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Archive for November 2008

China, which had been going through its slump period for a long time, has started to make movements of change. They are rapidly absorbing new ideas from the world and creating their own unique culture to become one of the powerful countries. In this period of change, many young Chinese are working to find a way to lead their country in the mixture of old and new ideas. Sometimes this trend of changes in China work against the young generation but other times they work out nicely to help out young Chinese to achieve their goals. From the video “Young and Restless In China” I watched the life stories of several young Chinese. Their stories of conflicts that happen in ‘growing’ China were interesting to watch. Now I’m about to answer three questions related to this video.

1. Why do you think Miranda Hong describes her generation of Chinese as “confused”?
A. China is going through transitional period from old traditional Chinese culture to modern and global culture. The new generation that is leading China today has to compensate the traditional and the new ideals of Chinese. The old idea of Maoism emphasized the communist society as a whole but the new ideas pursue wealth and good life. The new and old ideas are clashing with each other so the people of leading generation have to make hard decisions in their course of life. The sudden and rapid changes are making Miranda’s generation confused.
2. Why do you think the Chinese government has nicknamed the young people coming home from abroad “returning turtles?”
A. Young Chinese are ‘returning’ to their home country in large numbers, like a school of animals. The government probably named them ‘turtles’ because they cross the pacific ocean to come to their homeland. People from young generation would have received higher education and had job experiences in advanced countries like America. Because they have open mind and new ideas, these young Chinese have ambitions to improve China to compete with other advanced countries while also earning a lot of money. They would use their knowledge about technology, architecture, business management, etc. to turn China into one of the strongest country in the world. This is probably one of the main reasons why these young people return to China. Another important reason would be to live near their families. Traditional Chinese ideas value family love and expect the sons and daughters to look after their parents once they get old. We could see from the videos that sometime young people give up pursuing their goals to take care of their parents.
3. In what ways do you think Ben Wu, the entrepreneur launching the Internet café, is representative of the “new” China?
A. The “new” China consists of highly advanced technology and mixture of foreign cultures. Ben Wu, who is one of the “returning turtles” brought in the idea of internet café which put together the technology and foreign culture. The internet café is mostly targeting the young generation, which also makes it representative of the “new” China. More people are interacting with new people, both from China and foreign countries, and more people are pursuing their own interests through internet. Ben Wu tried to create a space for young Chinese to explore new culture that is becoming popular in China, to provide quality technology of network and finally to make profit. All of these aspects of his new business match with the “new” China concept.

Click the picture and find out more about this program!

Click the picture and find out more about this program!

womanwarrior200

When I read first few pages of the book Woman Warrior by Maxine Kingston, I was simply lost. When I finally thought I got the thread, I realized a whole new story has changed to a new topic. I couldn’t stop thinking “Is this a true story or not? How could Kingston talk about her aunt’s story if she never knew her? Am I supposed to believe this part?” The questions kept on popping up in my head and I was worried that I might be the only one who doesn’t get the story.

However, I realized I have no need to be worried after reading this article from Slate.com. It says that Woman Warrios does not have a distinct genre that we can give. Let’s consider this line from the article: “At various times it has been described as a memoir, an autobiography, a novel, a manifesto; yet anyone who spends 10 minutes with it understands that none of these labels really apply.” This means the book has bits that are fictional and autobiographical. It is hard to draw a boundary line because Kingston bases her imagination about her mother and aunt from real stories she heard. She jumps from her real memories to her speculations without telling the readers which part is real and which part if fictional.

Maybe all of these confusion was intended. Maybe Kingston wanted the reader to pay extreme attention while reading her book. She might have thought all of those speculations, even thought they never happened, are part of who she is, so they deserve to be in her autobiography. She probably doesn’t have any right information about her aunt, but she made imaginary aunt in her speculations, and behaved according to the thought she had. Thus, it makes sense that speculations are large part of her personality. Kingston also might have intended the confusion to draw readers’ interest in Chinese culture. Unfamiliar wordings and senteces add to the mysterious atmosphere of Chinese culture and make the readers want to find out and understand more about China.

Whatever the reason behind making this book an ambiguous-genre, Kingston surely drawed attention by using different style of literature.  She tried a whole new experiment with her writings, and this experiment succeeded in making her book unique. It may be bothersome for bookstore keepers to choose a category to place this book, but it is worth reading such an odd and non-genre book.



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  • Alice: Very insightful. I shall take your advice :]
  • Mr WordPress: Hi, this is a comment.To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts' comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

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