China: Diversity in Unity

 

Paul Chong                                                                            Thursday, 5 October 2017

Have you heard of the greatest story ever revealed here on earth? It’s of a nation that was once historically great with a civilisation unmatched by any others, held in awe by all, conquered when weak followed by a period of humiliation & destruction not just by one enemy but a host of western power with superior war weapons of mass destruction. Worst were the Japanese calling China “the sick man of Asia” and the British publicly declaring the Chinese as equivalent to “dogs”. There are things which are forgivable but not forgettable, especially when the perpetrators keep on denying & unapologetic.

It is naturally believable that going downhill is easier & faster than going uphill.

However, for all the past humiliation, property ravages & war atrocities & sufferings, in the last three to four decades China has miraculously & surprisingly woken up to recapture its past glory. The dragon is wide awake & sleeps no more. Napoleon was wise to leave China alone in his many great conquests.

Japan is purely populated by Japanese, other nationalities are not permitted as permanent residents. China by contrast has some 55 official ethnic minority groups. The major minority ethnic groups in China are Zhuang (16.9 million), Uyghur (11.5 million), Hui (10.5 million), Manchu (10.3 million), Miao (9.4 million), Yi (8.7 million), Tujia (8.3 million), Tibetan (6.2 million), Mongol (5.9 million), Dong (2.8 million), Buyei (2.8 million), Yao (2.7 million), Bai (1.9 million), . . .Among them Han Chinese account for 91.59% of the overall Chinese population, all making up an overall population of close to 1.4 billion.

One interesting point to note is that Chinese has never been superimposed or influenced by any conquering cultures such as the Monguls or Manchurians. As a matter of fact, the reversed process took place naturally through “sinicization”. These foreigners converted themselves into Chinese by adopting Chinese language & culture, the Chinese way of life.

In this modern age, the minority groups still retain their culture & customs. In times of festivals, you can see them in their beautiful traditional attire, sing & dance according to their music rendering the atmosphere with true joy, peace & harmony. They all want to claim themselves as Chinese & in many cases you can hardly tell them apart from the Han Chinese. In Shenzhen, they have a cultural display centre where different groups assembled.

Taoping Minority from Sichuan Province

China has long been a cradle and host to a variety of the most enduring religio- philosophical types – Taoism, Buddhism, lslamism, Protestantism and Catholicism have all developed quite a following in this country. Freedom of belief is a government policy, and normal religious activities are protected by the constitution.

Geographically, China offers a unique landscape. In the vast western reaches of China – mountains, high plateaus and deserts dominate the landscape, while in the central and east areas, the land slopes into broad plains and deltas. The Gobi Desert runs west to east along the border with Mongolia. There’s a variety & diversity unifying China from snow to sand.

China is around the same size as Australia. Australia is approximately 7,741,220 sq km, while China is approximately 9,596,960 sq km.

China despite its size has only one time zone – same time as Singapore & Perth.

The great unifying factor is the language. Everybody speaks & writes  Mandarin. Communication is no problem. English is becoming more widespread. Great festivals like Spring Festival, Mid-Autumn Festivals etc are celebrated by all usually accompanied by a long spell of holidays.

To the foreign visitors, this vast continent is seen as many worlds in one. Seeing places & meeting faces all spell awe & admiration, a unique experience not to be found anywhere else . . . history & modernity, mystery & discovery contributing to one Big Picture!

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Why Visit China

Paul Chong Saturday, 8 August 2015

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China is an ancient country rich in culture, traditions & history. No other country comes close to compare. Other civilisations have come & gone, but Chinese civilisation has persisted through the test of time – a five thousand odd years of sustained civilisation – undiminished & virtually isolated from the rest of the world, only really opening up during the last 30 odd years.
Free of bureaucracy & red tape, transformation of the country’s economy & social landscape moves on rapidly. China still retains its ancient past, its mysterious wonderland amidst its modernity. Everything is humungous as with its ancient Great Wall, Yangtze Three Gorges Dam & the Grand Canal. Modern technology has seen the growth of super speed rail, urbanisation & the building of super cities known as megalopolis with population ranging from 42 million (Pearl River Delta region) to
130 million in Jing-Jin-ji (amalgamation of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) – six times the size of NYC. Can you imagine that nearly a third of the total US population to be living there. All in all there will 13 such megalopolis.
There’s no telling what will happen next.

The Chinese are living in a dynamic exciting While others stallcountry with happenings everywhere such as the revival of the Old Silk Road, the reestablishment of the Maritime Sea Route, the initiation of AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), theWinter Olympics in 2022, just some for mention. According to BHP-Billiton executives (Australia), China is building a city equivalent to the size of Sydney every 5 days. While others stall, China surges ahead. Soon it will be a country beyond recognition.

