Saturday, December 29, 2007

betajing 3

Stemming from my experience on the Great Wall, extending infinitely both forward and back, yet wholly in the moment, I learn that Chinese language has neither past tense nor future tense. It too is totally in the present.

Another lesson in Chinese language: it behooves one not to use vocab builders like "Chinese government," "Tibet," "Falun Gong," much less names of Chinese officials, in any correspondence, lest suddenly "the Internet" no longer work. Myself, I got kicked out of a Gmail account and Blogger for much of my China connection due to such an indiscretion. And forget looking at BBC News (curiously, one could click on the New York Times, though my paranoia was in the red so that I didn't dare click on the "Choking on Growth" series of articles about China's Industrial Revolution growing pains). An acquaintance tells that during one big political event, access to Hotmail and Facebook countrywide was denied for months on end.

Mao's visage can be seen, resplendent and golden, at the gates of the Forbidden City and in clutches of yuan, yet the main face in China is that of Santa Claus. Clad in red, smugly benevolent and always watching you, he winks at you from every shop window, hinting at the thin veil between communism/capitalism. Or, as The Economist put it recently: