I’ve never considered myself to be a good writer, so I am going to write more.
As I lie here in my white walled apartment smack in the middle of China, I begin to reflect on the time I experienced here so far.
When I started my teaching degree, over five years ago, I was determined to teach somewhere overseas. It wasn’t until about a year ago when I realized that my aspirations would take me to an almost 1.4 billion person population with the world’s emerging greatest economy. So here I am.
Being in China has afforded me stable employment, which has consequently given me time to think. It amazes me that the time I now have has enabled me to process and reflect on my life more.
For instance, I no longer feel the need to meditate like I did in Canada. I noticed the trend in the West was to adopt and commercialize certain aspects of the east, such as meditation. Whereas here I am, in a city of over 10 million people, and I feel more at peace than I did when I was in a city of not even 400,000.
I think for most of my life I have underestimated the importance of stable employment. After being in university for nearly 9 years, living on a tight budget was just a way of life.
With my extra time in China, I have taken to learning a number of different perspectives. Recently, I have been learning about Ayn Rand’s “objectivism”, which seemed to me to be the opposite of communist ideals. I have also been learning about China’s mindset, history, and position in the global economy thanks to Kishore Mahbubani . It amazes me how different China’s history is from the West, yet, as China evolves it takes lessons from the West in order to adapt and grow into what will likely become the world’s most powerful economy.
Perhaps one thing in particular that stands out to me is “the China perspective”. Unlike the United States of America, China does not have a history of proselytizing (a fancy word I learned recently which means to convert or attempt to convert from one belief to another…) like America does. For more information, check out Kishore’s talk at Harvard.
I think the concept that one of the greatest countries in the world does not force their will or ideologies upon others is remarkable. Because for the past 250 years or so, that has been America’s core thrust into global dominance.
To be honest, I prefer learning from a country with this type of mindset. China reminds me of a silent warrior. And if you think about it, even the “heroes” that have come from China’s pop culture are the same. For example, let’s compare kung fu movies to American action movies. While American action movies are filled with big explosions, lots of weapons, and one man saving the day, kung fu movies tend to revolve around one person using their hands to fight against villains (PS. I am totally stealing from Susan Cain’s book called “Quiet…”, you should check it out – or this YouTube video if you don’t have time to start a new amazing book).
There are a few highlighted situations in the Western media today on Sino-Western relations. With these cases in mind, it is easy to consider that relations between China and Canada are not strong. Based on my experiences and research so far, but I do not believe this is the case. Foreigners, especially Canadians, continue to be respected everywhere I go. The Chinese are very polite and curious about Canada, and many of my students continue to wish to study there.
Without getting into details, I believe that the West is jealous of China’s economic success and is scared about their eventual economic dominance. However, China is a very different country than the current superpower, the USA (namely as mentioned above).
All in all, there are many things that have brought me to this moment. My experiences in Canada were invaluable and I am forever grateful for what I have learned and achieved. Those experiences have brought me to where I am today. Sitting in a white walled apartment smack in the middle of the world’s soon to be biggest economy. And to be frank, I like it here.