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Recently I came across an expression, “Banana man”, yellow on appearance but all white inside.
Whoever coined this expression may also sufferer from the same psychological illness, from which most of us Chinese have been suffering in the past few hundred years. We Chinese have been going through some really tough time in China’s descending from its pinnacle in Tang (part of Sung as well) dynasty to the absolute misery and humiliation in the 19th and most part of the 20th centuries. The ‘barbarians’ just kept coming, and eventually had the upper hand. First came the “Jins”, then the “Mongols”, the “Qings”, and finally all the westerners, including the Japanese, a pupil of Chinese who copied everything from China in the past.
The confidence of Chinese was running at the lowest level until the fairly recent recovery. Such a lack of confidence exhibits itself in two extreme forms, the absolute admiration for Western cultures on one hand and the absolute denial of it on the other. Often our psyche swings violently between these two.
When confidence running low, we become so feared of Western cultures, afraid that they are going to replace our own, making us a ‘banana man’. This fear often turns us into a denial mindset, refusing to accept whatever strength the ‘barbarians’ may bring into our culture, until they knock our doors down. We then are faced with the reality and often turn into the other extreme, absolute admiration for Western cultures.
History may teach us that the one that dares to open its door and dares to embrace foreign cultures feels itself the strongest one, and often in the end actually becomes the strongest. Our own experience in the Tang dynasty is a good example in which Western cultures, Buddhism in this case, was treated as 经 "Jing”. Yet historians agree that Tang was then arguably the most powerful nation in the world in wealth, culture, and military.
So is the United States now, which is nothing but a full mixture of cultures from all over the world, built on the foundation of Western cultures, but greatly enhanced by others.
When the “banana man’ dares to openly and confidently swallow other contents, white, black or yellow, and wrap them all under his yellow skin, he will be strong again as he was in the days of Tang Dynasty. I am confident that China will eventually out grow the heritage of Confucius, dump its white Marxism, and become daring to embrace other cultures under its yellow skin.
One type of ‘banana man’ I was ashamed of becoming was the one who threw out all Chinese heritage and replaced it with the invention of Marx. How could we get any whiter inside than a Chinese Marxist? Also I want to question how much yellow content mainland Chinese still have these days given all the culture heritage has been so systematically destroyed by the Chinese Marxists in the past century, and history textbooks have been so systematically distorted with the view of a Marxist? In our growing up, were we educated with Chinese culture or with Marxism? I figure we were , and still are, much more of Marxist than Chinese. As such, whatever we do today, we will not be any more ‘banana man’ than what we already are. Ironic, is it?