What makes China, China?

A multitude of thoughts regarding the state of China has been brewing in my brain for a while –  the speed of China’s growth, the Cultural Revolution, the destruction of vernacular architecture, the construction of “vernacular architecture,” foreign tourism, local tourism, Arts and Crafts, the Chinese people, the Chinese government, and the list goes on and on.

The source of these topics is the brainstorm in an attempt to answer this question – What makes China, China?

 

I have graduated from Architecture school (undergrad) for a year now. Through my travels in Europe and Asia, I’ve noticed most countries are extremely proud of their culture. They celebrate their nation’s Arts – the French are in love with their language, and refuse to speak English even though they’re fluent, the Austrians have their Viennese waltz and hold balls every winter. But the one culture that really stands out to me are the Japanese – They celebrate everything – be it their elaborate tea ceremony, the training of geisha, even their oddball otaku and anime culture.

And I couldn’t help but wonder – what do WE (the Chinese) celebrate? I think perhaps the only thing we are most proud of are our dim sum restaurants! This is particularly disheartening because I think we had so much going for us – our paper cutting, our calligraphy, our operas, and much more, but most importantly, our architecture! (but, of course!)

I am extremely envious of the Japanese being so proud of their country. I wish all Chinese people can understand the value of what they already have. I have never really explored the mentality of the Chinese people regarding their take on their own culture (so I could be getting all frustrated for nothing) but just based on what’s going on in China, they all seem too eager to adopt other styles as oppose to exploring their own past and evolve it into new Chinese identity. At the moment, we don’t have an identity – we are merely copying the past, and regurgitating it to satisfy foreign tourism. This is such a shame.

I would like to raise awareness of our own culture – spread the love. But first, I’d need to educate myself in it, really well. Does anyone know of any programs, preferably in China/HK/Taiwan that would teach traditional Chinese architecture/history? I would love to have some kind of first hand experience as well. While I would really like to travel into the country side to see older vernacular architecture, my limited Chinese skill has made me hesitant – and it’d be great to meet like minded people striving for the same thing. Or maybe I just need to do a lot more research. Is there anything you would suggest for me to further the endeavor?

I found this awesome blog by Wencheng Yan. Take a look!

http://www.chinesevernaculararchitecture.com/

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~ by atsilac on October 27, 2010.

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