Saturday, May 03, 2008

What Do You Want From Us?


Völker Europas, wahrt eure heiligsten Güter! 
(Peoples of Europe, guard your most sacred possessions!)
Hermann Knackfuß, 1895
Commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II, and made a gift to Tsar Nicholas II

The Archangel Michael, patron saint of the Germans, surrounded by Valkyrie-like women representing the peoples of Europe, points to a floating Buddha approaching from the East amidst dark storm clouds. From right to left: Marianne (France), Germania, Russia, Austria, Italia, Britannia.

"Because the European does not know his own unconscious, he does not understand the East and projects it into everything he fears and despises in himself."
-- Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

What Do You Want From Us?  
Bevin Chu
May 3, 2008

"What Do You Want From Us?" is a thought-provoking piece that has been widely circulated on the Internet. The author has apparently chosen to remain anonymous.
It has also been made into video versions. Here are some of them:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rApn09pRZCk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW5AA1xWIck&feature=related
I have posted my own, slighted edited version of it below.

The original version has also been posted here for comparison.


Sun Yat-sen, Father of Modern China, revered both on the mainland and on Taiwan. Original brush painting by Sun reads: 天下為公 (Tian Xia Wei Gong), loosely translated as "The Universal Brotherhood of Man," the traditional Chinese view of the world

What Do You Want From Us?
Revised Version by Bevin Chu

When we were the Sick Man of Asia, you called us the Yellow Peril.
When we are billed the Next Superpower, you call us the China Threat.
When we closed our doors, you demanded we open them so you could import your drugs.
When we embrace free trade, you blame us for taking away your jobs.
When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and demanded your share of the booty.
When we try to put the pieces back together, you scream "Free Tibet! Invasion!"
When we tried Communism, you hated us for being Communists.
When we embrace capitalism, you hate us for being capitalists.
When our population reached one billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.
When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we were abusing human rights.
When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.
When we loan you money, you blame us for your national debt.
When we build our industries, you call us polluters.
When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.
When we buy oil, you call it genocide.
When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.
When we were in chaos, you demanded the rule of law.
When we uphold law and order, you call it violating human rights.
When we were silent, you said you wanted us to enjoy free speech.
When we are silent no more, you call us brainwashed xenophobes.
Why do you hate us so much, we asked.
No, you answered, we don't hate you.
Well, we don't hate you either. But do you understand us?
Of course we do, you said, we have AFP, BBC, and CNN
What do you want from us? Really?
Think hard before you answer, because you only get so many chances.
Enough is Enough. Enough hypocrisy is enough.
We want One World and Peace on Earth.
This Big Blue Marble is big enough for all of us.

What Do You Want From Us? [Traditional Chinese]

你們要我們怎麼著?

我們被稱為“東亞病夫”時,說我們危險。
我們要做下一個超級大國了,說我們威脅

我們閉關時,你們偷運毒品來打開市場。
我們擁抱自由貿易了,你們怪我們搶走了你們的飯碗。

我們四分五裂時,你們大兵開進要你們公平的份額。
我們把打碎的碎片拼到一起時,你們高叫“自由西藏”!“那是入侵”。

所以我們嘗試了共產主義,你們恨我們是共黨。
所以我們擁抱了資本主義,你們恨我們是資本家。

然后我們有了10億人,你們說我們在毀滅這個星球。
然后我們就限制我們的數量,你們說這是踐踏人權。

我們窮的時候,你們認為我們是狗,
我們貸款給你們時,你們又怪我們讓你們欠了債。

我們建立我們的工業時,你們說我們污染。
我們把貨物賣給你們時,你們責怪我們讓全球變暖,
我們買石油時,你們說那是剝削和種族滅絕。

我們陷入混亂時,你們要我們法治。
我們維護法律和秩序反對暴力時,你們說那是侵犯人權。

我們沉默時,你們說你們要我們有言論自由。
我們不再沉默了,你們說我們被洗腦了。

你們為什麼這麼恨我們?我們問。“不”,你們回答,“我們不恨你們。”
我們也不恨你們。但是,你們理解我們嗎?“當然理解,”你們說,“我們有CNN, BBC和CBC。”

但是怎麼搞的,我們仍然覺得,你們西方人不喜歡我們。
你們到底要我們怎麼著?

