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It's hard enough for foreigners, but here's a question. Can Chinese people understand their own culture these days? I've lived here 8 years, there are many things I understand. I have learnt more about the Japanese Occupation, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Confucius, Taoism and many other areas of Chinese history than most of my university students. I'm not saying I understand China, I haven't been everywhere in China nor mingled with all levels of social groups. |
However, when I ask my students, what is your culture today? It leads to a lot of students unsure of how to describe it, lots of debate, many different opinions and many students at a loss for an answer. The same could be said for many people from many countries in the world.
So do I understand China? More than most but not completely. I understand where the two faced lying nature comes from, I also know why it is there, given the history of China last century, and that it can be broken down with the right understanding and approach.
But that's the best part of living in China, it's culture is so complex, has changed so much in the last 60 years, isn't sure of itself and is changing so rapidly that it's fascinating to watch and discuss with my university students.