Have been doing something very few people would have thought of doing these days – discussing about the protests and demonstrations in Mainland China lately, with some Japanese colleagues.
The first person I have discussed this matter with was Natsuko. We are different kinds of people, for she has married a foreigner for years and still go back home in Japan for about one month every year, enjoys Japanese and Chinese food most and needs to have Japanese food when she is under pressure or feeling stressed; and I have just left home for a few years, feeling reluctant to go back even though I love Hong Kong very much, and don’t really prefer Chinese food whenever I have choices. Both of us agreed that the people involved have became irrational and too emotional, while she added that it was a shame as we share such similar cultures…… It is quite true. If not because of Cultural Revolution, Chinese would be as courteous and polite, or even more than, Japanese. If not because of simplified Chinese, the Chinese words we use would still be something Japanese long to understand. If not because of the WW II, we might still be more united, as the major force of East Asian economic union…… Also, she believed that the JPC (Chinese people being born and brought up in Japan, or simply called ‘Japan-born Chinese’) would suffer most, both emotionally and even in other aspects. I added that those Japanese students living in China who wants to learn about Chinese culture were also targets, and some of them had actually got hurt. Then Tamon has told me about the current situation in Japan, for he has just arrived here last Wednesday, he was naturally more ‘Japanese’ than most Japanese I know here. He said that the Japanese were still calm after knowing that, and he seemed to have put on hope on the meetings between Japanese Foreign Minister and the Chinese representative. He didn’t say so, but from his expressions and tones, I got this feeling, which could easily be incorrect, I admit. He said that he didn’t know about what would happen later, which subtly guided me to ‘imagine’ that there was something he had expected to see, just not yet happened. He is a local Japanese who has been living there for his whole life, of course I trust his observation. Maybe it is unusual for them being so quiet, so clam in front of such a conflict. The next thing we should be carefully looking at, is how Japanese government tackle this problem, which will consequently affect how the public react next. Maybe I am wrong, and hope that there will be no more bad effects coming.
There is also one thing Natsuko has mentioned, what do people remember and why they remember them. If you do something bad to another person, you can more easily forget what you have done, but the person being hurt could not forget it. It is true, that is why there are different interpretations towards the same historic incident. In fact, history consists of record of events and facts, while such events and facts are not alterable, the interpretations can differ a lot from each other. For example, in history, Indians were the indigenous people living in North America when Europeans arrived and colonised their land, but whether the conflicts between them were American Indian violence or settlers’ brutality depends on whose interpretation it is (Drummond & Yeoman, 2001)’. Poria (2001) classified ‘history’ into ‘positive’, ‘negative’, ‘active’ and ‘passive’ by nature, and as people are ‘forgetful’, active negative history are most likely to be omitted.
She is right. What a shame?!?!?! Shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves, proud of our culture (like the French and Germans do) when people admire our cultures so much they come all the way to learn them? Why can’t people distinguish who are the enemies and who aren’t? I hate nationalism, especially after I have heard of several ‘biased theories’ these days, from conversations I had with some friends. I don’t hate a person because of his / her nationality, and I find it reasonable. Nationalism is another term for racial (national?) discrimination for me.1 Just because we happened to be sufferers somehow, we have the right to discriminate against somebody else? Why do we judge people by their race, their nationality when we don’t want to get judged in the same way? No wonder so many people refused to admit that they were Chinese. If you love your country, love your culture, you should behave in a proper way, showing people you are reasonable, sensible and respectable. Remember a teacher has told me when I was ten, which roughly meant ‘if you don’t respect yourself, no one would respect you.’ True.
Hope we are not only chatting with those who share our believes......
1 For this, I have discussed with a friend, and he advised me not to use such strong wordings. We have had a discussion over ‘what is nationalism and whether it is good or bad’. He was convinced, warning me that as logical and sensible as he was (he was, VERY!), he couldn’t quite accept EMOTIONALLY the fact that nationalism is not something anybody who loved peace should ever want and like, knowing that it was very true. So, I just keep this when I am trying to proofread and revise this essay, so everybody can discuss about it.