Wednesday, September 03, 2014

So that's Paternalism

It dawned on me today: sometimes, the Chinese government (or its Hong Kong cronies) acts like a really terrible Asian parent. The father insists that he knows best, and the kids need sit down, be silent, and obey. Suddenly, the phrase "Asian paternalism" is starting to make sense!!!

As an Asian American son of immigrants—as part of that generation living at the intersection between the old world and new, between tradition and modernity—the deep need for cultural negotiation really hits home.

Maybe that's why the CCP's rhetoric and actions (and also the present HK government, and sometimes the KMT in its less democratic moments) are particularly offensive. It's also why the Asian American community needs to care about these issues. This isn't happening to some far-off country to which you have no ties; it affects your homeland, and it affects the discourse for future generations of 華人, people of Chinese descent: both 華僑 and 華裔.

How you speak to your children; how they view their heritage, their culture, their linguistic upbringing; how they relate to their family history—all of that will be impacted by the polity, and the narrative, and the image of one's ancestral homeland.

P.S. Mayoral elections in Shenyang would be extremely entertaining. (Real elections, not rubber-stamping.) I just can't get it out of my head that this kind of contest will happen in the future, with active campaigning, lively speeches, and open polls. It's going to be a carnival!

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