The previous post is probably a little bit too judgemental. I have not spent much time in China, nor I interacted with a significant number of Chinese to claim that I can understand this society. It is an enormous country that does have a troubling past. The present situation can only be understood with a perspective of the past. China’s urbanisation happened over 30 years. That’s a project that none of the countries in the world have seen before. Yesterday, I was listening to an interview on China, and one thought struck me – Chinese don’t have time to stop and wonder what is good and what is not. First, they need to adapt to the changes and grasp the opportunities. It is true – things are changing here rapidly. Knowing that the past was painful and full of suffering and turmoil – Western world occupations, Chinese civil war, Japanese invasion…the current situation of economic growth and urbanisation seems like a progress and a much better place to be compared to what has been before. Yet, I believe, time will come when these people will recognize that something is being lost in the rush.
I started reading Peter Hessler’s book “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze”. The book was written sometime around 1996-1998. There Hessler points that only 2% of Chinese are educated.
Yesterday I decided to undertake a mini research and ask my colleague some questions about her parents and their education. Here are my findings: her parents have only graduated from the middle school, her sister has only finished primary school, the children she grew up with in the village mostly just finished primary school and then entered the workforce.
The situation, of course, is changing now in China. Alina said that 10 years of schooling is now required for every kid. Despite this, the majority of people who are my age and older would mostly not be properly educated. When I see all of those I-phones, BMWs, and other luxury items – it is somewhat hard to believe those facts. Yet, money does not equal knowledge, understanding or quality of life. When I was an intern for SA kids, Emas gave a lecture on Eastern Europeans who could have all of the fancy clothes and gadgets, yet have nothing to eat. It is all about creating a perception.
The world is different and the same on this side of the globe.