Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Coffee and Tea

I'm just taking a little break from classes and use the free computers at the school. The computers suck, but they are free! If they were faster they would probably be hogged by the Koreans, so it is probably pretty good anyway.

Last night I went to a lecture at BeiDa. The class is called Comparison of Eastern and Western Cultures. First I have to say that I understand very little of what the professor is talking about. The little things I got was when Wang Jun translated them for me. She things the class is great. It all seemed to boiled down to showing the superiority of the "Eastern Culture" to the excitement of the Chinese student that was attending. Wang Jun mused when the professor pointed out and ridiculed weaknesses in "Western" languages. It sure is interesting to compare different aspect of cultures, and I had a very interesting class that I took in Singapore on this subject, but how ridiculous it was to turn it into some sort of competition or nurturing of nationalistic feelings.

Maybe I misunderstood some things, but actually I think it was worse than I try to reflect here. When thinking about it, some of the teachers and the text books I had last semester took every opportunity to do just the same. How tea is so much better than coffee, how Chinese never solve disputes by fighting (!), how superior Chinese medicine is to "Western" etc. One text explained how superior the Chinese abacus was to electronic calculators and that more and more people was starting to use it. Even in foreign countries, like the United States, the abacus was getting more and more popular as people understood it's advantages. Sure tea is great, Chinese are fighting every day, Chinese medicine has it's uses, and the abacus is... eh... useful, but I hope that in the future time the Chinese won't be taught and teaching like this is some sort of competition. If you want to drink tea, go ahead. I don't really think it has miraculous health effects, but if you think so, just go ahead. I like coffee because I'm used to it.

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