Friday, October 30, 2009

China Thoughts, Part II

Part I

I took a lot of history classes during undergrad at UCLA. Someone, probably a non-engineer, decided that engineering students can't read or write well so they required us to take several non-technical classes. For Electrical Engineering majors, the requirement was more strict; we had to take either history 1A/1B/1C or humanities. I chose the history series (Western Civilization) since there were still some facts involved. I did pretty well in those classes even though most of my papers consisted of pulling quotes from the reading material.

Anyway, after taking the 3 required history classes, I decided to continue with several upper level Chinese history classes. All together, I think I took a total of 8 history classes at UCLA and probably could have minored in history if I stayed another quarter.

The last history class I took focused on modern Chinese history from the late 1800's. I don't remember the exact topics or lecture contents but I remember I felt a great sadness for my people. The Han people were beaten by the Mongols, Manchus, a bunch of Western countries, Japanese, and finally ourselves in one tragedy after another (including communism).

With all this "history" or "baggage" depending on your POV, I really didn't like the most recent National Day celebration in China. It was pitched as the 60th anniversary of the motherland and gave the impression that China = Communism. I feel that my definition of "China" and "Chinese" is no less valid than the official CCP version on display. However, it's hard to communicate this to the people I know in China. How do you tell people living inside a box that there is a bigger world out there if they can't see out of the box?

No comments: