In Cracks between Two Worlds book cover

In Cracks between Two Worlds

Genre: Essay

In the north, farmers grow corn and grains; in the south, they may grow rice and other tropical crops. Oranges and mangoes cannot survive the winter in the north. Polar bears and penguins can't stand the scorching tropical sun. The same goes for people. Americans do not understand why the Chinese love to hoard cash; use chopsticks; sacrifice their own well-being for the benefit of the larger community; used to be so passionate about the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution that brought about their own miseries; and still hate individualism today. The Chinese do not understand why American political correctness means accepting gay, bisexual and transgender people; why Americans are so spiritual and worshiping of God, and yet there are still so many mass shootings, party rapes, and runaway teenagers; Why does the President of the United States dislikes social media reporting on him and must sue the social media in court instead of shutting it down on the spot; why the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects the right of ordinary people to bear arms, etc. I am both Chinese and American. In the twenty years since entering the new millennium, I have not seen the cracking distance between the two citizens getting closer or more tolerant, but getting drifted further away. The Chinese believe that they have finally caught up, and their standard of living is almost as good as that of the Americans. But Americans miss the good old days of the 1970s, when the standard of living was better than it is today. Americans' living standards have not improved in 50 years, but have retreated. So the Chinese may have just caught up with the United States 50 years ago. Or maybe still not. The difference is not just the material life or how much money each country has. The bigger difference lies in culture, ideology, worldview and lifestyle. The cracks are as big as ever, and they are getting bigger and bigger. One of my Caucasian American employees asked me: "Why do you Chinese fight each other when the whole world treats the Chinese so badly?" Yes, I totally agreed. When the Jews were treated badly in the older world, the Jews were united. A Jewish law was enacted to insure that every Jew must help another Jew anywhere in the world. When a black person in the United States is abused, the entire black population would be united and fight for that one black person. The same is true for the Japanese, they will protect one of their own at all costs. Why do we Chinese have to cut each other's throats? Honestly, I don't know the answer. My cousin’s 11-year-old daughter lived in my New York home for 3 years. I arranged for her to go to an American middle school for 3 years, until the Coronavirus Pandemic hit us and closed her school, disrupted her life in the United States. After she returned to China, her mother told me that her daughter had been brainwashed by the United States and she had to re-educate her to make her more Chinese again. In September this year, my old family friend in Beijing sent her 19-year-old daughter to study at a university in the United States. He asked me to keep an eye on her and added her WeChat to my WeChat contact list. One Saturday, I saw her hanging out with her new American friends, and her father blamed her for not studying in the library instead. I intervened for his daughter and told her father that an important part of her study in the United States was to mingle with the locals. She did the right thing on the weekend. I have lived and worked in the United States for more than 30 years. I think I was brainwashed by the United States much more deeply than an 11-year-old child. This has been proven true. My own mother in China told a person I knew that her son had been contaminated badly in America. I know that I am completely different from 30 years ago, but is it good or bad? I am not the judge. My mother’s evidence is that I spent my money on luxuries and didn’t like the things she gave me that I thought were useless. My mother hand-knitted a small 3ft x 3ft bed pad for me. She wanted me to put it on my bed and sleep on it to keep me warm. But I didn't because it was uncomfortable. She was very mad about this. Now, I finally have the opportunity to meet Chinese classmates who have been out of touch for more than 30 years, of course online. I found a chat group they set up on WeChat. I'm in. Interested in knowing what they are talking about, and at the same time preparing for the conflict between two worlds, two cultures and opposite lifestyles. There are about 460 Chinese peers registered in this chat group. I know that some of my former classmates have become government officials at the ministerial or bureau level. Of course, there are no such people here. These are ordinary Chinese citizens. They work, cook, line up to buy groceries, wait for hours to see a doctor, and save hard-earned money for their children’s education. Ideal Chinese citizens. They never criticize their government policies. They are proud of their country and sincerely believe that they are better than the rest of the world. But they do not hesitate to criticize the United States at any time or even speak foul languages, believing that the United States is the biggest trouble maker in the world today. They call the US President and Secretary of State "Rogues." Obviously, the anti-American sentiment among them is very high, which makes me ask that am I in an Iranian chat group? However, many of them sent their children to study in American universities. This reminds me of what Donald Trump once declared, "All Chinese students studying in the United States are Chinese spies." Trump is not accurate in making that judgment, but what prompted him to say that? He did not join this chat group, nor did he read ordinary Chinese anti-American posts, but his advisers must have told him about the anti-American sentiment of ordinary Chinese citizens. I assume.
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