Learning to Love Chinese People

It’s not as if I ever felt nothing for the land of my forefathers. I spoke Chinese first and never gave it up as I acquired English. I am proud of the Chinese language(s) and historical and cultural heritage, and not in the manner of those who shout slogans without knowing what it is to be Chinese – you know, the “AzN PrYdE” people.

And so I take classical Chinese courses – though my first semester’s performance is not worth mentioning – and read and sing and everything.

But I, I feel both a certain closeness and a certain alienation to the people that peoples the homeland of my ancestors. Closeness, because I will never feel wholly at home in the ethos of America alone and care particularly, not just generally, about the future of that nation, even if for me it isn’t the centre of all under heaven. Alienation, because proximity breeds easy disgust with many things.

Honour and shame. Chinese history has much to celebrate and much to grieve. I’m sure the prophets of Israel must have been both thankful for God’s grace to His chosen people and sometimes ashamed to be counted among them who forsook the Lord time and time again.

And so, I alternate between hope and sorrow; 吾之於國也,望悲焉耳矣. To know to grieve takes little effort. Everyone knows Chinese people are afflicted with a curse of greed, anyone who has seen things like this, anyone who has seen people gamble themselves away, the toll this has taken in the community. And so, as with Daniel regarding God’s people Israel, how obvious it is that we need to mourn and repent!

And yet how easy it always is to look upon others with contempt and not with compassion, how hard to look on in love and not scorn! To learn to revile sin as God hates sin and care for people as God loves people is to learn theosis.

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10 responses to “Learning to Love Chinese People

  1. A tangential note, but have you read some of the Sino-Platonic papers? There’s one particular one which argues for a relationship between Old Chinese and Proto-Indo-European (not necessarily genetic).

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  2. On materialism, I do not think it is pronounced with the Chinese but is present in every culture and is apparent once we get familiar enough. Certainly there are also exceptions to the norm.

    FIDDLER ON THE ROOF has been my perennial favorite of all musicals and I have always greatly enjoyed, nay, loved, the satiric lyrics and music of If I were a Rich Man.

    Here’s materialism illustrated:

    I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
    Right in the middle of the town.
    A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
    There would be one long staircase just going up,
    And one even longer coming down,
    And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

    Acceptance from others is a more compelling reason to acquire than plain need. Some call it power. I just love this stanza!

    The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
    They would ask me to advise them,
    Like a Solomon the Wise.
    “If you please, Reb Tevye…”
    “Pardon me, Reb Tevye…”
    Posing problems that would cross a rabbi’s eyes!
    And it won’t make one bit of difference if i answer right or wrong.
    When you’re rich, they think you really know!

    But then the writer also remembers,

    If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack
    To sit in the synagogue and pray.
    And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
    And I’d discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
    That would be the sweetest thing of all.

    🙂

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  3. @ galoisien: No, I haven’t read any.

    @ atmyleisure: That, too, is true. It’s just much more obvious when people will, for the sake of their money, consign others to slavery by the investments and life choices they make. Greed always creates blindness, whether you call it myopia or coldness.

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  4. Pingback: Chinese History

  5. I Love chinese people

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  6. What’s wrong with you again? This page ranks high on Google, so I recommend you delete your falsely negative entries about China.

    Chinese people are among the hardest-working people on Earth. Currently China’s working overtime on picking itself back up on the world stage: if you are Chinese, please do some research before you start calling us Cursed by Greed!

    The average Chinese citizen in China has a 30% saving rate, and no debt. Citizens work 12-hour days for a few dollars.

    If you look at a few Chinese in your neighborhood and think they represent our entire race, then you need to get out more.

    Sorry for my tone, but your page ranks up there on Google, and it’s not cool with me.

    你是不是一位中國人嗎﹖﹗

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    • Of the fact that Chinese people work hard there is no doubt. Our country has had a lot of troubles piled on by foreign powers’ merciless greed in the past, first by European countries, then by Japan. Having suffered so much, we unsurprisingly want to restore our own confidence and show ourselves a great people, honoured by all.

      This is not to say, however, that greed isn’t a particular problem to keep watch on as we attain – and even flaunt – our dreams. It would be ironic for us Chinese people to continue our destruction by the same motivation as the one that drove foreigners to pillage China unscrupulously.

      Chinese diligence is commendable. Yet, lest we credit an oppressive regime for that (if you were thinking of that at all), let me link an article by Bao Tong about China’s current economic stature in the world.

      Lastly, please check your Chinese syntax if you wish to impugn my identification with the Chinese people: 是不是……嗎 is definitely an ungrammatical yes-no question structure.

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  7. Yeh, because white American Christians don’t have any greed at all. All the Chinese people I know work their butts off, and then they live on much less than they make so they can put the money into a business or into their kids education, sometimes living two and three families in a home that most Americans would complain about. I do not know your race. If you are white, you should be ashamed. If you are Chinese, you should be doubly ashamed. The fact that you profess Christianity explains a lot.

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    • I’m just very ambivalent about the way Chinese culture is, but I could say the same about American culture. There’s a lot to appreciate about both – you’re dead on about Chinese people complaining less, for instance – but at times I can feel very misanthropic too, or at least I feel the weight of the debris that’s often covered up the good in Chinese civilization.

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