The focus of the world is on China and it will remain so for a long time to come. The West is looking to the East even as China prepares to march westward in an attempt to revive the ancient silk road- this time around on a scale never seen or imagined before. It is a herculean task and all continents are on board. No camels my friend, it is high-speed rails and other AIIB, OLD SILK ROAD, MARITIME SEA ROUTE, means of super transportation with turbo speed. Better grab a seat on the next available flight or whatever & rid your mind of whatever misconceptions you have about the real China. Often what you get from the western media are largely untrue. Experience for yourself the excitement awaiting you in all their splendour. Just don’t rely on hearsay, get the facts.

I hate to say that western media have been out to bash China and brainwash you. For example, talk about Chinese brands – until you enter mainland China, you would never believe that there are home grown brands that are far superior in quality than some popular foreign brands. To name just a few – there is Haier, TCL, Midea, and Konka, and that’s just in electronics and home appliances. There is one reason why some of these brands find it difficult reaching your doorstep. Ask your commissions and regulators. Either they’re damn scared of competition or probably they want you to keep your job.

One of the challenges facing China is the ability to create jobs for the growing number of graduates the country’s universities churn out each year, semester after semester, millions of students. But hey, there’s always room for another foreigner. Jobs abound in the expat employment industry and the government is constantly reducing the threshold to attract foreign talents. Be it SOE’s or private organisations, there are jobs for foreigners willing to abide by the laws and regulations of the land. It’s now Chinese Dreams in the playing field.

You’ve never seen so many Chinese all at once. With a population of 1.4 billion China harbours almost a quarter of the world’s population.. China is an adventurer’s wonderland. Forget the Great Wall, enter deep into the hinterlands. Visitors would be blown at the sheer number of national parks in China. Within the 28 provinces that made up China, there are approximately 225 national parks officially recognized by the government. They’re huge landmasses managed by professional conservationists all for your viewing pleasure. Even locals have a hard time choosing where to visit on holidays.

Top on the list are parks in Yunnan, Sichuan, Anhui and those in Hunan province. Most of these parks are relatively unknown to expats living in China because of the remoteness of the regions. Quite a number of these parks are UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites. They include the Three Parallel Rivers, the Stone Forest in Kunming, and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Parks of Yunnan.

Other famous parks include the Wulingyuan Zhangjiajie National Park- described as China’s Avatar, the Zhangjiajie National Park is a popular tourist destination in Hunan. It is home to striking sandstone and quarts cliffs which inspired the fictional world of Pandora in James Cameron’s movie, Avatar. The Jiuhaigou National Park – located in the Jiuhai Valley; it is home to nine Tibetan villages where over 220 bird species as well as a number of endangered plant and animal species including giant pandas, Sichuan golden monkeys are protected.

Huangshan
Huangshan  The Huangshan National Park is home to the legendary Yellow Mountains. Surrounded in the myths of ancient immortals, the Yellow Mountains have some strange charming geomorphology.We were there some years ago in winter & it was freezing that the cable cars stopped operation. We were forced to descend by the narrow stepped way with spikes attached to our shoes because the steps were iced over.

Most visitors to China shouldn’t encounter any problem with language. English is understood & spoken among the Chinese now. When we first set foot in China in 1989, the hotels then were first class, mostly in the five-star category. Now there are available more classes of hotels with modern sanitation. No fear of ancient toilets that used to put tourists off.

Almost every foreigner is a star. The Chinese are warm. Rest assured you’ll be welcomed & well treated.
Don’t attempt to change China, for China will change you instead!

Miscommunication

By P Chong                                          Tues. 7 September 2010

Miscommunication occurs due to failing to communicate clearly. There could be a lack of clear or adequate communication or people merely hear what’s said without really paying close attention through listening. Communication too can be misconstrued, misinterpreted & understood giving rise to a lot of complications and unwanted problems.

In most cases, we get different meaning of the words than they intended. Even body language can create a different impression, though in place of verbal communication it can be most effective.

Miscommunication can lead to misunderstanding, argument, hurt & anger and to the extent of creating personal conflict.

Communication Illusion

Who’s being heard?

Here’s an interesting picture on how miscommunication occurs based upon a written memo from the CEO to the staff of a particular organisation, as it filters through the hierarchy rung of management.

By the time the message reaches the bottom rung from the Supervisor to the staff, it is all distorted & reduced to just one sentence. The whole essence is filtered & lost in its downward transmission.

People only hear but not listen!

As a general rule,since God endowed us with two ears & one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk.

No Hearing, No Seeing & No Talking

Picture of misery

Picture & Illustration Source: Google