(Not necessarily my emotions, but the general atmosphere! :D)
It’s been an intense week with lots of things happening. I went to an art exhibition opening at the Wan Lin museum, to see the art of watercolour painters from Hubei. The exhibition is called “2017 Chinese contemporary college watercolour famous invitation exhibition”. It features abstract watercolour works as well as portraits of people doing everyday things. It’s fascinating, and I recommend checking out the Hubei Province Artists Association Watercolour Painting Committee for more information on the works displayed.
- Package mail is sorted in a very interesting fashion. The mail lorry is emptied in a parking lot on the ground, and there are several mailmen throwing around packages into heaps looking like they represent a specific category. Then each mailman takes one category and off he goes with a moped.
- When in need of emptying, rubbish bins are carried away like this:
- Chinese people in general seem to be secure in who they are, and don’t feel the need to call attention to themselves. To date, I haven’t seen anyone wearing hair extensions, hair dye (perhaps 1 out of 15), fake lashes, heavy makeup, or looking like they’ve had plastic surgery. They also tend to wear simple, practical and elegant clothes, and behave in a calm and kind manner. The most attention-drawing thing I’ve seen was a girl with orange/red-coloured hair. All in all, they seem content. This is something I appreciate a lot, since unfortunately people, especially women, in Western countries sometimes seem insecure about their natural appearance. (Luckily not all of them — it’s just significantly more common than here.) I wish it was like this at home as well!
- Relating to the previous statement, growing old is a virtue. Old people are respected and looked up to. They are consulted first when big decisions need to be made, and are treated as VIPs in general. This is in stark contrast to Western countries, where old people tend to be seen as a societal burden.
Pictures of the foreign languages and law departments. Next to the dorm entrance is the start of a footpath going around the Luojia mountain. It descends in a spiral fashion, so you can see people about 30 metres above you at all times. Ideal for jogging in nature and climbing uphill! Some people also walk their dogs here. I will write a separate entry about the mountain.
Today I attended a movie screening with Wen, which she had suggested. The screenings are organised by a debate club, happening every two weeks — a film is watched, and discussed afterwards. The movie was a documentary about the Sino-Japanese war, lasting for eight years, paralleling the chain of events we call WWII — and filmed from a feminist perspective by a Chinese man. The document is called “The Rocking Sky”. The whole documentary is available on YouTube, and I strongly recommend it to everyone, even though it isn’t a light story. It’s a story about bravery, compassion and sacrifice. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okgcTsJ-s78
What is very interesting is that Eastern countries (such as Japan and China) participating in the war considered the Soviet Union to be a Western force. In the West, the Soviet Union was considered to be an Eastern force. The discussion afterwards was very intimate, and I have learned that the Chinese as a people are very open-minded and progressive in their thought. I have experienced this with my other Chinese friends as well, not just the ones here at the university. Several of the people attending argued about politics and power from different perspectives, others took environmental and economical standings. Everyone was asked to voice their opinion. When my turn came, I told the participants about Finland, and about our ability to relate to the Chinese in a grave situation like our wars against the Soviet Union. It seems to me that people everywhere have the same experiences. Enemy forces fighting against each other both have families, who are worried that they might lose their loved one. People on both sides write letters of hope to their families. Wars, like other things based on fear structures, are completely unnecessary. I think particularly young people, both here and at home, are now seeing this. Traditional politics, where you need to “choose a side”, do not appeal. People are enlightened, and start to recognise that there is no “other”. The audience applauded after this little speech, and I was left very moved. The best comments are also awarded with books, and a book was given by the presenter to a Chinese girl and me. We became friends and later were joined by four other Chinese students. I will see them next week again. The bravery and sacrifice of the Chinese in their eight-year fight against Japan is almost completely overlooked in our history books. The pilots chose not to get married to the loves of their lives because they knew their chances of survival was extremely low. Japan occupied a large part of China, and drove the Chinese to despair. Despite this, it was somehow very touching when two old veteran pilots from opposite camps — one from China and one from Japan — were reunited to be interviewed. They had been fighting each other in the air during the war, and their goal was to eliminate the other. In the interview, they didn’t speak a hateful word. They praised each other’s flying skills. The Japanese man commented that he’d never seen another pilot as brave as the supposed enemy, sitting next to him decades later. The Chinese man praised the Japanese man’s perseverance. This is something which can’t really be explained by anything else than universal compassion. The regular people’s small deeds and stories shed some light of hope in the direst of situations.