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.