On Being Grateful Guests

Watching the unfolding of the recent counter-protests by the oversea Chinese against the Lhasa massacre that more than 19 people were killed by the Tibetan terrorists and their plan to disrupt the Olympic torch rally, and to support the Beijing Olympics, I am excited, with caution however.  I, being accustomed to the western culture and way of thinking, know what is coming.

 

Sure enough, barely recovered from the shock of seeing so many Chinese outside of China all at once, some started to smear the oversea Chinese from every angle possible.  One particular type of attack caught my attention, not because it’s nasty or original, but because we all have seen it in action before.

 

You might be among the 1% of westerners who still remember the demonstration by the illegal Hispanic immigrants in the US against the increasing hostilities and prosecution against them last year.  Do you happen to remember what kinds of criticism were mounted against them?  One of them, interestingly enough, is exactly what we are seeing today, accusing them being ungrateful guests.

 

TV pundits pounded on the fact that they didn’t see enough American flags being waved by the protesters.  Another evidence they cited is an old soccer match between US and Mexico held in Los Angeles that majority of the Hispanic fans supported the Mexico national team.  The Hispanic activists started urging their communities to use both American and Latin American flags in their future protests in order to avoid being called “ungrateful” again, and they did.

 

Did it work?  Well, sort of.  Nobody mentioned the lack of American flags and that soccer match anymore, but the game of blaming everything on the illegal immigrants had since become the most favorite national past time.  Jobs being lost, health care going downhill, crime rate shooting up, and even some environmental problems became the faults of the illegal Hispanic immigrants.  I kid you not, go back and look at the taps, and you will realize just how creative some can be.

 

This time, however, things are a little different.  (Please take some time to understand the sarcasms in the following)  We don’t stand on street corners waiting for a day job, we stay in the classrooms and offices.  We don’t deplete the public funding for emergency services, we pay our own share in tax and health insurance.  We don’t do crimes, we work hard to raise our families.  We don’t have noisy parties that cops have to come three times, we remain quite even in our own homes.  We don’t ask for bilingual education, our kids are doing just great as is.

 

Can you say model guests or citizens?  Well, at least before March of 2008?

 

Let’s parse what happened since March, shall we?  Those “peaceful” protestors went on a rampage on the streets of Lhasa, the capital of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, once filled with shoppers and tourists from all over the world, resulting in hundreds of shops, hospitals, schools burned, and 19 innocent civilians killed or burnt to death.

 

We didn’t ask you to feel the same way as we do, but we did hope you can understand our anger, just as we understood yours after 911.  We didn’t ask you to be on our side, but we did hope you can stop demonizing China by manipulating the pictures and footages.  We didn’t ask you to accept the stories of our side, but we did hope you stop repeating the lies of Dalai Lama and his followers.  We didn’t ask you to stop believing what you believe, but we did hope you give us the same respect without labeling anyone as being brainwashed.  We didn’t ask you not to support the exiled Tibetans and even their actions to disrupt the torch rally, but we did hope you could accept the fact that we care enough and we want to show our support for 2008 Beijing Olympics.  And finally, we didn’t ask your politicians not to do what they do best, pandering to their constituency, but we did hope you could therefore understand our outrage toward their actions.

 

So, after all the pleas went unanswered, hundreds of thousands of oversea Chinese went on to the streets and for the very first time, we shown the world what we can do united.  Let me, and in no way I am the first one or the only one, admit that a minority of the Chinese did cross the line and had physical confrontation with the other side, and a few even went so far to attack the personal characters of a Duke freshman from China who has different ideas on how to resolve the Tibetan issue.

 

There you have it, most Chinese agree that we should have done better, but does the action of the few make us all ungrateful guests?  What kind of guests are you when you are on our land then?