我的朋友,你們真的到底要我們怎麼著?


Big Blue Marble, Western Hemisphere


Big Blue Marble, Eastern Hemisphere

What Do You Want From Us?
Original Version by Anonymous

When we were the Sick Man of Asia, We were called The Yellow Peril.
When we are billed to be the next Superpower, we are called The Threat.
When we closed our doors, you smuggled drugs to open markets.
When we embrace Free Trade, You blame us for taking away your jobs.
When we were falling apart, You marched in your troops and wanted your fair share.
When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again, Free Tibet you screamed, It Was an Invasion!
When tried Communism, you hated us for being Communist.
When we embrace Capitalism, you hate us for being Capitalist.
When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.
When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.
When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.
When we loan you cash, you blame us for your national debts.
When we build our industries, you call us Polluters.
When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.
When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.
When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.
When we were lost in chaos and rampage, you demanded rules of law.
When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it violating human rights.
When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.
When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed-xenophobics.
Why do you hate us so much, we asked.
No, you answered, we don't hate you.
We don't hate you either, But, do you understand us?
Of course we do, you said,We have AFP, CNN and BBC's...
What do you really want from us?
Think hard first, then answer... Because you only get so many chances.
Enough is Enough, Enough Hypocrisy for This One World.
We want One World, One Dream, and Peace on Earth.
This Big Blue Earth is Big Enough for all of Us.

5 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Chu,

    Again, you present this poem as thought-provoking, but it works to undermine the very thing that it supposedly hopes to establish. It's several dozen lines of vague accusations of what "you" (the US? France? Europe? the World?) do/did to "us" that lead up to a call for mutual understanding.

    I don't have a problem with criticizing Western views of China, which I believe are often quite skewed among those who aren't familiar with the country and its history. Nor, of course, do I think its unfair to criticize China for many of its current practices. Yet the above poem is indicative of a considerable misunderstanding of what the outside world is actually saying about China.

    In fact, that's probably the only meaningful aspect of the poem: that it gives us a look at how criticisms of China are perceived in China.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would like to echo Robert's points.

    Yes, the west's view of China is generally distorted or ill-informed.

    However, the poem nationalistic tone comes across as both paranoid and xenophobic.


    Paul
    expat - 15 years Taiwan

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous1:51 PM

    both you guys are stupid
    i have experienced these criticisms in real life arguements and i believe that yes americans, especially really white americans think the way the poem is says china is being accused and really though why do the majority of white american hate china and blame china.
    you can really go in depth about each little section but im sure that people of america has only criticized china on the surface. do you understand what i mean? and therefore this poem gives surface responses.

    and what it sounds to me is that both you people are trying to make china sound like a bad country. but who ever said that america doesnt have its skeleton in the closet. america has the biggest one and hides it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous5:17 PM

    Robert and Paul try to appear to be fair, but actually propopse that Chinese is intolerant to negative comments, and this is not true.
    They do not have an inkling of the victimisation and humiliation China suffer on the hands of the so called champions of human rights and freedom - the excuses they use to subjugate and exploit others for their benefits till today.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The China demonizers merely confirm their cluelessness when they insist "But that's not the way it is" and redouble their efforts to project their own shadow onto the Chinese people.

    The irony is that the Chinese man in the street has an excuse. As the China demonizers never tire of pointing out, the regime in Beijing was not popularly elected by the Chinese people. Therefore the wrongs it commits do not (necessarily) represent the popular will.

    The regime in Washington, on the other hand, as the Neocolonialists never tire of pointing out, was popularly elected by the American people. Therefore the wrongs it commits the world over, do represent the popular will of the American people. At least according to the Neocolonialists' own logic.

    ReplyDelete