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〔編者按〕由ITM公司的介紹,近一年的時間我開始與非裔社團聯繫,他們基本上都是歌唱演員,20-30年前都自己有自己的小樂團(他們曾經是非常走紅的搖滾歌手)。4/4月,我去了在克利夫蘭530 Euclid Av. 那天晩上是 National entertainers business and Tech Academy學校的對外介紹日,這位Dwight Chillious 創辦了一所網站學校。在去年我剛剛認識他時,聽他説要開一個學校,主要是給喜歡音樂的人提供網上學習理論知識的平台,有一個全美國的巡迴演出的機會。現在不到一年的時間里學校已經成立,並且馬上就要開學了,一個月每天都可以上網學習,只要$100,科目無限。
   那個晩上我在那里認識了Dr.Kwaku L.C. Woods, 他在台上説了一段極其鼓舞人心的話, 當他走下台來的時候,我有機會認識了他。他吿訴我2016年是克利夫蘭年,去掉2016當中代表克利夫蘭過去沒有成功的“0”,剩下的“216” 正好是克利夫蘭電話區域號,他是一個有創意的人!4月7日,我邀請了Dr.Kwaku L.C. Woods夫婦,和在克利夫蘭一家五代人搖滾歌手 Phyllis Weedne ,好朋友 Cynthia ,一起吃了中餐,我們聊的十分高興,Dr.Kwaku L.C. Woods 拿着一本Out of Mao’s Shadow問了我許多中國現在與過去的問題,我對他説,旣然您還沒有去過中國那么就請您寫一篇在您眼里的中國,他答應了,以下是Dr.Kwaku L.C. Woodsde 的文章與分享。

 
Chinese people: Today and Yesterday
-by Kwaku L. Carlisle Woods RN M.D.MetD1
 
 

The first picture shows Chinese pedestrians on a busy Beijing street, the second picture is of the ancient Chinese philosopher Kong Fu Shies (Confucius). It is a startling but very appropriate comparison to where China is from where it started out.
I must state that I have never been to China, (though I did spend some time in Kowloon at the International School as a teen). I do hold a great deal of interest and fond memories of a people I see as creative, sincere, and deeply curious about their collective and individual cultural ethic.


I am recently informed by the book, “Out of Mao’s Shadow-the struggle for the soul of a new China”, by Philip P. Pan and the movie, “Young and Restless in China”- Ambrica films production with Ming Wen as the narrator. These resources as well as the fact that I grew up in Southeast Asia, (though born in St. Louis, Missouri), give me a rather unique prospective on China and the Chinese people that I am seeking to enlarge by my humble efforts to learn Mandarin. I believe that one of the best ways to understand a people is to learn how they send pictures, (that’s what language does), to each other.
I was very excited to find in the book, ‘Out of Mao’s Shadow’, many evidences of the struggle to define and accept the cultural and personal balance between what was and what is China. Such a balance is necessary to support national unity and progress. I was disappointed to find that much of the struggle was to avoid acceptance of past actions that were considered disruptive or even harmful to the national goals. Not acknowledging and accepting where you have been, (and what was done) leaves you ignorant of the true realities all people must struggle with and allows these realities to fester unconsciously to surface most unexpectantly, (since you tried to forget they even happened), often causing frustration in peoples, and nations.


As what most consider to be a Black Man in America, I am very aware of the power and directions of forces not acknowledged or accepted to continue to raise their heads unless appropriately dealt with, (racism, fear of foreigners, police brutality, white guilt, etc.). The English language, (though very hard to learn or speak well), offers a very good comparison in the word, ‘individual’. You see this word is composed of three separate parts, the prefix, ‘in’ the Latin root, ‘divi’, and the Latin root word, ‘dual’. The prefix, ‘in’ means- not, as in invisible (not visible), the root, ‘divi’ means-to separate, as in divisive or divide, while the last root, ‘dual’ means-two as in duality. So an individual means- a not divided duality. Indicating that every individual is composed of right and wrong, good and bad, thoughts and feelings, spirit and mind, the lessons I learned in the orient even have a phrase for it, ying/yang referring to the female/male energies of this reality,To ignore one side of this duality places you in a weakened unbalanced state, but more important you never get the chance to learn the lessons that the ignored event or circumstance arose to teach you. China is struggling to move forward and balance their own history while not allowed to learn the lessons that history teaches. One of the wisest sayings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius is, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall”. A people who feels they should never fall, (fail, make a mistake),can never truly rise.
The film, “Young and Restless in China” was about the new growth in the culture and civilization of this new/old country. It told the story of 9 young Chinese, (between 21 and 30 years old), that the filmmakers started to film in 2004 though the film was released in 2008. The film followed Lu Dong, Ben Wu and several other ‘returning turtles’ as well as Wei Zhanyan, (a migrant worker), and Wang Xiaolei-a struggling rapper and music producer.


They all had in common the theme of making money as a necessity of their lives and their living. Wang Xiaolei wrote a song that describes the mindset of many of the young in China, it’s called, “Get Money”
Make money money, make money
People always say that once you have money
Then you can start a family
My dad, my dad’s dad, my dad’s dad’s dad
Have all said the same thing

Mirror mirror on the wall, what is it I really need?
Is it the banknote, or should I stay silent?
What kind of life should I choose?

What’s music, music is what? I haven’t found the answer
The answer hasn’t told me yet, I want to draw a line
between money and music
So what side would you choose?

The questions he asks is the one many young Chinese are answering for themselves and the answer is overwhelmingly money!! With the aid of American and European investors business is on the rise with many of the traditional Chinese cultural and community values being left behind for personal gain and affluence. It is not selfishness as much as the prevailing needs of the people and the culture.
Wei Zhanyan was a migrant worker who came to Beijing to work in the booming construction prior to the 2008 Olympics. She was working since she was 13 and at 24 was sending most of her money home to support her brothers schooling. She was requested to return home to meet the husband that her father had arranged for her. After the first meeting and about 90 minutes of conversation both were asked if the match was agreeable and each initially said yes, but Zhanyan later had doubts and changed her mind saying, “I just don’t want to be married now”. This led to great embarrassment to her family and especially her father, who later said to her, ‘If you think it is best for you, O.K. don’t marry’.

This struggle between the old and the new, between what was and what is, is not foreign to China. It has in its long history often had to make compromises between where it was and where it wanted to be. The Chinese people are strong, wise, and willing to learn those things that will allow it to take its rightful place as a leader among nations. I would add that one of the best ways to ensure that occurring is for the young to listen to the old and the old to pride themselves on the vigor and fearlessness of the young. As the film about the Civil Rights Movement, “Selma” portrays in its’ title song, “Glory” relates, ”You need the wisdoms of the Elders with young folks energy”, then “One day when the Glory comes”……..

 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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