By Alex Chan ‘18
For this culture themed article, we move towards the eastern hemisphere. A large country home to almost twenty percent of the world’s population, The People’s Republic of China, or more known as simply China. China has been around for more than a millennium, but it was not until October 1st 1949 that the People’s Republic of China was officially founded by councilman Mao ZeDong. Nevertheless the Chinese culture of the people have deep roots in ancient China, however we are not here to talk about the long and boring history that led up to modern China. We are here to talk about China today, what has become of it, and life there.
“I strongly agree with respecting elders and taking care of your parents when they’re old. I don’t agree with how they expect girls to be more involved in household responsibilities than boys are.” – Claire Zhu ‘19
Starting off with Confucianism, after Confucius’ death, his disciples compiled his teachings in The Analects of Confucius. They began to spread these teachings throughout China. A later disciple, Mencius (372 – 289 BCE), became an ardent proponent of Confucianism and further spread its teachings among the people. The core teachings of Confucianism revolved around accepted values and norms of behavior in basic human relationships. Simply put, it set social norms around how people should behave around specific people such as your parents, or grandparents, etc. However although Confucianism is not strictly practiced amongst the Chinese, it is still a part of our daily lives. Simple behaviors such as letting elders eat first during a dinner night or addressing parents with respect are small but important things to the Chinese culture. Not doing so is a sign to others as disrespect.
“I guess from an outside standpoint Chinese food is pretty decent and mildly healthy. It’s not exactly super healthy though because Chinese people always eat some form of rice for every meal. That’s a lot of carbs. We also use a lot of salt and MSG.” – Joyin Wong ‘18
Food, a big part of all countries and their respective cultures, has varied amongst different areas in China. The four in particular we will be talking about are the Shandong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Guangdong Cuisine, and Jiangsu Cuisine. All of these cuisines differ due to their respective regions and geographical situations. Shandong Cuisine specializes in boldness and unconstrained looks through their expression of bold thick colors. Such dishes include soups because of their flexibility, meaning they can be created many different ways because of the variety of ingredients. Overall however, Shandong Cuisine focuses more on freshness, liveliness and insipidity though its flavor gives priority to tenderness. Sichuan Cuisine specializes in spiciness and heavily seasoned flavor since the introduction of the pepper. Guangdong Cuisine is especially skillful in techniques of stir-frying, frying, stewing and braising. This particular cuisine tends to focus more on special care, taken to make sure that the tastes are light but not tasteless, fresh but not vulgar, tender but not raw, oily but not greasy. And finally, Jiangsu Cuisine focuses more on even taste and matching color, with dishes incorporating river fish/shrimps and duck. This cuisine specializes in light, fresh and sweet flavors, with a presentation that is delicately elegant.
“The Chinese culture is a very humble thing. Parents expect a lot from their own children. Asian parents tend to limit the things that we can do as children to meet their expectations.” – Andy Gao ‘18
Finally, to top it off, stereotypes. A prime example, Chinese parents strictness levels are taken to a whole new level when it comes to grades and behavior. But although it may be true, I feel that there is more to that than just grades and expectations. Coming from a nation that has not seen the brightest of days, it is only natural to want their kids to grow up in a better environment. Of course, this can be said about parents of all types of nationalities, since a lot of the people who live in the United States are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants who saw the U.S as somewhat of a restart point to their lives. In the end, all cultures are interconnected in some way, shape, and/or form, and no matter how different we may seem from each other, it doesn’t change the fact that we are all human beings.