Listening to: Too beautiful to live
Watching: Stargate Universe
Eating: Stewed pig
Drinking: Coffee of course
Happy birthday to me, woo.
Now that I got that out of the way I wanted to make a few comments about something that I have run into lately.
It is well known that various Western powers in the last century plundered much of the antiquity of China. Many artifacts from China's past are now on display in Museums and such all around the world. This is a really sore point for Chinese people because of the theft of these items is seen as a point in their history where they were weak and everyone else bullied on them. The Chinese like to feel that everyone is praying on them and even as they are becoming one of the wealthiest countries in the world, decades of being told they are being abused by everyone else by their own system has warped their thoughts to a sort of Nationalistic riot. The feeling of being victimized is well seeded here in the hearts and minds of the people, and its a easy way of relocating blame when necessary. That coupled with the idea that outside of China the West is a chaotic place where everyone is murdered, few are educated and only eat McDonald's, its easy for things to get way out of hand here.
Recently I was working on a project with a friend on Chinese sculptures that are preserved outside of China. It was sort of a relation for him and I as we did this because we both realized some things that go against "popular opinion". I would like to mention a few of those points here because I think it is partially relevant to the photography related projects I do here as well.
The biggest and more relevant point is that during the Cultural Revolution was launched here in the 60's a significant amount of what was China's cultural antiquity was lost at the hands of headstrong youth known as the Red Guards. They smashed, defaced, and burned as much of China's history and culture they could get their hands on.
Which brought me to an interesting point when my friend was talking to one of his other friends that even China didn't have the kinds of antiques that were in the museums outside her borders. What would have happened to those things if they had remained here? He stumbled for a moment and his friend didn't seem to know what I was talking about. I summarized my point and they sort of looked at each other and I was thinking...crap I'm in for it now, as this is the kind of comment that could get you ostracized from whatever circle. Luckily this group were a little more open minded and well traveled and they started talking about how well historical and cultural things are kept intact and how everything left here of value had become a junky tourist attraction with little or no real value.
We both agreed that yes it was quite unfortunate that so many items had been looted from China before and the end, but then later they would become preserved, saved and still be available rather then smashed under the butt of a gun by some youth with slogans swimming in his head. Of course the ends don't justify the means.
Often I am lectured here about how America and Europe are such young places by the Chinese. Obviously they are very uninformed about the outside world. China recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, when I mention that America was founded in the late 1700's they don't believe it. Funny.
Which brings me to a funny poster I saw online at a Christie's auction which read "America's invasion of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is an invasion of China."