Mandela, China and Godot

If I could have asked Mandela one question, it would have been a simple one:

“How do you not hate?”

Imprisoned for decades on an island, but a white minority, that would have fit right at home in Alabama circa 1962.   Originally sentenced to death, Mandela, more for his defiance of the “rule by minority” status of his society at the time, Mandela wasn’t a violent person.  He didn’t kill anybody.   Indeed, he was more dangerous because he wanted justice, and was able to express such sentiment in 
terms more dangerous than that of a gun. 

His ability to live such a long live was remarkable. 

His ability to forgive and move on, when with the wave of a hand, he could have incited the greatest slaughter, is worth mentioning.   The more the minority White Race realized the futility of it’s apartheid policies, the more afraid they became of ending it.   Letting a caged lion you never fed out of it’s cage doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, and it took a chance with letting Mandela free. 

Yet Mandela’s first reaction wasn’t to incite racial division, or use hatred as a weapon to unite his people.  His first actions were the opposite.  There were no show trials.  No purges.  Yes, people did pay the piper.  But it could’ve(should’ve?) been much, much worse.

Which brings me to China today, and Japan.  I do not know how many jobs Japanese factories create in China.  I do know, as I spend much of my time in Shenzhen, and Honda has a factory in Guangzhou, that there are a lot of Honda’s here.  All driven by Chinese.  My guess is that Japanese factories create millions of jobs.   Yet the Chinese govt continues to create an atmosphere of tension towards Japan, that quite frankly doesn’t give a shit.   Politics first, Jobs second.  (You can do that when you don't have to run for election)   

Is there a phrase in Chinese that means “let bygones be bygones”?  过一天算一天?

I dunno.  Yes, Japan was very naughty, and very cruel, and viciously slaughtered millions of Chinese.  
I get that.  So does everybody else.   And if we are using numbers as a metric, than this post fails miserably to properly compare Apartheid to Japan’s oppression of the Chinese People.  

I guess I should not expect to see any light at the end of the tunnel here.  The initial Opium War was approx. 170 years ago.   Still preaching it.  Can’t let anyone forget.  Blah, blah. Blah.  If anything, it should be the British looking themselves in the mirror for playing the role of drug dealer. 

Kudo’s to the Chinese govt for letting it’s people know that yes, they were indeed humiliated back then, and pretty much for a hundred years up to 1949.   Yet that’s also as much to do with the failure, or lack of, Chinese institutions as well, isn’t it?   Strong civil societies with competent and modern officials just don’t let themselves get put into these situations….consistently….over a hundred year period. 

A mature, confident Chinese government would not mention the ACT unless it also mentioned the REASON.   No, the reason isn’t that the barbarians were just mean, naughty people.   They saw a weakness, and evil cads they were, exploited it.  Until we see an honest appraisal of Blame, however,  Until China looks in the mirror, and admits it still has some growing up to do, nothing will change.   

The sad thing is we cannot take away China’s license.  All we can do is get out of the way, and hope it doesn’t swerve towards us.    China is our modern day Godot.  How long will we have to wait for it to grow up, and move on? 


  1. There is an old Chinese saying as "冤冤相报何时了“, which means pretty much the same as “let bygones be bygones”. But it doesn't prevent CCP govt using hatred as part of a systematic brainwashing campaign to legitimise and sustain its ruling

  2. I actually looked that up today at the factory, and it means "if revenge breeds revenge, will there ever be an end to it...:? (Thank you Pleco)...

    1. I should've given you the full version of it, "冤冤相报何时了,得饶人处且饶人". Anyway, I understand your Chinese is pretty good and perhaps you can check Baidu's entry about it( Of course Baidu isn't much of a credible source, but you get the gist. By the way, I'm an overseas Chinese who enjoyed your blog tremendously nevertheless. Keep up the great work, will you?


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