad, unbearable, without orders, uncomfortable, inconvenient…. (I didn’t say all, but I saw many people in Shanghai think so)

People in Beijing are more open-minded. They may not insist Beijing is the best city in China as people in Shanghai do, but they argue that Shanghai is a bad place. Wendy and I all have experiences to listen to Beijing people returning from Shanghai by train complaining everything about Shanghai – the air, the traffic, the roads, the food, the people…..

Why there is no answer in the middle?

Discrimination

I don’t know when this started but it became a trend already. I am worried to see some people in my country started to judge a person by their origin instead of the content of their characters. Discrimination started to spread on this old land.

We have discriminated people from Henan (for so-called un-honesty and lazy). We have hold against people in Shanghai (in many places outside Shanghai) because they cannot fit into the traditional culture. We even hated people from Beijing at the time of SARS (I mean to the extent beyond necessary medical precautions). Who are the next to be discriminated?

Anti-Japanese

I become even more worried about the nationalism (featured with anti-Japanese movement and anti-Japanese good movement) that spreads more quickly than the growth of Chinese economy.

As the poster (scroll to the end of the page) I posted in 2003, the idea that all Japanese are bad set root in people’s mind. Oh. No. Hate started to overtake people’s consciousness.

In Nanjing, it was reported (not confirmed though) that students just like to beat Japanese on the street without any strong reason (well, they have strong reasons in their mind), and policemen just let it be. In Xi’an, taxi drivers tend to refuse to take Japanese passengers. In Chongqing, at the last football match between Japan and another Asian country, football fans almost conflicted with the Japanese fans (even without China team’s presence)

What will Happen on August 7, 2004?

Yesterday night, China beat Iran in the semi-quarter of Asia Cup at 5:4. I am very excited and proud of the breakthrough. I am looking forward to watch the final between China and Japan at the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing.

However, I started to worry that if China lose the game, the tension of anti-Japanese ideological trend may break the bottom line of restraint…. I hope it is my only my own imagination. I hope the history like the Anti-Chinese revolt in Indonesia does repeat itself. The August 7 may be a trigger if not controlled well.

Now the forums are dominated with anti-Japanese articles. This brings a big threat to peace. More voices should be heard. A great nation is a nation with open mind, great tolerance, and wise, not with discrimination or nationalism. Calm down, my people!

Resources

Note: by linking to these site does not I agree with contents of the sites. Just for your reference.

Update Hailey and Roddy are Nice People September 20, 2004

I just found I may mislead people to think it is Haily or Roddy’s point of view on Japanese and discrimination. Actually it is not. We share some common ideas on the world.

28 Comments

  1. Good article.

    “to beat Japanese on the street without any strong reason….” Beating with a strong reason would have been OK? No.

    Anger towards the agressive history of Japan should not be turned into hatred towards the people. Dislike of Japanese economical invasion might be justifiable though, especially where unfair commercial practices are evident. Just don’t allow thoughtless jealoucy to prevail.

    Also, I think you mean that you hope Indonesia does NOT repeat itself.

  2. this is a very interesting entry!

    the ultimate reason for the argument between shanghai and beijing, or for that matter, any two cities, is to show one’s own superiority over others when one cannot prove it any other way.

  3. I admire your words and opinions. However, I don’t agree on some of the points that you mentioned. Just on the opposite to what you said that “Discrimination started to spread on this old land.”, as a local Shanghainese, I do feel people from Shanghai, or say the city of Shanghai is more tolerant than ever. I’ve been seeing the changes taking place as I grew up. Yes, it is true that in the past, Shanghainese thought it scorn to talk with people not from Shanghai in mandarine. Shanghainese thought people from outside Shanghai were all peasants, etc. Nowadays, you may see more and more Shanghainese more willing to talk with others in mandarine, and they will actively give the others a hand when see them in trouble. The “Discrimination” of the region is not as apparent as in the past. I think it’s getting into a better tendency of making Shanghai a better place for people from all over China, or even all over the world.

  4. LC, I do see the great change in people in Shanghai. I am in the Shanghai camp myself if I have to choose one. The change is good enough, especially in the younger people. However, we have to see there are still a lot of people in the traditional mode.

    The discrimination I talked about are mainly targetted to the nationalism…

  5. Funny… China is exactly like other countries ! In terms of this, it’s NOT the “Land in the Middle”.

    Just a lot of different people, turning out to find ways to make them look better themselves,

    even if it includes neighbours and friends.

    My girlfriend’s parents have same problem with envyness with their neighbours in Tonggu, Jiangxi.

    In China, people see me as an american. I hate when that happens…

    Foreigners see me as a german. I hate when that happens too ! (Same syndrom as the chinese versus the japanese, my country had it’s share of german influence in WW2)

    I AM danish !

