Archive for July 18th, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hermit: When You Stop at an Old Friend’s Farmhouse…

Hello Children,

Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly: You've seen the Future

Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly: You've seen the Future

here is another bit of cultural training for you. If you want to have a good relationship and good business with China later on, when you have grown up, there are only a few rules to follow, as shown in this reception for American preparatory high school students by our chairman Hu Jintaolast Friday. It’s never too early to learn, so here goes…

It was an unprecedented meeting, as our chairman was welcoming ordinary people to Zhongnanhai, but also, the way it went was mostly very precedented, and hallowed by tradition (except for the hugs). Look at this dialog!

“Glad to see you again,” said Hu, who was all smiles. “I am delighted to welcome you to Zhongnanhai.”

“We are very honored and very happy,” the students said.

Very precedented indeed. When you are very honored and very happy, everyone will be happy. Of course, you need to feel very honored, and not only happy.

Speaking in front of the Zhanxulou (The Pavilion of Placid Leisure), the students told Hu about their experiences in China and the feelings those had left them with.

To make sure about a cordial and placid meeting, don’t bother your Chinese counterpart (let alone our chairman) with stories about  people who greeted you with a funny-sounding HELLO? (if you travelled outside Beijing, anyway), and don’t think of this as a meeting where you are supposed to talk. To give our chairman a painting depicting a panda, the Great Wall and high-rise buildings in the US may be acceptable, even if “Grandpa” is not exactly the appropriate way to address our chairman.

An Old Friend's Farmhouse, CCTV Xinwen Lianbo, July 15, 2011 (click on this picture for video)

An Old Friend's Farmhouse, CCTV Xinwen Lianbo, July 15, 2011 (click on this picture for video)

If you are presented with a present by our chairman or any other important personality in our country, as he or she is aware of your humble birthday, give the whole world around you a look of astonishment, repeating the words “thank you” again and again.

Don’t take offense if a scholar, in a Huanqiu Shibao article, uses our chairman’s (or any other important Chinese personality’s) cordial reception for you as an example of how much our country cherishes good relations with the outside world and your country, while accusing your president of wanting to tear China apart, by accepting a spectacled dangerous monk‘s visit in the White House’s map room. Instead, you must understand the difference between our leadership which is full of love for the Tibetans, the Taiwanese, the Uyghurs, and the rest of the world (including your country).

While we are at it, don’t mention any unhappy issues when meeting an important Chinese personality. Don’t even apologize for your own president’s unruly behavior. Rather, show by your actions that you understand the real China.

To recite a Tang poem like Meng Haoran‘s (孟浩然) “Stopping at an Old Friend’s Farmhouse” is quite alright when meeting a central CCP cadre or leader, but consider refraining from reciting that kind of stuff when meeting urban cadres (local ones, that is), unless you know that they share the leadership’s concern for the countryside. You may come across as poor and stupid county bumpkins otherwise.

Also, refrain from singing the wrong songs at the wrong time. Sometimes, the time is right for a song or a recital, sometimes it’s not. What is sometimes pleasant, may be unpleasant at other times. In case of a doubt, check sensitives recitals with the CCP propaganda department in advance, before meeting our important personalities.

Your unforgettable reception by our chairman, or any other important Chinese personality, will help you to reciprocate in the right way, by defending China against insults from and in your country, once you are back. As our chairman honors you with so much of his precious time, you should reciprocate many-fold, as reciprocity and loyalty are value cherished by the Chinese people. Once you are back in America (some time later this month),

  • participate in phone-in shows frequently, especially if China is the topic, but otherwise, too. I mean, who cares about topics. China always matters.  Tell the host how good China is, how deep your impressions are, and how shameful America’s reply to China’s generosity is
  • write letters to the editors of your country’s newspapers, especially when China was the topic in an insulting way, and put everything straight
  • tell all your friends and family that China is the future, and that you’ve seen it
  • An old Chinese saying says 知行合一 (zhī xíng hé yī) which means the unity of knowledge and action. Don’t only tell people that China is the future, but act accordingly in whichever way. Submission is the best way to show that you know where the power is.
  • If your own country’s president, or any other important American personality, should ever receive Chinese students in a way similar to the way our Chinese chairman received you, please understand that your president’s action is just a cheap propaganda stunt, and changes nothing about your government’s hostile intentions toward us, the Chinese people. Use all the afore-mentioned methods to call your leaders’ bluff.

