China isn’t the most popular country on the planet right now, thanks to 2019-nCoV, coronavirus, COVID 19 or the politically incorrect, Chinese Virus. This isn’t the first time China has given the world a virus. There was the Asian flu in 1956, SARS in 2002 and H7N9 in 2012. Being one of the oldest cultures on the planet, many Chinese people still believe in TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine. For many Chinese, especially the older generation, this is the first step in treatment when they feel unwell. They will go to the local practitioner and will be treated with acupuncture, cupping, herbal remedies, etc. These treatments are not effective for these viruses, thus allowing the infected individuals to return to the public, infect others and sometimes giving us a pandemic. Although, this coronavirus may go down in history as the one that stopped the world. When the virus first appeared, the world looked on, watching and waiting, not expecting the world to stop turning.
There is a lot of negativity toward China right now. I see hundreds of posts saying China lied to the world…the numbers are fake…it (the virus) was created in a lab for bio-warfare…general hate messages about Communism and the government. I get it. I understand being angry at China. I understand the “buy American” sentiment in the USA and I support it…to a point. China was my home for 4 years and yes, sometimes I got mad at China. Some things about China, I will not miss. I don’t want to turn this into a political post or “I hate China” or anything negative in general because China isn’t all “bad”. During the Han Dynasty, 202 BC-AD 220, China gave of us one of the 4 great inventions of the ancient world, paper/papermaking. Along with paper, they also gave us the compass, gunpowder, and printing (woodblock and moveable type). These 4 discoveries are considered to have had a major impact on the development of civilization around the world. I don’t want to talk about what China has given the world. I want to tell you what China gave me during the 4 years I called it home.
China gave me the chance to see, touch and walk on one of the “Seven Wonders of the New World” The Great Wall of China…With a total length of 21,196.18 km (13,170.70 miles), equal to half the length of the Equator, the Great Wall of China is the longest feat of human engineering. The 2,700 year-old structure is not a single long line but a series of many walls sometimes doubling and tripling itself. I have visited 5 different sections of the Great Wall including LaoLongtou or Old Dragon’s Head where the wall ends in the Bohai Sea. And, just for the record, it is not true that the Great Wall of China is visible from space.
March 29, 1974, some farmers in Xi’an, Shaanxi were digging a well and uncovered terracotta pottery. This pottery was the funerary art of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China (210-209 BCE). This 8000+ army complete with horses, chariots, officials and acrobats was meant to protect and entertain the emperor in the afterlife. To see this massive UNESCO Heritage Site was overwhelming.
Tibet, “Land of Snows”, “The Roof of the World” is still a controversial place when you speak to mainland Chinese. Is it part of China or not? The PRC (People’s Republic of China) claims Tibet is an integral part of China while the Tibetan Government-in-Exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under lawful occupation. What I know is Tibet is a magical place that I was fortunate to visit. It was like the land where time stopped. I was afforded the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Dalai Lamas. I learned about and experienced Buddhism first hand. I rode a yak, ate yak meat, had yak cheese and butter. When I camped on Mount Everest Base Camp, our tent was heated by burning yak dung. China gave me a dream come true in Tibet.
Food…China introduced me to “real” Chinese food. You can read more about Chinese food here, because Chinese food in China is nothing like what we have in the USA. I have eaten many strange things in China and things that I know some of my friends frown upon. Donkey meat for one. One of the communities where I lived, was known for raising donkeys, not only for the meat but for making Ejiao which is important in TCM. If you are going to immerse yourself in a culture, sometimes you have to overlook your personal feelings. I had no problem eating donkey meat and if I tell the truth, I loved it. I also view it very similarly to countries that raise cows for meat, milk and their hides for leather. If you choose to be vegetarian or vegan, great, that’s your choice! I just happen to be a meat-eater. I also learned that the Chinese do not waste any part of the animal and most everything is consumed. Much of this stemming from years when the country was suffering widespread famine with the most recent between the years 1942 and 1961 during which as many as 45 million people perished. Ahhh, then there are the controversial markets.
Every big city and every rural village has its markets. I have seen animals slaughtered and have purchased the meat. I have seen all the bugs, snakes, starfish on skewers and sold as snacks. Some I have even indulged in myself and most I didn’t care for. These markets don’t only exist in China but all over Asia and SE Asia as I have visited many and have enjoyed more than a few meals at these markets. If you know anything about me, you know I have an obsession with noodles, especially noodle dishes from Asian countries. Thank you, China for introducing me to Lánzhōu Lā Mǐan. Honestly, I mostly thought rice when I thought about China, but I learned that noodles are just as popular. Actually, noodles are popular in the more northern areas of China while more rice is consumed in southern China. Just for the record, I do not like chicken feet. The other thing I learned about food is the Chinese have a way with vegetables that is amazing and I can’t talk about the food without mentioning dumplings. I never met a dumpling I didn’t like.
During the 4 years I lived in China, it gave me some of the most amazing experiences of my life. It is a beautiful country with a lot to offer. Most of all, China has shown me the beauty of its people. They are kind, they are generous, they are hard-working. They are proud of their country. What I want to say here is; we may not agree with their government, their traditions or their way of life, but as a whole, they are good people. I will always consider the people that crossed my path during my time in China as friends, some as close as family. Marlon, my student in Qingdao and his mom are near and dear to my heart. My Chinese co-workers at my first job in Xiashan, the small rural village that made me decide I wanted to stay in China a bit longer. Rabbin and his family in Changning, Hunan that treated me as part of their family. Peter and his extended family in Dong’e that cared for me during my broken back journey. The doctors and nurses that cared for me without prejudice…my “noodle guy”….my “littles”… my sweet Alice…my neighbors…all my students, some I got to know well and some just part of the overcrowded classrooms that I would only see once every two weeks. China, thank you for putting each and every one of these souls in my life.
