So, just for the record, I want to get something off my chest.
I tend to be a positive person. My general life philosophy is keep the good things close, and ruthlessly cut out the bad. (I’m said I’m positive, not kind-hearted.) I maintain this attitude in all aspects of life: guys, job, hobbies, friends. And China.
Look, I like living in China. I like talking about China and I like to show the more positive side of things. This has led some people thinking I’m naive or a wumao. But I’m not. I live here, remember? I deal with the pollution, the spitting, the shitting and pissing on the streets. I deal with VPN’s to get unblocked internet and try to find open websites for my students to use. I see people shooting disgusting snot rockets at the bus stop and I walk over piles of garbage everyday.
I’ve seen the documentaries on the poorest of the poor, I know about Xi Jinping’s corruption crack-down. You don’t need to send me links to articles about Tiananmen Square, the pollution, or how some rich guy knocked down and killed a police officer who stopped him for speeding. By the time you read about something in the New York Times, I’ve probably not only heard about it from multiple sources, but I’ve lived with it. (We have news here too you know.)
There are so many problems here (as everywhere). I just don’t see the need to talk about it. If you want to find the negative articles about China, about the pollution, the worrying economy or crack-down on dissidents, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of sources on that. It seems like not one news article can be written in a Western newspaper without at least one sentence on Tiananmen.
What there isn’t a lot of is sources for more positive stories about China. Stories of everyday life. Of the wonders and oddities of the country seen through, not a critical, glaring eye, but a positive and open eye. Stories of dating Chinese men, trying new food, seeing new things and struggling with the language. That’s the hole I’m trying to fill.
So have I “drank the kool-aid?” Well, if drinking the kool-aid means that I judge a country based on the people and the culture I have experienced rather than the actions or policies of the government, then yes. I have. I don’t want people to judge me as an American based on what our congress is doing, or what Americans have done in the past. And I’m not going to do that in China.
It doesn’t mean everything is coated in a Pollyanna sheen. I complain and get frustrated regularly. (I’m working on an article about the pollution right now.) But it’s not something I focus on, or want to focus on. Deal with it.