Steve Maobs by Alex Varanese
Alex’s Steve Jobs/Chairman Mao mashup was intended for a Fortune Magazine cover detailing the impact of Apple products on China’s economy, though it was pulled at the last moment.
This post may be a little belated. Things have calmed down. Though the issue has yet to be properly addressed and until then it’s only a matter of time until there are more remonstrations. I am referring to the Diaoyu Islands.
I understand that there is a lot going on around the world. At the moment America is focused on what concerns her the most, the continuous anti-American protests taking place in Muslim nations. (That and the presidential election). However, I must expound on an issue that is, for me, literally hitting close to home.
If my previous articles have failed to convey my current circumstances, I am living in China. Having studied Chinese history in college, I was more than eager to experience this amazing culture first hand. China is a very important country to keep our eyes on. Not to disregard the rest of the world, but considering it’s lengthy imperial past and relatively short socialist history, its position in today’s economic world (while remaining a Communist power) is more than impressive. For such success, China has developed a more Capitalist economy, drawing away from the basic principals of Communism. Though, anyone would tell you that this monetary gain is for the good of China as a whole. Of course, no government is perfect. Unrest dwells amongst her people. China is plagued with multiple issues; pollution, food safety, housing, poverty, and of course the ever-growing population which seems to be at the root of most of her problems. The Chinese government has their work cut out for them.
On September 18, 2012, Japan announced that they are the rightful owners of the Senkaku Islands (known to the Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands), a set of uninhabited islands located in the East China Sea. Their claim dates back to the end of the First Sino-Japanese war. The protests were ignited because September 18th marks the anniversary of Japan’s occupation of Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, in Manchuria. Since then, and through out the 20th century, Japan has exercised their dominance over China in a very sanguinary style, leaving an indelible mark on China and her future generations.
These protests are not about the Diaoyu Islands or what future ventures China might lose if Japan claims these islands as their own. These protests represent decades, a century really, of built up animosity towards their neighboring antagonist. Even though it has been years since any hostile confrontation between the two countries, the atrocities experienced by the Chinese will forever be etched in their minds. And therein lies the problem, not just for China but for any country or being that holds a grudge. Why must we perpetuate the quarrels of our grandparents and further generations? Why does any society deem it important to let these incendiary thoughts echo through out history?
Most people, foreigners especially, would consider these riots and anti-Japanese actions excessive. And not every Chinese person feels that these actions are warranted, even considering their opponent. They are just uninhabited islands. One must understand that there are several layers of underlying issues that occupy the Chinese consciousness on this matter. And what about the Japanese? So insatiable, as to have invaded and taken advantage of an incredibly inferior country for over a century. And after several years of peacetime, now this? I’m not trying to suggest Japan is the bad guy. By no means. But when you’ve been in the winners circle for so long, it becomes difficult to empathise with your opponent. It would appear that Japan has inadvertently dismissed the effect that these recent actions might have on their neighbor. Statements have been made that attest to the surprise of the Chinese riots. In fact, Japan has equally responded to China’s protesting with their own protests.
Since being in China I have noticed a few things. There is still a hierarchical system through which society functions. The newer generations are adopting Western styles, music, and I may go as far to say culture (well, their own conception of Western culture anyway). Yet, at the same time, there is still a significant amount of distance kept from foreigners (which I may expound upon at a later date). For the most part, China is still very traditional. Keeping this in mind, one may understand how difficult it is for this country to put the past behind them.
The Streetart Footprint Tree by DDB Shanghai
Created for China’s Environmental Protection Foundation to increase awareness of carbon emissions, DDB Shanghai draped a massive 12.6 meter long by 7 meter wide canvass displaying a sprawling bare tree across a busy intersection. A large, environmentally-friendly dyed sponge was placed on each side of the road and when pedestrians walked through it they added green footprints to the tree’s branches, helping it to grow with the power of their toes. Watch it sprout leaves in the video below:
Ignorance Is Bliss: A New Interpretation
To most people this saying refers to unwanted knowledge of something bad that has happened or could happen. You’re better off not knowing what someone has done or the current situation. I’m not disputing this. I want to propose a new angle.
Apply this saying to your life, to your thoughts.
Abandon your ideas of what should or shouldn’t be.
If you free yourself of your perceptions and misconceptions how can you not be content? If you don’t assign an expectation to every aspect of your life, then you can enjoy it.
Don’t try to control life, let it happen to you.
As I prepare for this journey to the other side of the world, I remember this Taoist saying:
The great way is not difficult
if you don’t cling to good or bad
Just let go of your preferences
and everything will be perfectly clear
Bruce Lee has also been quoted saying something similar (which you can find in my quotes on Facebook). Needless to say, I have had to let go of a great deal lately. And my own perceptions and preferences will be further challenged as I try to make a life for myself abroad. Originally frightening, this change has become refreshing and I welcome it like the rain that nourishes my soul and the life around me.
Have you noticed that those who have the most stressful lives are the ones who expect things to be a certain way? They can’t accept change or other perspectives. Let’s be like water my friends.