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Monday, January 24, 2011

Random Thoughts by China Man

I went to a language exchange meeting over the weekend, where we spent several hours helping each other practice English or Chinese. It was fun & I met a lot of interesting people.

One man was particularly interesting. I guess he was around 65 years old. He'd had a lot of diverse life experiences & was happy to share them with us. He'd been in the army, suffered the Cultural Revolution, seen Shanghai turn into a bustling metropolis, & much more.

He said he had learned to speak five or six foreign languages so that he could have access to books & newspapers that hadn't yet been translated into Chinese. His life philosophy seemed to boil down to this: Knowledge is power.

As I listened to him, he just kept spouting off one great quote after another. I was able to write some of them down, but many more escaped me. Here are just a few.

"Foreign languages are like windows. I live in a black house & I want more light."

"In America, they have a weak government but a strong society. But in China, we have a strong government and a weak society."

"Modern China is made by Japan."


scott said...

Those are nice quotes. I wonder if the last is because they feel competitive with their successful neighbor...

Nancy Lewis said...

There's definitely some of that going on. China is trying to learn from Japan in its fight for modernization. But there's also a bitter hatred between the two countries, mostly coming from the side of China. Japan did some pretty atrocious things to China around the time of World War II & has yet to apologize for them. Because of that, China holds a deep resentment for everything Japanese.

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