Western Civilization from A Chinese Perspective
I don’t mean to bore you with that academic title but I feel like I need to say something. My background is very unique. I have a foot in both the Eastern and the Western spheres. Apparently, this is not as common as one might think. Even though there are many Chinese immigrants in Canada and the US there are three things preventing them from becoming, well, someone like me.
- They might be assimilated. Millions of black slaves came to North America in the 1600’s. How much of the African culture did they bring over? Zip, nona. At the very most, very little. Why? Because of assimilation. They all had to speak English and dress like their white masters and behave a certain way. Modern immigrants face similar conditions though less severe. So many of the Chinese immigrants just keep their heads down and try to fit in.
- They might stay in their shells. Many Chinese immigrants go the other extreme. They stay with what they know and do not venture out. They talk to non-Chinese people when they absolutely have to and tend to stay within their communities. In this way they are just Chinese living in self-imposed ghettos. With better food of course.
- They may not care. Very few immigrants may have the ability to operate comfortably in both arenas but they frankly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about it. They are too involve and too busy to do anything about bridging the gap or create mutual understanding or anything of the sort. They do not feel they have a responsibility to do anything about status quo.
Zen Wang is none of the above. I am not assimilated. I will tell you straight in your face of what I think is wrong with the West. I am not staying in my Chinese shell. I surround myself with non-Chinese and we talk about cross culture issues all the time. I definitely care about what is going on in the world and I devote a large part of my life to create more understanding among different cultures and peoples.
So now you know who I am, here is my two cents about the state of the union in the West from an Easterner’s view point.
One: The West knows something is wrong but is too proud to ask for help. No one in the West in under the illusion of “Our way of life is perfect” anymore. But they have no idea of what to do. They need someone to slap them on their forehead and say: “Ask for Help, you dumbass!” The rest of the world have survived and thrived for tens of thousand of years. We have a lot of experience for success and failures. We can tell you what worked and what didn’t. You don’t have to go at it alone. Frankly we will get much further by helping each other than competing with each other all the time.
Two: The West is too arrogant to learn from others. The West is behaving like Mr. Perfect, Mr. Know-it-All and Mr. Universe all at once. The West is unwilling to move from the throne. By admitting there are things to learn from others the West feels like they will be laughed at and ridiculed by others. This is what happens when you let a group of smelly old men control the fate of your civilization. Let a few women into the old boy’s club. They will smack you and tell you to ask for direction when you are lost.
Three: Unchecked, the West will work against itself to a point of no return. At the current rate it does not look hopeful for the West. The powerhouse countries are breaking at the seams. The fellowship in EU is becoming disillusioned. Stupidity is keep doing the same things and expect different results. So unless there is a Revolution at the very high level of the governments and corporate headquarters the future does not look great.
Sorry for being a Doom-Sayer. but Zen calls what he sees. If no one tells you that you are f**ked does that mean you are not f**ked? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Western World. I think it has great potential. I just don’t think it should stop growing.
Now, what can one do? Great question. Lots of things you can do. But first start thinking for yourself. Detach from the system and their propaganda machine. Explore other alternatives of “The Ideal Lifestyle”; Learn from other cultures; Ask for help more often when you are stuck. Most importantly, be an individual. Make your own conscious choices in life. Wake up from the dream they tell you that you are dreaming!
My sister had a very similar childhood. She started a company called Route2China. It helps to bridge the chasm between worlds. It helps people in the West understand the East. You can study, work or just live in China for sometime. What a great thing to do! Visit www.route2china.com for more details.
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