Sunday, 24 January 2010

Confucian Enlightenment

I read a really interesting article by Grace Moon today about the right to rule - divine/ democratic/ conduct befitting. Are we really more advanced and civilised than 5,000 year old China? Read the article see what you think...
Here is how I responded:
I am always intrigued by Chinese women - such formidable matriarchs yet such an underclass in China. I never understand women's oppression anywhere - I think we are so formidable I pity the man who tries to cage us - but that leaves me to suspect that we are complicit in our own submission??!?? I often find women to be far more vehement in their sexism and gender expectations/enforcement - even lots of gay women... Straight women are almost always caustically hard on themselves and other women - whilst expecting so much less from a man??

I don't think that you can either fully understand, nor criticise from a superior position, a culture you are not within - there is so much poverty and human rights violations in both our countries - admittedly in a less in your face way - but that doesn't make us superior.
I think so much that happens in China politically is wrong - but Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and inner city estates in the UK have taught me that there is a lot of dirt under our liberal democratic rugs - more than I ever imagined even as a cynical politics Graduate. We and our governments are ALL wrong. I remember something that Confucius said about learning from everybody - from their irritating or bad ways how not to be - from their good and admirable ways how to be - He said it with eloquence and brilliance. But I try to follow it - How we are is what will change others not what we say.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The North Wind Does Blow and We Shall Have...

The wind has blown strongly from the North in England and it has bought with it ice and snow, both a delight and a frustration. We are not geared up for any prolonged snowfall in England and schools close at the slightest opportunity - leaving me at home with very hyperactive children for most of the week. Wrapping up warm whilst taking brisk walks, sledge rides, making snowmen and having snowball fights are real winter joys, but a three year old with a chest infection precludes most of them for more than a few minutes. Even roaring log fires and steaming mugs of tea can dull in their delight when they are more of an essential then an indulgence. But the wind has brought with it flocks of field fares and redwings to bejewel the garden in exchange for the berries that they have devoured leaving the barest branches.