Love for The Old-School Chinese Attitude

Food for Thought

There was no English name for this new restaurant in Flushing featuring dishes from Wuhan. Nigel told me his friend from Wuhan would be our “sherpa” for this adventure. She ordered everything, so I don’t know what they are called or what the ingredients are.

What I like about the restaurants in Flushing is that they are not self-conscious. This place, too, seems happy to serve just the local Chinese community. If you are not Chinese, it won’t be easy to find it. I think that is the proper way to learn a foreign culture. You don’t sit around waiting for it to come to you; you go learn it.

On YouTube, I came across some videos of “white guy speaking perfect Chinese,” and many of them have millions of views. An Asian guy speaking perfect English would likely get zero views. It tells us how little interest White people have in Asian cultures. White people interested enough in the Chinese language are so rare that the few who master it can amass millions of followers.

The Japanese are probably the most self-conscious of all Asians. Ever since we opened the country for trade, we have been eager to catch up with the West and be recognized as an equal. That vanity partly drove our misadventures in WWII. The audience members, as well as the players, cleaning up after themselves at the last World Cup, wasn’t something that happened naturally; they peer-pressured each other to project a positive image of Japan to the world.

In contrast, I’ve always found Chinese people’s attitude here refreshing. They don’t seem to care what other people think of them. In fact, they care so little that they are willing to bastardize their amazing cuisine and let others believe they are eating “Chinese food.” The Japanese would rather commit harakiri than tarnish our public image to the world. The latter may sound honorable, but the amount of suffering is proportionate to the size of one’s ego.

However, I’ve noticed that the newest generation of Chinese is a bit more self-conscious. I prefer the old-school Chinese attitude. China is on track to become the most powerful nation in the world. They don’t need to pander to the West as Japan did.