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Q: Do you think you can change China?

I keep hearing 2 things - "When in Rome,,,", and "You can't change anyone here".

Both of which I strongly disagree with.

Firstly, I refuse to become corrupt because that is the local way. Also, I choose to have a heart, and if I saw someone in obvious distress, don't just ignore them.

 

Secondly, I'm here to teach, which to me, doesn't just mean a language, but also to teach people a better way to be - honour, courage, strength, wisdom, awareness, honesty.

What's YOUR take on "When in Rome"???

8 years 31 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
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Comments (19)
Posts: 1318

Shifu

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It's not a simple black or white thing.  You have to stay in the gray area.  If you want a chance to make real changes in at least one person's life, you must adapt and conform to a certain degree.  You're not going to have a chance to change someone's life and have them learn from you, until they first relate to you and create some kind of trusting bond.  Someone that refuses all things roman will always be seen as an outsider and will have an extremely small effect on those he wishes to teach.

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1933

Shifu

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Westerners have been going around the world "helping" and "enlightening" the natives since 1415, and how has it added up in the end? And have the "savages" we've come to the charitable aid of (at a hefty profit to ourselves) ended up better off, or worse?

 

The last time we civilized those barbarian Chinese brutes, we accidentally started off a series of civil wars that led to decades of anarchy and eventually made them easy pickings for the Japanese. Pretty much anything admirable and interesting about Chinese culture was either destroyed during "the hundred year struggle", as the Chinese term it, or destroyed l later in the cultural revolution - Marxism being another lovely gift of ours. Sadly, the only something as extremely as communist overthrow probably would have been the only way to restore order after all the f***ing up of China we enlightened westerners charitably did. And not even a thank you?

 

But I invite you to give me one example of a people whose happiness and moral character has been vastly improved by western civilizing.

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
Posts: 65

Governor

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I don't know why people always want to "change" things to have them suit their own way of thinking... This seems to be common to many westerners and somewhat pretentious. There is not one universal way to think and the western one is not better than the others, it's just different and adapted to the situation and mentality in the west, as those of Africa or Asia are adapted to their respective continents. Foreigners in Europe or America are supposed to follow the "when in Rome" principle there, so why shouldn't the Europeans and Americans follow it when they become the foreigners ?

 

If you want absolutely want to change something in people I think YOU have to change first to show that if you can adopt some of their customs or habits, they can as well. 

 

 

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
Posts: 3339

Emperor

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Why the hell would I want to?

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
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You sound like the stereotypical arrogant Westerner. Your way is different, is it better? That's a subjective question. You're in another country with another culture and trying to force your views and way of life on the people is rude and pretentious. If you don't like the way people are in China then perhaps it isn't for you. If Chinese people can't change China then it's doubtful a foreigner will have much of an impact. 

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
Posts: 3046

Emperor

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I will share with you my philosophy, which is very personal to me and has brought me many good friendships and respect from many different nationalities.

When I travel to visit, or live in another counrty away from home, I make a point of learning their customs, culture and traditions, and to respect them and obey them as the only way to have them respect me. 

I do not loose one milimeter of my personality in doing so, I am still same old me.  But, by showing deference to their customs, culture and tradition, and adopting those who are acceptable to me, by keeping to myself in public what I dislike about the country I happen to be in at the time, I am accepted by natives with open arms, and allow to develop true friendships.

Here in China, no matter who says what, I will not spit outdoors or pick my nose anywhere I feel like, nor I will make comments or faces to those doing it.  Like that, many other things, like dpo not get involved in conversations of political or religious content with locals.  Never claim that my way of life is better than theirs, bacause after all, I am a guest here, this is not my home.

Corruption exists everywhere, there is not one country without corrupted officials.  hy become upset because China has them too.

What gives you the right to proclame here that you have the absolute truth in regards to honour, courage, strength, wisdom, awareness, honesty ?.  Become a bit more humble yourself, every society (or every barrel) has a few rotten apples in it, remember that ?

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2549

Emperor

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If you came here thinking you are going to change the Chinese then you are delusional.

Are you a Christian missionary from Dallas? (just kidding)

I do my best to adapt to local customs, and they appreciate this, but I never compromise my values during the process.

It is one thing to lead by example, it is entirely different if you are preaching your so called superior morals, and offending people.  This will have the opposite effect of what you intended.

 

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8 years 31 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2418

Emperor

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No person (or group of people) can change the habits of an entire country.  It just isn't possible.  That goes the same for any foreigner visiting any country.

