Recently I have come to the conclusion that I am a cynical idealist. Cynical about reality. Idealistic about the possibilities for humankind. While I see delight in the faces of most people only three Latin words cross my mind observing the scene: panem et circenses. As I cross Nanjing West Rd into Jingan Park, where the daily frenzy of multiple groups of septarian Taiji and Qigong practitioner competing for space and sound dominance is going on, I wonder about the significance of bringing gladiators from Hong Kong into one of the new Chinese capital cities on the occasion of Chinese National Day. Timing couldn’t be better.
I had the opportunity to observe dozens of children ages three to twelve during the last year while trying to qualify as a Montessori teacher. What stroke me as most interesting are generally poor practical life skills and underdeveloped gross motor skills in Chinese children. Observing the playground scene makes me therefore think that nationalism influences education early on. While many of these children have difficulties to walk on unpaved terrain or tie their own shoe laces, they are in the phase of the so called absorbent mind trained to behave like soldiers.
It is a collective inferiority complex which drives parents to subject their children to such a system. I can’t explain it otherwise. It is a collective inferiority complex and a cultural superiority narrative which drives the Chinese to become wealthier and stronger than the West. It’s the same psychological principle which drove the Japanese for decades until the isolation of elderly, the unhappiness of their urban middle-class and alarmingly high suicide rates made some question the national narrative.