I have to apologise for keeping you starved for script. Recently my attention has been drawn to Chinese business ethics, innovation and entrepreneurship, and miscellaneous creative pursuits such as writing, dance, drawing, playing music and poetry. There are lots of events going on at the campus related to these things. The featured image shows a typical Chinese pastime — street dancing — in Hanyang, where we went with my friends to see an old factory area-turned-artist gallery-hippy hangout. Hanyang is basically the culture centre, Wuchang is the education centre, and Hankou is the business centre. My friend just had her master’s conferment ceremony (maisteripromootio in Finnish) at the university of Helsinki, and I have been very excited for her. Relating to this event, I had an epiphany. The tailor work in China is of exceptional quality, as local tailors often have practiced their occupation throughout their lives. I decided to have my own conferment ceremony dress tailored, and it turned out to exceed any expectations one could have. The material used is bright white natural silk, and it has a traditional detailed Chinese collar and button closure. The tailoress(?) said that she was very happy to get to use white silk, since all-white isn’t popular here — it’s the colour of loss and mourning. The price of the dress was about 1000 yuan, which is about 120 euro. When you take into account that authentic white silk was used, as well as elaborate Chinese buttoning artwork — which itself takes weeks to complete — tailoring clothes here is a strategic investment, as it is relatively cheap. In other words, if you come to China, make sure to have at least one garment custom-made.
I can hear you ask, “What about the last days with your friend?”. After we’d returned from Enshi, we spent the rest of the time in Wuhan, meeting my friend’s Finnish friend and her boyfriend for lunch at the probably most prestigious lunch buffet in Guangbutun (a residental area near the university). It’s called the Golden Horse buffet, and is about three times as big as the buffets on our car ferries, with assortments to match. Following my friend’s return, I resumed my studies. We currently have a very interesting course in Chinese business ethics. There are several cases discussed, among them Google’s and the government’s dispute. To say that Chinese people soft-pedal social issues in general is overlooking, although I can see where the standpoint comes from. Censorship issues and business rights are taught as entire courses at universitites, to make aspiring Chinese businesspeople and entrepreneurs aware about the bureaucracy and possible law violations involved in the business. It’s very interesting and provides more insight into Chinese society.
Wen took me to a primary school to see what a regular school day is like. In China, children start primary school when they are six or seven years old, and pre-school at the age of three. The day includes a lunch nap at home, lasting for one or even two hours. When students go playing outside, there is tranquil piano music playing from loudspeakers, to promote a peaceful atmosphere. My family members asked me if the students need to sing the national anthem every day, to salute the flag or something. No, they don’t and haven’t for many years now, as that kind of practice is obsolete — at least in Hubei. I can’t speak for other provinces, but the general rule is that if something is applied at one school, it’s applied in every school. There are some other rituals, though, which aren’t political such as morning exercise. Here’s a good article by Hechinger Education magazine: http://hechingered.org/content/a-day-in-the-life-of-chinese-students_3826/.