 

However, that doesn't mean that we have to give up on our habits and principals when living in another country.  But, a great deal of cultural awareness and flexibility must be performed on our part or the differences will just drive you crazy.

 

Earlier you asked whether or not a previous poster would have also walked past the 2 year old girl in Foshan.  I wouldn't, but at the same time I can understand why a number of people did.  Between the legal system and local scams that people are witness to on a daily basis, it is safer to look the other way then get involved if you are a local.  The danger is much lower if you are a foreigner due to the lack of desire to cause an international incident.

 

However, I do know of foreign teachers who called out students for blatant cheating and the later they were severly beaten by a "random group of thugs" that had nothing to do with the cheater (or their family) paying them to beat the teacher for the loss of face caused them.

 

There are real dangers to standing out here, especially for the locals.  Don't confuse self preservation with callousness.  Life hear can cause a hard heart in anyone.

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8 years 30 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1933

Shifu

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Come on you little cowards. Don't just vote me down, give me a counter-example. We westerners have been helping to civilize the primitives for 587 years and surely there must be one ethnic group of the hundreds who has appreciated the kind generosity of those us us who've taken up the white man's burden. Don't be an anonymous coward - it's not befitting of your superior value system.

 

Anyway, wen't down to the reserve yesterday and was all like "Hey, you primitive savages used to live freely off of the abundant fishing in this area, and enjoy peace via the natural defences the mountains provided. Now you if you leave your 5 square kilometre reserve, everyone screams racial insults at you. You can't fish anymore because the straight is essentially lifeless due to industry you've never been allowed to have a part in, and game has been thinned to nil. WHERE'S MY 'THANK YOU' YOU BARBARIC BRUTES!?"  The ones that weren't on meth got pretty angry at me which just goes to show: no good deed goes unpunnished.

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8 years 30 weeks ago
 
Posts: 5600

Emperor

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you're forgetting one important fact shining. you are an outsider, you know absoluting nothing in the eyes of a local. when they say all these nice complimentary things about you they are BSing you. here, they insult you with compliments. whats your 60 years of history compared to their 6000 years of history. 

when you tell someone that mercury is a poison and will kill you, they will nod their head and say yes and then put what you said out of mind because you are just a "dumb ghost" when you talk to people about how horrifying the murder and neglect of that child was they will nod their heads and agree and then will comeback with an excuse as to why that is. because in their mind you lack understanding of chinese culture you thinking is flawed because you are an outsider, but they playcate to what you say because you must be treated like a child. you are not changing anything they are just giving you the response they know you want to hear

 

that is why some make the comments that what you said is delusional or naive. what you are saying does not factor in the reality of  this country.because after spending some time here you will see people are stuck in their ways and view foreigners as less than human

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8 years 30 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2256

Emperor

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It's not your job to change people in China. That sort of thing should come from the Chinese themselves. We are outsiders, we are here on visas, and if we make too much noise, we're kicked out. I think that you can make a difference with your friends, but chances are they're already in a similar state of mind to you, and so there's not much to change anyway. You can lead by example, but in a year or so, you will probably be gone, and they will fondly remember you as that crazy foreigner. Then they will forget what you taught them and go on with their lives.

 

So don't try too hard. You'll burst a brain vessel, and that doesn't help anyone... Or do you think you are some shining knight who is a perfect gentleman and knows what they need to learn to be better people? You are not their parents, you are not their normal teacher, you are not someone who has a lot of influence in their lives. Continue to be yourself, there's no reason to change that. However, your reason of coming to China was probably not to better the population, but to grow as a person and learn something new. Stick to your original intent. And if a little of something good in you rubs off on some people here, then great, but you're no hero.

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8 years 30 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2418

Emperor

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When in Rome... ?

 

Yes & no.  Yes you need to adapt to the Roman way.  No you do not have to participate in the parts you do not care for.  Yes you need to obey the Roman laws.  No you don't know better than the Romans on what is "best".  Yes, through your actions, you MAY influence a Roman every now and then.  Of course, that swayed Roman will probably be swayed back to Roman way due to the mass number of Romans they interact with on a regular basis.

 

Thrust your opinions on the wrong Romans and you may find yourself in the arena.

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8 years 30 weeks ago
 
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It is important for you to know that you can't change no one in this world unless they wanted to change themselves.So for the things that you can't change,the best way to live happily is to accept the truth.I think you live in China,so live like chinese.It will be easier to get adapted.

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8 years 30 weeks ago
 
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