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21
Jan
2013
Oh no, that's different. E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Tim
I am not sure how many of you have been following this anti-Japanese fever running through China at the moment (Senkaku Islands etc.), though I admit it's nothing new. This week I am discussing or attempting too, with my students some of the cultural differences between their world and well...the rest of it.

I had prepared some question about marriage and relationships in general for them to kick around. One of the questions, "would you date/marry someone from another country?" I didn't want them just to think of someone from Europe or America and mentioned to them would it be different if the boy was from Korea or Japan for instance. On a side note, I know how most, if not all, Chinese feel about the Japanese, but I thought I would throw it in and see what happens. At first my students didn't react too much to the Korean comment, most of the girls think Korean guys are pretty cute apparently. Pretty much a 180 occurred when I mentioned, "let's say the guy is from Japan?"

Student: "oh no, nooo, nooo I don't think so"

Me: "why's that?"

Student: "Do you like Japanese?"

Me: "Well, I try to like everyone" (a nice safe answer)

Student: "I hate Japanese"

Me: "Do you know any Japanese personally?"

Student: "No, but I hate them"

Sounds like a good logic to me!

This happen in both of my classes today. Which then started a nice discussion into their hate for all things Japanese.(I was just happy they were having this all in English! Note to fellow teachers: bring up the Japanese and watch the English discuss/slander ensue!) Every now and then I would bring up, "how can you HATE (which I told them to me is a strong word) someone, let alone an entire country, if you don't even know a single person from said country!"

Some dumbfounded looks later, someone would musters up the courage to defend all of China apparently and proclaim, "they did many bad things to the Chinese!" "Oh" I reply, "when?" My 2nd class couldn't give me an exact date, "a long long time ago," was the reply. Awesome.

I then mentioned some dates, which is always fun to know more than some self-righteous mildly (?) brainwashed students.

I didn't want to preach to them, let alone in my contract (along with all the teachers at my school) plainly states that I am not allowed to discuss religion/politics and "shall respect the Chinese people's moral standards and customs." What does that really mean? I just wanted them to think a bit and realize that these events in questioned happen way before they were born (my students are 20 and 21 mostly). I mean are Chinese text books perfect now? How was that Cultural Revolution?

I must also note that both times the students brought up Japan's support for Taiwan. (Which is another completely different discuss) "Well America supports Taiwan, do you hate America?" "Oh no, thats different"

Ok I give up.



Our valuable Editor Tim has been with us since Monday, 21 January 2013.
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