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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Seth U.S. growing more and more disturbing (70* d) RE: U.S. growing more and more disturbing 30 Jan 01

I was in the U.S. for a month last summer, after a year in China. Then I returned to China to teach for another year. So what I get about the U.S. is mostly by way of the internet. When I was briefly in Seattle last summer, I was struck by the feelings of mistrust and hostilty that Americans appear to feel toward each other. Pumping gas in my car, buying items at a drug store, just traveling around urban areas. I didn't notice it so much living there for the past fifty-odd years, but when I came back I found it to be so noticeable. People are very jealous about their personal space, and for most Americans, this extends to their cars too. It's like a society of mammals develping exoskeletons. Here's a litttle China story that happened to me today. I was with my wife and daughter in the Old City of Luoyang, eating lunch, trying to find a violin to play. Walking down the muddy, crowded, noisy street, dodging the cabs and bikes coming from every direction. A man in his seventies came up to me, and told me that he had been a officer in the U.S. Army in Burma in the Second World War. We talked for a bit, and he invited us to his home for tea and to see some of his pictures. So we spent an hour or so talking and looking at his books, his letters from his friends in the U.S. and he made us some tea. His home was so small, and so bare. ONe room with concrete walls was what he had. He and I shared a drink of some holiday maitai, we took pictures, exchanged vitals, and all in all had a very lovely afternoon. Very nice man. Many CHinese feel a deep connection to the U.S. for being their allies during WW2, particularly people of his generation. Maybe he wanted something from me, I don't know, I just think he was being gracious. THis doesn't happen to me everyday here, but I do have a friendly interaction with someone every day. Chinese people are really good at showing affection, and at the kind of graciousness I enjoyed this afternoon. I guess it helps to have a culture that is 5000 years old and pretty homogenous. When I travel back to the states, I notice that Americans aren't real good at either one, and don't seem to be getting better as the gap between groups gets wider. What to do? I don't know. I like to get away from the culture of my homeland for a while. Seth from China

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