I’ve heard the phrase, “China is the country you love to hate and hate to love”. During these times when China is the target of much hate, I am choosing to remember the things I love about China. I will choose to buy American when I can.
After all, I am an American born and raised, but I will not choose to hate an entire country that showed me kindness, love, and gave me joy. There are things I did not agree with while in China but those things are not for me to try to change. I can hope that the people of China will choose to make changes in their society. That they and the rest of the world will come out of this stronger and more conscious of how the actions of a few can affect the many. China, thank you for the 4 years of love you gave me.
13 thoughts on “Choose Kindness – Be The Change”
Thanks for those heartfelt words of sanity. Viruses don’t care about geopolitical boundaries and can and do start in various places at one time or another. Could be China this time, U.S.A. next. No sense in assigning political blame, except to avoid responsibility for dealing with it in the places where it happens to be spreading.
Thank you, for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂
Wendy I think you expressed yourself well for your feelings of the Chinese people that you became very fond of.
I have always believed there are good and bad in every nationality or race in the world and we cannot control the decisions made by the government of each country.
Looking forward to next blog
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Just a few thoughts on your article.
I can agree with you! As with most every other country. (Including ours) Governments are most willing to keep a division between reality, facts vs fear, hate and evil. Luckily most citizens in all countries, are just people who want live a decent life, strive for good things, stay secure and be happy.
BUU, as with the Russians, Chinese, Iran, USA and every other country. They are the blame for at least 98+ percent of the worlds wars, poverty, hate and so on. I don’t trust in any government that abuses their people in anyway. Unfortunately Their lust for power, control and money drive us into hate which leads to war. They play the fear/ hate game which lures us into believing that the other guy is always the bad guy Justifying the, reason WE must take him out before he attacks us. If you could take away that non sense, generated by the “want a be” power seekers and those who promote it. . Most problems could be resolved. easily and fairly. Unfortunately, until Christ’s return that isn’t going to be an option. Since ADAM & EVE, MOSES, DAVID, Through both the new and old Testament its been the same. It just seems to me that things have gotten sooo much worse. Bad is now good, Good is now bad. Anyone who disagrees with me is my enemy! World morals are so low, the need to blame so high ,the new anti everything standards, the loss of family values and on and on and on.
I refer back to my time spent in Vietnam. We were taught that they were the bad guys, we were the good guys. They killed thousands of OUR soldiers, , and they, along with our help, killed millions of their own citizens. WE claimed it a just cause because of gross abuse and killing fellow innocent peasant countrymen, not mentioning when they started killing us. Game On!!
Keeping an open mind. WE went to their soil to do so! I’m not saying it was all wrong. I had a job to do and I did it, at time better than I needed too.
Harming your own people will draw compassion from a lot of people, countries,including the US. But in the end what good did it do. Yes, they are better off for the most part but at the lives of so many. I have not found any Vietnamese that I had any problems with except those who literally took aim at me and ours.
The point of the story is, it’s one thing to be upset with a family member over an issue. (talk about it than get over it) Its another to unjustly punish severely or even to death with no real just cause. When that happens,someone MUST step in. For the most part that would be America. (of course that means WE pick up most of the tab too!)
So, the Chinese people, at least the ones I’ve dealt with have been very respectful, and kind, courteous.. But when government or anyone else turns on their own by false arrest, imprisonment, disappearance or to death. That just doesn’t seem to pass the smell test! So it should not be a surprise when someone step in to speak up for the weak.
Hating the Chinese because of terrible leadership makes no sense. Keep in mind, WE have had piss poor leadership for a long time in this country. Trump is fighting a battle that very few other could handle. He’s taken on the Good old Boys club (Republicans & Democrats) he’s ruining a lucrative business for those s–t heads club members living in the swamp. So, while we think we need to hate the Chinese WE need to remember that the same rules applies to us even more so! Referring back to how you treat your family or any government, treats it’s family. Tells you the whole story behind their actions, credibility vs the BS they want you to know. The Democratic party has done so much harm to it family and must be held accountable. Trump has done a pretty good job getting a lot of the bad Republican to quit, retire or fire. (Still more to do though) When any country has a crisis that affects it’s people so greatly. Made by the Chinese or not!) You stand united to fix it for your family and than help other. Plenty of time for blame later. But when you use greed to write in millions for personal favorites (via some nice kick backs) Than you have crossed over to the evil side.
Hate the message NOT the messenger! Governments see that to be the other way around.
GOD Help us!
I hope others got you point from your article
stay safe and wise.
Ray, thank you for taking not only the time to read my blog, but to respond. Take care and stay well! 🙂
The Deb of ; Again, Wendy well written !!
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I love this!! Thank you for giving us your loving, unique and informed perspective and spreading joy and kindness!
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Thanks for following, Mary! ❤️
Thank you for sharing some positivity with us. It is good to hear some kind words about China right now. I don’t love the country, but it has been my home for almost 4 years now too, and I feel offended when I see Facebook posts from people I thought were sensible saying things like “China needs to pay for this” and “Don’t buy anything from China because they gave us a virus, who knows what else they will give us?”
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Amy, I understand. I get upset when I see these things too. China was good to me. Thinking about you and Harrison as you are about to bring a new life into the world during these crazy times. Take care! ❤️