Posted files under ‘cultural differences

Chinese Cheaters? Pt. 2

Let me set the record straight. I am a very opinionated person and whether I am sitting in front of a keyboard or discussing an issue with another person, I can get very passionate about my ideals. I am a citizen of the United States where I am entitled to my opinion, as is everyone else, which is why I respect and am open to all feedback whether positive or negative. I just do not tolerate blatant ignorance, especially if you stereotype against a group of people whose culture and traditions are completely different from yours. Unless you truly understand what it is like to live in the other culture, do not generalize them and their culture.

I am not a hippie, nor do I hate the United States, nor am I ashamed of my Chinese heritage. I have very liberal viewpoints because I am from a working-class immigrant family and I was born and raised in San Francisco, arguably the most liberal city in the U.S. I am not anti-corporations because I will be pursuing a career in the corporate world. And to say that I am ashamed of my Chinese heritage is the farthest thing from the truth because I take so much pride in being raised both American and Chinese.

Aren’t the Olympics supposed to be about uniting the world for 2 weeks of friendly competition? I have never seen this much controversy raised during an Olympic games, and most of the issues are blasted against China just because they WERE a Communist nation or maybe merely for the fact that the Chinese culture is just different.

So many issues have arisen from the 2008 games that I feel rather fatigued from listening to the commentators make references to them during the NBC broadcasts every night. It has gotten to the point where I would much rather read the results online before the event is broadcasted in the Pacific Time Zone.

Also, issues that have been circulating on the internet are petty issues and, coming from Americans, hypocritical.

In light of these exciting Games, why are people complaining about “fake” fireworks and a 7-year-old lip-syncing? The United States should be the last country to complain about these things. We are home to “reality shows” that are altered to be more entertaining for the audiences, and well, some of these “reality shows” are not even close to being “real.” The Hills and Keeping Up with the Kardashians are some very “real” shows indeed. But oh dear, “fake” fireworks! Well, that’s just an abomination! And some of the most popular entertainers have been caught lip syncing, i.e. Britney Spears. But if a 7-year-old girl does it, that’s another abomination!

Both the lip-syncer and the actual singer of the opening ceremony have stated that they are honored to take part in the opening ceremony, so why should the rest of the western world be complaining? Because we were deceived into believing it was real? Wake up, America! We are land of the free, plastic surgery, and material wealth.

 Honestly, if the USA gymnastics team won the team gold, there wouldn’t be this much speculation and controversy about the age issue. My previous entry was my retaliation against the ridiculous basis for accusing the Chinese gymnasts of looking too young to compete. I strongly voiced my opinion because I know what it is like to look younger than my real age. It is an unfair accusation, and with no credible proof, it is uncalled for to be making these assumptions and generalizations.

News articles that printed the girls’ ages as 13 or 14 is not exactly the best source of evidence. I have been involved in journalism, and I know for a fact that there can be a lot of misprinting and mistakes, especially if you do not check the facts. If you are going to reference an article, why not also reference the article that quotes He Kexin saying that she does not care what people say about her age because she is 16. If you are going to refer to a mere article for your proof, then it has also been proven many more times that these girls are actually old enough to compete.

It all comes down to differences in Eastern and Western culture. The Chinese government does NOT recruit “slave children” to train into Olympic athletes. Some of the athletes are recruited because their parents were great athletes. Many of these athletes are recruited because they have potential to be great, and they train from a young age because that is how it is in China.

In the United States, we parttake in various extracurriculars as children, and we grow up developing a passion for some of these activities. These are activities on the side of going to school, and for many Olympic athletes, their lives eventually become much more engrossed in their sport, but chances are, their involvement in the sport was derived from an extracurricular.

On the other hand, the Chinese are not like that because it is a difference in culture. The Olympic athletes are trained from a young age, and that is all they do: they train in one activity and go to school on the side. The schools that they attend specialize in that one skill. For example, if your parents determine that you should learn dance, you are sent to a dance school at a young age, and it is at the dance school where you spend most of your time training in your talent, but also receive a compulsory education.

Therefore, to say that the athletes have been “tortured” at a young age is a total misunderstanding. They have been specially trained at a young age, and for a lot of them, it could mean a better way of life for their families in the long run.

Also, the Chinese government is not “evil” and the Chinese people are not being oppressed. Not everyone will be happy with their government, a that includes the people of the United States. I have a lot of family in mainland China. When I first went to China in 1998, I was expecting to see extreme poverty and unhappy, suppressed people, but on the contrary, I saw happy, hospitable people. They’re not restricted from expressing their opinions like you think they are. The government does not control their every action and thoughts. The American standard of living is still higher than the Chinese, which explains the larger wealth gap apparent in China, but all in all, the Chinese people are happy with the direction that their country is heading, and no, the government did not “force” them to say that.

So before anyone else makes anymore generalizations about the Chinese government and people, just remember that your point of view no matter what country you’re from is greatly influenced by your media and politics of your respective countries. Just because a country has a different way of doing things does not make it wrong. We are raised to believe what our culture teaches us, therefore whenever we hear that something is done differently elsewhere, we assume that it is wrong.

Don’t make any assumptions about anything unless you’ve truly seen or experienced it with your own eyes and not through a secondary source like the media.

Keep an open mind. Isn’t the Olympics all about creating worldwide unity? Not controversy.


17 comments August 18, 2008

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