Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Asking for it.

Politics and I have never gotten along well. I have never felt the need to read the paper or watch the news to find out more about who is running my country or any other. And hence my knowledge of politics is equal to that of a eight year old who can name the Prime minister, the President and other important heads (I wouldn't be surprised if I got even those wrong, I discovered only ten minutes back that Gordon Brown was the Prime minister of England).

Given that deliverance, China's political attitude pisses me off. No, wait. That could be an unfair generalization.
The political attitude of the Chinese people I know pisses me off. It infuriates me to the point of wanting to slap them back to their senses but the Father of my country taught me non-violence (I know something). Every Chinese person I know has this condescending know-it-all tone when they talk about Taiwan and Tibet. They think both those "pieces of land" belong to them and that they hold no significance or meaning by themselves. I've even witnessed statements like "Taiwan is just a game piece between Japan and China." and "The Tibetans will not survive without us."
It is not easy for Taiwanese and Chinese to travel between the two countries. (It doesn't solve anything at all if you cordon off your geographical boundaries. If you want to stop co-operating with another government simply because they didn't succumb to you, then you need to go to political kindergarten.)
Displaying the Tibetan flag is banned and is a punishable offense in China. (This may sound dramatic but I have a friend who's uncle runs shelters in Tibet for children. These children are ill-treated (READ: have eyes poked out) by the Chinese locals for petty crimes that were poverty-driven.)

The last I discussed about this was yesterday night with an Israeli and a Taiwanese. Like the Taiwanese so graciously pointed out, we're all allowed to have different political views. She also went on to say that they (Chinese) are educated to think that way. (The Israeli said just one word, Kashmir.) But no, the purpose of education is not to make you think a certain way. We are educated to make us aware of the facts and ways of the world so that we can form opinions for ourselves about what is acceptable and not. Our generation is often talked about as the one that is open-minded and advanced. We often criticize our parents' generation for being single-minded, conservative and not progressive in their views (especially of dating, sex etc). Then why don't the current generation of Chinese (that I know) extend that progressive logic to the way their country is handling political issues? Why don't they see that Taiwan is happier without their constant hovering about and Tibet doesn't want to be run by them?

The world is organized into countries because we all have different cultures and views and it is easier to govern a similar group of people within a certain geographical reach. That is all there is to a country. Patriotism and national pride are not about yes-bossing to your country's views. It is simply about being happy that you are from wherever and you are happy indulging in your culture. That's that. Developing prejudices (like India and Pakistan) and going on a power trip (like China and USA) will never make sense to me, political or otherwise.

NYC is mon amour.

Color: Saffron
Song: Calabria

6 comments:

Shri said...

Now that you have started following politics, you might want to read about Communism. :-)

Deepu Vasudevan said...

@Shri,

More like politics are following me around :P
But yes, I will read up on that.

avestin said...

I have a not a very constructive note to add (that's all I seem to be able to contribute these days...) that this attitude you speak of is to be found in other countries where a geographical "dispute" is occurring. You should hear right-wing Israelis speak of what is referred to as the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

prashanth bhat said...

The notion that the current generation is open minded is one perpetrated by a few groups which thrives on consumerism of my generation. A survey sometime back revealed that the current generation are leaning more towards religion (This doesn't mean that not leaning towards relegion is a sign of open mindedness but I firmy think that religion leaves a lot of questions unanswered for an open mind to be comfortable with) than our elder generations. Education which is devoid of an opportunity to form free opinion is no education at all. At the same time it is to be noted that the current society which is intellectually insecure (This is no sweeping generalisation) tends to find comfort in jingoistic emotions which provides more comfort to the intellectually starved mind. An exception to this is not necessarily a proof to the contrary.
There are deep rooted reasons as to why we begin to identify ourselves with inanimate things like geographic boundaries and the like but what is certain is that this is something which we will never be able to erase from our societies. For a long time I used to believe that the right education was where the solution existed but no education can overturn such harsh conditioning of mind and society. There is no antidote to stupidity.

Sandeep said...

I strongly agree to your views esp the way you've summarized..

btw NYC?
coz it's multi-cultural or ... ??

mon amour - Bangalore ;)

Deepu Vasudevan said...

@Assaf,

Wherever there are disputable geographic boundaries, there are stubborn people who are hard to reason with.

@Prashant

I infer that you believe that the current generation is not progressive and open-minded. While I personally don't have an opinion on that, I have met numerous people who *think* that they're open-minded. It is them that I have an issue with.

I completely agree with your comment on the society's intellectual insecurities being satisfied with jingoistic emotions. Case in point being Bhindra's recent win making people more proud than appropriate for the situation.

And as long as we let education teach how to think, our opinions will be biased and stunted. There is an antidote to stupidity. We're yet to find it, thats all.

@Sandeep

Thanks :)
NYC because people just let others be.