British Born Chinese Trip to North and South of China Part 4
George Clooney, Modernisation and Chinese Culture
Having experienced Guangzhou's development, my last week back in Beijing opened my eyes to modernisation. I visited an exhibition of new and up and coming artists. Here I felt artists were experiencing a forced cultural transition from 'old'ie traditional Beijing culture to 'extremely new' and finding unease.
People of china sucking from the teat of the communist cow.
Artificial future that could collapse like a tunnel of plastic chairs ?
In a western style cafe I met a young 20ish Beijing female artist and the topic landed on Chinese culture. When asking her about what the government are doing to promote Chinese culture, she told me ' I don't even think the government themselves know what Chinese culture is.' I took a look at her work she showed me on her ipad - all western artist influenced. A naked woman being sexually devoured by an octopus with penis like tentacles. I asked her where she was going to study next, and she revealed she was eager to go New York to Study Sculpture. I could only nod in sad agreement thinking 'we've lost another one'.
It's not such a major issue but what I did notice was the amount of white people at one of the exhibitions, ironically the Summer Palace, which was besieged several times and burnt down by westerners, and a considerable amount of tourists.
Hows it feel to be the 'minority' now ?
'Read: where the allies invaded...'
Read:'destroyed by Anglo French Allied forces...'
White Guy/ Chinese Girl Couples
Several times, amazingly in Summer Palace and at the Forbidden City, two places that were besieged by allied imperialists, I saw these Chinese girl White guy pairings, and some white guy taking photos of his Chinese friends, who amazingly were all female.
It didn't help that my mainlander friend is unhealthily fascinated with white people, and so in a tourist resort full of Chinese, I somehow found myself surrounded by white tourists.
The big 12 X 18ft George Clooney watch poster in Wang Fu Jing shopping district, and the interracial ad with GC and a Chinese girl on TV didn't exactly help my wishes of wanting to see a less white worshipping China, and nor did this George Clooney commercial which was doing the rounds on Chinese TV at the time:
And if there's any compensation, I did actually see a white skin cream bus poster next to an energy drink with a pic of a Black man. So maybe Beijing is focusing on international relations. Sorry I don't have pics of these, you'll just to have to believe me.
On the whole, Beijing with it's TV, tries to emulate the US with its new found 'freedom'. The intro to the tennis opening, noticeably showed only white sports players, and indeed most of the participants were white (Polish etc ) but there were Chinese players - so why no Chinese players on the opening program intro?
Winner: Modernisation or westernisation?
My thoughts during my second week were mixed. On one hand it's clear that people are happier, but at the same time whilst the younger generation are on the way to and from work, the more affluent older generation are just grateful for what the government has done.
Millionaire hutong owners
For most however, from the street peddlers selling bracelets, hats, and all kinds of trinkets just to make a living, to the taxi driver who took me from the railway station to the hotel who I just sensed had a pretty tough life... I can't help but feel a sense of emotional disparity. Its feint, but its noticeable. Like I said before, It's a great place, but being culturally sensitive to my fellow Chinese, I feel that only those who can afford to stay, stay in Beijing and those who cannot, despite having residence here are forced to become homeless or struggle to maintain their new standard of living.
Historically China's whiteworshipping can be seen as a case of Chicken or Egg. Sun Yat Sen fought for modernisation but now CCP seems desperate to westernise, but in reality whatever cultural offering they have from 'investing in innovation' to ' making museums free' to 'building another cultural centre' ends up in mass disinterest. Bit watching like a senior citizen learn how to breakdance. You know he wants to show you he can, but he's 50 years too late and its painful to watch.
Bottom line: unless the people have real freedom and not the illusion of freedom, culture will continue to embarrass.
I have heard some things about Shanghai, which I havent visited yet, so I will reserve judgement for when I visit, but in comparing Beijing and Guangzhou, I'd say Beijing is more apparent in it's whiteworshipping maybe because it's much younger in it's adoption of modernisation.
Despite demonisation by the west, we BBC'ers are still lucky to still have such a great motherland, which is more than I can say for the other countries that have been pillaged by Imperialists.
But regardless of modernisation, as a BBC and a Chinese ethnic 'minority' in the west, I'm grateful for having a homeland that is thriving and growing. Just a shame that when I arrived back home I got withdrawal symptoms for at least a week and a half . But that's the way it is. Can't wait til my next trip out there again.