Euclid Av. 那天晩上是 National entertainers business and Tech
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,
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
L.C. Woodsde 的文章與分享。
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
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,
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”……..