China and YOUR Future

So what happens when all those virtually unstoppable economic and population demographics rearrange the world in future decades? …which will include influential doses of pop culture flowing into (and not just out of) America? China (and India and the Middle East and other foreigner peoples) will have an increasingly bigger, closer impact on the lives of average Americans in decades to come. I could swear that more than once I’ve made jokes about how we’re learning Chinese so that when China rules the world our friends and family will have people that can translate for them, or said things like, “We’re learning Mandarin now, while we still have a choice.” I just found a guy (with lots of letters after his name) who says this kind of stuff, and he’s serious.

We read lots of articles, but this one had some firsts. “Changing China and You” lays out the whole current China situation (development, government, environment, etc.), stuff we’ve personally heard about a lot. But then at the end he has this section on things the average college-age American should do/prepare for. Not China-interested Westerns; regular high-school and college-age Americans. Here are some of them (not in quotes is my paraphrase):

1. Get off your nationalistic high horse. Starting getting used to the fact that American dominance is a thing of the past. The new world will have multiple poles of power, including Russia, China, and India, but especially China.

2. Excel in school and quit wasting time playing video games and internet. I quote:

Remember, there are literally millions of smart kids like you in China and elsewhere who work very long hours in order to excel in academics and get into the best graduate schools – in America. Once you get to college, if you have not found out already, you will discover that your competitors in class and in the lab are Chinese or Indians. They didn’t get there by lounging around in front of the TV all day.

Some campuses are working hard to become multicultural… one day they won’t have to try.

3. “Learn all you can about Chinese history, culture, and current society. Take courses… read books… watch Chinese movies.”

4. Learn to like Chinese food and use chopsticks.

5. Make friends with ethnic Chinese.

And then comes my favourite… I think he’s serious, too:

6. “Learn Chinese – now, while it’s optional.”

6 thoughts on “China and YOUR Future”

  1. Great observations. Dui, wo pengyou! ;-) It’s like a lot of things that hit you in midlife — wish that when I’d started playing with Mandarin 16 years ago, I’d taken it more seriously. At least you’re not making up for lost time.

  2. Hmmm… I do have a hard time with chopsticks, but I do try and manage to eat with them somehow.

    This reminds me of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), the first president of Turkey in the 1920s after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. He basically changed the the national language from Arabic to the Turkish alphabet (in Roman letters, not Arabic script). The entire change was implemented and in record time, just over 10 years, literacy rose to 90%. That was a huge change for the country and in such a short time.

  3. I’ll tell you a secret about using chopsticks… in China they always eat out of a small bowl instead of off a big plate, and you’re allowed to pick up the bowl and hold it close to your mouth. Much easier that way. In Taiwan we had a “Western meal” for our students and made them observe Western dining habits… it was so funny, and rather difficult for them.

    You know, if you guys learn Arabic, and we learn Chinese, we could get together in 20 or 30 years and make a lot of money.

  4. Good tips… thanks! Maybe in 30 years we will be proficient in Arabic. It’s definitely a life long process… as I’m sure you know. But hey, at least by the time we’re 50 we could actually make some good money!

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