    In Shanghai I see people showing all attitudes towards me, from admiration (especially from the youngest) to openly hatress (by the eyes, possibly because they think I’m an american).

    This will never stop, it has always been there. There will always be some kind of difference, that some people will use to defend themselves.

    Just accept it, and laugh ! Or do something about it.

    An example : Bin Laden has this terrible attitude, therefore he’s now a pain for everyone else.

    Please consider that intolerance is the same as not knowing about other people, and therefore we actually should feel sorry for these persons ! (But some IS better left 6 feet under)

  6. rachelmitchell

    August 5, 2004 at 8:55 pm

    We can sense this discrimination between different cities and regions not only in China, but also when we are away from China in a foreign country. To be honest I don’t like the place where I was born and grow up. In a village that dominated by some family chains, a family with so many relatives there being bullied, their children being insulted, their property being stolen are common.

    Who will care about small things like this? Since murders are not rare stories anymore?

    The reason of discrimination lies mainly in the people itself not where they are from.

    Those differences between people in different cities and regions are far beyond their geographic borders, they have their different culture. People who are better educated and better informed will behave better normally. In China the lost generation is still alive. The generation right after that are somewhat poisoned too. To solve problems by violence and money are still the most popular way to do it. Not all the people what to solve their problem by violence and money; they do it because they don’t know the law or they don’t trust the police. I’m glad to see some people are getting richer, but I’m worried about the problems in China. Not everything is as rosy and beautiful as the bund. Behind the neon light, how about the poor, the jobless, people who live in the countryside, the farmers! How about the people’s spiritual life? What they were educated to believe in Chairman Mao didn’t bring them good live, the economic reform make them believe in Money, that’s even more dangerous!

  7. We can sense this discrimination between different cities and regions not only in China, but also when we are away from China in a foreign country. To be honest I don’t like the place where I was born and grow up. In a village that dominated by some family chains, a family with so many relatives there being bullied, their children being insulted, their property being stolen are common.

    Who will care about small things like this? Since murders are not rare stories anymore?

    The reason of discrimination lies mainly in the people itself not where they are from.

    Those differences between people in different cities and regions are far beyond their geographic borders, they have their different culture. People who are better educated and better informed will behave better normally. In China the lost generation is still alive. The generation right after that are somewhat poisoned too. To solve problems by violence and money are still the most popular way to do it. Not all the people what to solve their problem by violence and money; they do it because they don’t know the law or they don’t trust the police. I’m glad to see some people are getting richer, but I’m worried about the problems in China. Not everything is as rosy and beautiful as the bund. Behind the neon light, how about the poor, the jobless, people who live in the countryside, the farmers! How about the people’s spiritual life? What they were educated to believe in Chairman Mao didn’t bring them good live, the economic reform make them believe in Money, that’s even more dangerous!

  8. I think the Beijing vs Shanghai discussion is rather innocent comparing to the Anti-Japanese ‘movement’. However, with no doubt, Shanghai is the best place to be on this planet. He he… Just kidding…

    I don’t hate Japan;

    I don’t hate Japanese people;

    but I do hate the Japanese government because of its attitude and reaction in many areas. There shall be an anti-Japanese-Government movement.

    Hope nobody gets hurt in and outside the stadium no matter what the match result is though.

  9. Haha.. anti-japanese sentiment?

    The Chinese should be so lucky to emulate the Japanese. I’ll take the Japanese culture over the Chinese culture anyday and I speak from being ethnically Shanghainese. The Japanese people are infinitely more polite and courtious. Shanghaiese are known throughout China as the rudest and that’s not an unjustified stereotype. I have to agree. So impatient and rude about everything.

    Having said that, I’d still be in favor of Shanghia over Beijing. Beijing is land locked. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s the capital of China, it wouldn’t be much. Almost all famous international cities are port cities by the water. Shanghai falls into that camp. Beijing will forever be a wanna, only famous it is the capital city of China.

  10. I just talked to my chinese girlfriend tonight, she “hates japanese”. So that’s it.

    I explained to her, that the japanese people in common do not have anything against other people, no more than any people in China hates other people.

    It was the japanese emperor (the latest in WW2) who took (frightened and scared) japanese men and told them to behave like furious warriors, with or against their will.

    If they disobey ANY order, they would have to commit harakiri (suicide) in front of the others to show an example. These were send out to fight against other innocent people by a dictator, the emperor. Most did it because they were simply brainwashed by the officials.

    Think of Tibet (1950: 2 mill. killed out of a 6 mill. population), and eh, yeah, the Taiwan issue.

    (“Provinces of China”, yes, they’re actually on the official map of China !)

