Friday, January 05, 2007


"Thank you for a great year. I also appreciate your talk after the midterm. My opinions on the class have changed dramatically. My Dad asked me yesterday about the class. Two months ago I wouldn't have shared my answer with him, but now I told him: 'Imagine a class that could teach you the history of China from its birth until to today. I blew it off at first but I am going to take the exam very seriously.' We both agree on the fundamental importance of China in the new global economy.

Anyway, thanks for helping me through my obstinacy."

- excerpt of a student's email ... He's also about to embark the journey of learning Mandarin.

This moves my heart.

梅ちゃん at 9:04:00 AM



at 1/6/07, 1:02 AM Anonymous Ferdinand said...

It's fascinating to me, how the pull of unicultural "multi-culturalism" stands at tension with a real study of history. The study of other cultures and histories is much more than attending a smorgasbord of customs. It involves becoming part of the hurts, pride, guilt and glory of a culture and a people.

There is a peculiar light that appears when someone makes that connection... a light far more precious to me than the flourescent, soul-less light of passing curiousity... the transient interest of the passive tourist.

If only the study of one's own histories moved people to study others' stories and culture to that same depth. If only in reading about the lives of Britney Spears and Brad Pitt drove us to read about the life of Russians from the time of Cchingis Khan to Stalin... and to feel the pain of a million dying serfs during the great Plagues.

Would we not have fewer wars?


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