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Additional resources for Objectivity and Cultural Divergence (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, volume 17)
When the wind changed, she would spread word of some form of miraculous qigong. Someone in her work unit said that she would wear a Communist party badge on her coat, fasten a picture of Buddha to her vest and pin a portrait of Great Master Zhang of the Zangmigong sect to her bra. Seeing my look of incredulity, I was told this woman was often mentioned in the newspapers. She was named as a model worker every year, and had been selected as an outstanding party member many times. Are those Chinese women crazy?
A friend in Shanghai called me last week complaining about her 22-year-old daughter. ‘She has become a very western girl, changes boyfriend every week, goes to nightclubs and pubs. Does she eat with us at the weekends? Does she cook? No, she has no interest in our Chinese traditions of health and food any more. Every day she eats Kentucky, McDonald’s, rubbish fast food. ’ I didn’t offer any suggestions because I still don’t know how to make Chinese children seem Chinese in their mothers’ eyes.
What? Why? ’ More and more voices spoke out. ’ I was totally lost. They started laughing and had strange looks on their faces. ‘OK, I am going! ’ I thought they wouldn’t calm down unless I went. As I passed through a long hall full of other students, more laughter followed my steps. ’ I saw myself in the mirror. My face was covered with colourful kiss marks. They had been there throughout the 45 minutes I was teaching my colourful-lipped students. I went back to the classroom in tears. My students were waiting for me quietly.