    If you do know the real story, d’ya c any similarity to the japanese scenery ?………………..

    Chinese – think of your own peoples behaviour before judging others, please.

  11. Blaming only the Japanese Emperor or Government does not cover the entirety of this issue. The Japanese society was reasonably democratic already before the world wars and the government and emperor acted in favor of aggression partly because they knew they had the support of their mass. I have met a number of Japanese who are arrogant and have the “mine is mine and yours is also mine” mentality. So I submit that Japanese people or many Japanese people in that generation had their (small) share of responsibility. This is a forgiveness issue, not a “should not hate” issue. The common Japanese people are much more forgivable than are the government and the emperor.

    Having said that, I firmly believe in non-hatred and non-violence. History should not be forgotten but can be left as history and we should look to the future. A person, a group, or a nation must not answer hatred/violance with hatred or violence, if the acts were committed by past generations.

    Similarly in the issues Taiwan and Xizang, the parties should put away past differences and TALK, about the present and future.

  12. It is really against my wish to jump into the argument owing to the fact I see this things with a different view.

    I cannot say the resentment by Chinese people against Japanese was a result of consistent instigation by the Chinese government, nevertheless, government never attend to dilute the situation.

    Chinese argue the Japanese government fails to apologise, compensate and “learn” from the mistakes she had done during the WWII, but on the contrary, Japanese do think they have suffer enormously from the war, just the atomic bomb kills 200,000, and Japan lost land to the Allied power.

    To-day, Japanese respect the American despite they have killed massively during the war, and Japan never received apologise from US on using atomic weapon on her, not to mention compensation.

    Perhaps, people in China should look at this history from a softer angle

    and use a more rational approach.

    At any rate, please do not label me as a pro-Japanese, I see there are many things Chinese can learn from Japanese both economic and culture although Japanese sometime are reluctant to share their knowledge, should China process such goodness, she shall be invincible.

    stephen

  13. Dear stephen, elements were missing from your equations: right vs. wrong, and humanity vs. crime. The Japanese did not make “mistakes” they committed war crime. They did not suffer from the war, they suffered consequences of the war they themselves imposed enormously on pacific countries.

  14. thanks for the mention, Jianshuo. I certainly am not against Japanese, but many Fenqing do…

  15. Just wanna say, bigbro, you’ve made seriously good points.

  16. Dear Bigbro,

    War is an act itself is a crime both brutal and lawless, wage a war on others for any reason is right and the loser is always wrong.

    Humanity does not fit in any warfare since WWI, civilian are most vulnerable as they are ofter the target of the military incursion.

    I am not suggest Chinese should forget and forgive this history, nevertheless, bearing the sorrow and resentment towards Japan does not help China to progress forward.

    Stephen

  17. Distinguishing right from wrong, will help China progess into a strong and advanced nation who will face future challenges with decisive actions and materially supported bravery.

    In fact, I do propose forgiveness, but it should be based on the right historical perspective. If Japan is incapable of admitting her past as being wrong and apologizing for it, then she simply does not deserve forgiveness.

    If you meant that winners are always right and losers are always wrong, it is an unfortunate view that evil beings often use to justify themselves. The winner do write the history but history will eventually discard evil.

  18. I could say a LOT about Xizang (Tibet), Taiwan and others, but I cannot do so in China.

    I guess the Party reads the blog too from time to time, and I like to stay here a bit longer…

    So sorry for my current status, which prohibits me from speaking out !

  19. Dear Bigbro,

    I admire your insistence on righteous eventually will prevail.

    At any rate, I am signing off on this subject and it is a pleasure to exchange opinions with you.

    Regard

    Stephen

  20. Too bad Stephen has signed off, for the Japanese team’s victory certainly gives credit to his theory. History records that Japan won this one, by hook or by crook, by hand or by foot.

  21. Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……….Japanese and Chinese, the society-wise, I like Japan, it’s so ordered and clean, everyone is well mannered. Therefore, I like Japan, and Japanese people. No need to hate them, Chinese People… LEARN THE GOOD FROM THEM I ENCOURAGE….!!!!!!

  22. Dear Wangjianshuo,

    I would like to post my comment here, however I am scared the Chinese government will track me down (e.g. from IP address or other means). Can you please tell me if it is possible for the government to track down who I am?

    I am surfing from home in Shanghai, using an ADSL connection

    A.

  23. Adrian, I guess if the government wants to track down how you are, they will be able to do it. At least if you post on this blog, they can track down me. :-D

  24. Ha… OK I withhold my comments then…

  25. And Japan has one of the highest suicide rates of the world too…

    So, the bad people simply take care of themselves in Japan ! :-(

    That’s why you don’t see the “unbehaved”.

  26. Above comment was adressed to James, by the way…

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