It is interesting to trace how Americans talked about China in the past few years. They were talking about human rights, then intellectual property rights, then environmental problems, then Tibet. And at the same time, they are amazed by what is happening in Beijing and Shanghai, and they couldn’t stop talking about those shopping malls, clubs, Sichuan food, and oriental culture. Hosting the Olympics Game and World Expo doesn’t make you the most developed country in the world, and China obviously is not there yet. But it does attract tons of eyeballs. It attracts praises as well as criticism.
Every country has its own problems and issues. Sometimes I feel one has no right to comment on other country’s problem if first of all, you actually have exactly the same problem, and second of all, you have no idea what is really going on on the other side of the world. I read “Snow“ a while back, the Nobel Prize winning book by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. I am not a big fan of the political part of the novel, but there is this one quotation that really caught my eyes: “If you write a book set in Kars and put me in it, I’d like to tell your readers not to believe anything you say about me, anything you say about any of us. No one could understand us from so far away.”
It is a brilliant quotation. And I couldn’t stop but thinking, it is very true that we can’t understand someone from so far away, but do we really understand ourselves and each other, even when we’re actually so close?