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Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:26 am
by xiamenese
I'm with Amber on this one. It is a source of interest to me that while we are quite happy to allow our scientists to be wrong ... for Newton to show that Gallileo didn't get it right, for Einstein to show that Newton didn't get it right ...
But woe betide anyone outside a charmed inner circle who says that Rousseau, Descartes and Locke—who between them constitute the foundations of the accepted concept of what it is to be human—were talking a load of rubbish. Once a great philosopher, always a great philosopher and watch out if you try to say otherwise!
I'm lucky, I'm in China, so I can say so without attracting opprobrium ... never mind the fact that Marxism is deeply rooted in those three!
And I'm also in there with Eiron.
Two groups of people here who I want little to do with are the vast majority of expats, who live a ghetto life ... like the American woman in Beijing who told my wife "Beijing has become a city one can live in now, because there's Walmart across the road and Starbucks round the corner!"
And the other is those expats, very often young, who try pretend they are totally integrated in the local culture. They're not ... you see them here in Xiamen, for instancebargaining furiously to save a ha'penny on a couple of pounds of vegetables, missing the point completely that the Xiamenese don't bargain. They don't realise that the people in the market only bargain with them precisely because they know that foreigners think you have to bargain!
Bargaining has as much a community as an economic function, and in a city like Xiamen, the community has changed too much except for the very elderly, and generally people are sufficiently prosperous to make the economic side simply not worth it. I was talking to someone the other day who pointed out that in Xiamen, over 50% of residents are from elsewhere in China and not local.
My friends are all Chinese, they know I cherish my Englishness and enjoy their Chineseness ... we have no problems with the differences. I've been here living in this community for 6 and a half years, and I am treated as one of the community ... there are those friends from outside Xiamen who tell me that I am more Xiamenese than them, but there is no way any of us is under any illusion that I am anything other than English (At 6 foot 2, blond and bearded, they'd be hard put to!) ... well there are those who don't know me and who think I must be American or Canadian because there are far more of them around and locals can't tell the difference.
I would look for a word even warmer than Keith's "acceptance", but I don't know what it is.
End of ramble ... it's been an interesting thread to procrastinate in! :D