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China Culture and History



Judgement as influence by naivety, media and lack of knowledge is best to be kept to oneself!

Through my Far East travels and cultural immersion the past 4 weeks, I have gained a perspective that I am embarrassed (and at the same time proud) to say is quite different than my preconception.

China is an unbelievable Country and it’s people are of the most respectful, diligent, and humble kind I have ever been so fortunate to come across. The number of times I have been assisted with a huge smile is endless. Having absolutely no prior knowledge of the language has been challenging but the willingness and helpfulness to assist from the locals has certainly been welcomed. Kudos also goes to Google translate and my daughter’s 6 years of Mandarin at Palm Beach Day Academy! With nearly 600 million internet users, China noticeably falls victim to the cyber attachment device society. In my opinion, even more so than the typical American teenager. Everything is handled via your device; calling and paying for a driver, booking a train/hotel/plane, paying for groceries, dinner, coffee, haircuts, street vendors and many other incidentals. I feel like I am a minority when using the Chinese Yuan.

China’s existence, controlled by communism, has definitely shaped how the citizens obey and live their lives daily . The people in China have a strong work ethic, rarely argue (especially with a Westerner), and display a very subservient demeanor going about their duties as required. Emperor Mao Zedong took control six years after the communist party was introduced, and led a revolution in 1947 which enabled total Communist control and the formation of the Peoples Republic of China. Mao followed the Soviet philosophies until the 1950’s when he disagreed and abandoned Markism-Leninism and developed Maoism. This era focused on heavy industrialization and was the start of “The Great Leap Forward” and the Cultural Revolution which had ill effects causing starvation and a huge increase in poverty. Up until and through the 1980’s China had an +80% poverty level. Mao is sometimes known as the greatest mass murderer in world history.

After Mao’s death in the mid ’70’s, Deng Xiaoping is said to have led China towards the powerful nation that it is today. He opened up this beautiful and resourceful country to the rest of the world and successfully modernized industrialization. Soon, the poverty levels began to decrease and today are less than 5% (although relative to the billion plus citizens, still quite a large number are impoverished). Most of the suffering is rural where one in ten are poor, seventy million individuals earn $375/year, 6 million have no heat and 200,000 are living without electricity.

With a touch of sadness, our stay in China only has 72 hours remaining. The past four weeks we ate every meal with chop sticks, never turned on a television set, walked nearly 20,000 steps daily (not including tennis training), never had a cube of ice in our water, haven’t driven a car, enjoyed one of the world's greatest high speed rail systems, navigated 3 major cities and their immaculate underground subways, accepted many intriguing stares, posed for pictures with strangers, tasted only 2 non-Asian meals, read books, mingled through street markets both day and night, engaged in conversations with new friends, learned history, expanded our tastes, dodged thousands of scooters, and definitely never saw a fortune cookie!

Thankfully, the tourist Visas we acquired have a ten year term and we fully plan to revisit this intriguing culture and diverse land again. It feels as if we just landed, making me think next time should be four months not weeks.

By Bob Wuhrman



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