Thursday, November 08, 2007

In the heart of the Peoples Republic

So I am in the capital of the Peoples this feels more like Communist China. You are more likely to see citizens wearing traditional Chinese clothing, more likely to find exotic food like snake on a restaurant menu and the Red Army is everywhere unlike Shanghai which as you know from my earlier posts was almost identical to Chicago in look and feel. I was in Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City yesterday...just standing there trying to remember how 1989 must have felt...the image of the student in front of the Tank....

While I was there I was approached by three students from NationalUniversity who wanted to practice their English on me. At first I thought it was a some kind of scam but it turned out to be genuine. They served as my tour guides for the rest of the afternoon. It was delightful. One of the girls was Tibetan. Needless to say this was too good an opportunity to pass up for me so there in the shadow of Chairman Mao's smiling visage I had a big discussion about Tibet and the 1958 annexation and such. Surprisingly it was only me who was arguing for a Free Tibet...the TIBETAN was completely OK being Chinese....(I was told that most Chinese are unaware that China annexed Tibet by force. Apparently they are taught in school that the oppressed peasants invited the Communists in to free them from feudalism....I guess the winners of history get to write history even if its not true)

I was impressed with their knowledge of current events both Chinese and international. Several of the questions I asked I'm pretty sure that the average American University student would have no clue about. Of course they were completely ignorant of almost all western authors (ALTHOUGH THEY ARE ENGLISH MAJORS :)...I found that quite funny actually..even with 3 to 4 years of English they are not yet at the pt of reading English books...they read magazine articles...

How often does one get to tell a University Educated person who is majoring in English about a fella named William Shakespeare for the first time....:)))


Blogger ann said...

Very interesting Sanjay. Thanks for sharing.


7:52 AM  

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