Unity in Diversity
Good morning ladies and gentlemen!
Are you familiar with the greeting “Long time no see”? Few decades ago, this might be considered as an awkward Chinglish expression and scorned by westerners. But nowadays, not only leaning Chinese is popular in the western world, but also some Chinglish is accepted too.
Culture is just like the grammar of our behaviors. Adopting different ways to perceive the world and react to different situations, China and the West are bound to face clashes between each other. Then what is our attitude towards all these cultural clashes? Is it a life-and-death struggle? Are we going to fight to replace each other? No! The cross-cultural communication and interaction is different from Caesar’s trip to Asia Minor. We come, we see but we never try to conquer each other. Instead, we need each other. And this becomes strong motivation for us to transform the inevitable clashes into achievable coexistence. In order to work this out, an open mind and a strong determination are required.
Here I would like to share my own experience with you. The first time I met with my American teacher Allen, I tasted the bitterness of cultural clashes. “Why are you so quiet”, he asked, disappointed by our silence. The Chinese traditional reservation clashed with the individuality advocated by western culture. Faced with this problem, Allen and my classmates decided to work together to overcome the challenge. Finally, my classmates and I became active and confident in speaking out our own voice, while Allen learned to be more patient with Chinese students.
Indeed, we are different, China and the West. We perceive the world from different angles. We come across clashes when interacting. But it doesn’t matter. Because if we, the individuals, are willing to acquire an open mind and be determined to embrace diversity, we can achieve unity and mutual understanding. Since individuals are the units of their cultures, China and the West are also able to achieve unity in diversity from the perspective of culture. And we are already on the way.
While I am learning the Principles of Management written by Peter Drucker, the MBA students in America are taking the Art of War, the Chinese classical masterpiece, as their required course. While we are watching the inspirational speeches of President Barack Obama, westerners are holding a book named On China written by an old China hand, Henry Kissinger. While Chinese Kung fu made its way into western world, Hollywood movie established its position in Chinese market.
Ladies and gentlemen, unity in diversity is achievable. Remember what Albert Einstein said, “Each of us shines in a different way, but this doesn't make our light less bright.” China and the West, it is the different ways we shine that light up this diversified world instead of a single spot. It is the different ways we shine that provide more possibilities for better cooperation. It is the different ways we shine that enable every individual to enjoy a more colorful life.
So Chinese and Westerners, let us be open-minded and determined to embrace each other. Our differences have diversified this planet. And now our efforts towards unity are going to change the world from a mess cultural smelter into a fantastic mosaic.