Be a true friend of the Chinese people. Learn from Norman Bethune, Joan Hinton (she was occasionally embarrassing, but a true friend of the Chinese people all the same), or Lisa Carducci.

Actually, Lisa Carducci is a particularly good example of how to be a great friend of the Chinese people. While it isn’t right to mention unpleasant things when meeting an important Chinese personality, it is good to show by your action that you disagree with your own bad government when it acts against China.

Carducci has always been forthright in her opinion. When the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was bombed in 1999, she wrote an article saying that the United States was responsible.

Of course, your opinion must not only be forthright. It must also be the correct opinion. If you expose yourselves to our venerable civilization long enough, you will hardly make any mistakes anymore. In fact, you may become almost as civilized as those HELLO? sayers in our more rural streets.

Basically, so long as you understand that the CCP and China are the same thing, at least you won’t commit grave mistakes, and you can’t really misjudge a situation completely.

And your business with China will stride from profit to profit.

That’s my lesson for today, dear children. Remember: you’ve seen the future, and it’s China. Or: when you stop at an old friend’s farmhouse, say nothing wrong.



» Tibet: the CCP sighs with Emotion, July 17, 2011
» Cui Tiankai on South China Sea: Keep it Simple, June 24, 2011
» Hu Jintao’s U.S. Visit: Vivid Micronisms, January 21, 2011
» America’s Dirty Helping Hand, August 12, 2010
» “Stopping at an Old Friend’s Farmhouse”, Yingyu Daxue

Monday, July 18, 2011

Award Chaos: No “Quadriga” for Nobody

“Workshop Germany” (Werkstatt Deutschland), a non-profit organization based in Berlin-Charlottenburg, has an award in store for those who commit themselves successfully to innovation, renewal, and a pioneering spirit through political, economic, and cultural activities – the Quadriga. German and international artists, activists, and quite a number of  politicians, have been laureates since 2003. Of all former German chancellors who are still alive, only Helmut Schmidt has missed out on the prize so far, even though one might argue that both Schmidt and former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing would have deserved the prize for pioneering the European Currency Unit. (Maybe the workshop is waiting for a ready-for-use solution to the current Euro crisis from the two.) José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission’s president, on the other hand, got his Quadriga in 2009. God and the jury may know why.

And Vladimir Putin and the jury may know why Russia’s current prime minister (and former and possibly future president) was one of the chosen people this year. Actually, the jury was kind enough to give us their reasons: to honor Putin’s merits in German-Russian relations’ “reliability and stability”.

The Green party’s co-chairman Cem Özdemir left the jury, protesting against the choice. Several previous laureates either returned their prize, or threatened to do so, among them Former Czechoslovakian and Czech president Vaclav Havel. Most of the German press was negative, too.

Late last week, the workshop decided to cancel the 2011 award altogether. Neither Putin, nor the other laureates-to-be would receive a prize this year, even though the other choices, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa and Turkish-German author Betül Durmaz, were not contested.

Frankly, this year was the first time that I have even heard of the Quadriga prize at all. There are too many prizes to keep track of them, and the European award culture – as far as I’m aware of it, and with the possible exceptions of the Nobel Peace Prize and the EU Parliament’s Sakharov award – has started to look like the kind of “quality” prizes German agricultural associations or folk music trades habitually award within their own mishpokhe, to adorn their own commercials with them later on.

There’s no meaningful prize without a clear set of values behind it.  Business interests are no such values. They may be an honorable motivation for an award, too, but only if they are consistent with an organization’s policy.


» Article seeks Author, December 29, 2010
» Saxony’s Order of Gratitude Award to Putin, The Guardian, January 16, 2009


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