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This post was edited by markwu at 2012-1-9 00:59|
I agree with President Hu and share his concerns on the displacement of Chinese culture by western icons and fads.
Chinese culture is more than the ageless soul, artistry, voice, conscience and creativity of the Chinese. It is also one of the greatest, timeless, global treasures of the whole of mankind.
To have that eroded by the passing fashions of crassly commercialized western fancies and flavors of the day is like crumbling an ancient, priceless and irreplaceable archaeological find by primitive handling or through neglect.
It would be almost comical-tragic if we can only popularize our Chinese culture and language more in other countries than in our own!
Just imagine one day a foreigner appears and speaks to us in perfect Mandarin, waxing eloquent on the intricacies and depths of our Chinese culture, literature and the arts and crafts in all their facets but the descendants of the great race whose unbroken history has shaped those magnificent elements don't know how to appreciate what the foreigner is appreciating!
And when we tell the foreigner how we have enjoyed the highly advertised commercial offerings from his country, he will roll his eyes in disbelief, secretly wondering how he would have to be the one who must save the culture he is foreign to from the very people who originated it.
Lest we descend next into semantics on what is Chinese culture, Confucianism, soft power and so on, let us instead take heed of what is happening before our eyes:
For the last forty years, we have bravely taken the plunge towards a market economy. We say it shall have Chinese characteristics. Yet when participating with the rest of the world in this global market economy, we do not realize that in the process of making our minds receptive to what the westerners offer in terms of technologies and techniques, we were also imbibing wholesale and without thought many parts of their ever-changing cultural icons that are alien to the long history of our peoples.
So i ask you - will our national cultural identity be defaced by relentless and mindless chase of the benchmarks of western economic wealth?
So i ask you again - are we so assured today that in doing so we won't one day reach the stage we don't even realize how much of our culture has been lost in the process?
Chasing profits and progress is fine in order to solve survival and revival issues. But in the process of wealth chasing, where shall one find the cultural anchor and compass if not from one's cultural roots that are needed as sources of values to mediate and uplift society and community during challenging times or otherwise in order to maintain cohesiveness, unity, moderation and wisdom?
Yes, one's culture is a symbolic agglomeration of collective wisdom and spirit accumulated over the eons. The China of today is also made by the China's of the past. The wisdom and spirit built from sacrifice of millions in the past are the wisdom and spirit carried on today into all the tomorrow's to come.
If we cannot appreciate this, foreign influence has already made inroads into our minds.
Ponder carefully what i have written here.
It remains to be said many things can be done to uplift our Chinese culture and take it to new heights.
The success of the globalization of western cultures is because of their prowess in selling and distributing their ideas, beliefs and portrayals. They have extensive media power. They have perfected the science and art of branding. They have measured impacts and returns of advertising. They have inserted subliminal messages into nuances and created instant plug-and-play cultures but laced with their anthropocentric elements. Since money talks, people tend to gravitate to their big budget offerings while our higher, deeper and more profound creations are rendered musty and dusty in the small corners of the minds of our passing generations.
Shall we then emulate them and globalize our culture as a step to heightening our own acculturation? We can but how we proceed to do it must be done carefully because their entrepreneurs and geo-politicians are also clever to see opportunities to make another killing on us out of our new initiatives. Do not just acquire without careful prior due diligence. Understudy and simulate first what are the success factors needed to carry on the media-building. Project what counter-measures will be taken against the enterprise once it is seen to be acquired by us. Establish standards of acceptability on everything before spending even one jiao. Work out the content carefully so that it is easily assimilated even when there are generation gaps.
I must take leave here from this topic now - I need to rehearse tomorrow my usual masterly and stirring role in a classical Chinese opera for my next performance somewhere in the thick of Anhui province. The last time i went on stage to crook an eyebrow, pierce a stare, and stroke the red beard, half the women cadres on the front row trembled and swooned. Unfortunately most of you would have still been in the NONS stage to have gained any admiring acquaintance of the great operatic genius of Qian Qiang.