 

Your leaders came to our university campuses and gave speeches about freedom, democracy and human rights.  That’s fine, that’s what they do.  But, did they have to be so arrogant to lecture the citizens of a country with 5000 years of unbroken history?  Did they have to be so arrogant to accuse China of everything and be so greedy to force the Chinese to buy their products?  Did they have to be so arrogant to push your own beliefs and values on us?  Do I have to refresh your minds on the days of your military rampaging on our home land?  Are the civilized civilians from the west doing any better than those politicians?  Do they have any respect toward the Chinese people?  Do they have any respect toward Chinese culture?  Now look in to the mirror and you know what I am talking about.

 

So, when your point your finger at us and calling us the ungrateful guests, didn’t you realize that you have four fingers pointing back at yourself?  Have you been grateful guests on our land?

 

But, you are right.  We really should have done better.  Let me apologize on behalf of the few.

 

Furthermore, let me apologize to you that we did wake you up from your sweet dreams of the continued dominance of western culture, we did scare you with our numbers and strength, and we did interrupt your plan of another self-righteous China bashing.  I do apologize on behalf of all Chinese people.

 

I also want to apologize that things are not going to be the same anymore.  We are not going to return to be the silent ones, we are not going to return to be your punching bags, and we sure are not going to return to tolerate your ignorance, arrogance and constant insults.  Again, I do apologize on behalf of all Chinese people.

 

But I will make you one promise.  I promise that the Chinese are going to be more professional when playing your games.  We will organize better when we feel strong enough to go back to the streets again, we will prepare better next time when we want to fight any unfair accusation, and we will make sure that we respect your right to free speech but we will let our voices heard loud and clear.

 

And, unless you are a good host and guest yourself, don’t expect us to do better.  After all we are all human beings and we should be treated equal, right?

 

I am glad that we had this talk.  Free exchange of ideas is fun, isn’t it?

 

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4 Comments

Filed under China, Politics

4 responses to “On Being Grateful Guests

  1. pug

    It is sad that it is hard to get sympathetic ears because what you described as ‘information dominance.’ It was really effective to dupe us to get rid of Saddam. They are doing the same thing to China.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0108-09.htm

  2. mitwildthing

    It is a nice discussion of being grateful guests. I do admire how well United States has treated its guests — immigrants and visitors. I think the open society of US makes it easier for foreigners to get aquainted with local customs and the diverse culture makes it easier for the locals to accept the foreigners. On the other hand, I don’t feel like being a guest because only on very few occasions that I am being reminded as such.

    One occasion was at the Detroit airport when a couple of border patrol officers found it very amusing to give me misguided directions and then used abusive language to make themselves feeling better for earning minimal wage. When I challenged their abuse of power, they simply reminded me that I was a guest and it was a privilege but not a right to enter the United States. True, it is a privilege. However, such privilege was earned by me through hard work and dedication, as well as superior intelligence, which these glorified security guards were apparently lack of. Actually, this reminded me a scene from a movie, where the actress got angry at a border patrol officer and commented that the officer was one step away from flipping burgers.

    Of course, the recent events have triggered similar feelings that I had at Detroit airport. This time, it is not the border patrol but the radio, TV, newspaper commentators and anonymous racists who are expressing similar comments that we are guests and we are not grateful for the given privilege of staying in United States.

    But then again, I don’t feel like a guest. If I were a guest, why should I pay taxes? Especially the social security tax and medicare/medicaid taxes that I might never get to enjoy if I return to my home country. Now that I have become permanent resident. Am I still a guest? Maybe not. Afterall, the ID card says permanent stay. On the other hand, no matter how successful I might ever be, when I cross the airport check point, the border patrol still has the power to turn me away for any stupid reason or just for his/her amusement.

    So it becomes clear that a guest in United States is someone who has to work to feed him/herself and at the same time, pay just as much or more taxes than the host. Yes, foreigners don’t always enjoy the same tax break as locals. And yet, the guest faces the everyday reality that he/she may be sent back for any stupid reasons. Locals may not know that a guest including green card holders may be deported for petty offences that most people only needs to pay fines.

    Indeed this is exactly how the politicians view guests in this country. Some geniuses in Washington had proposed legistlation called guest worker program that allows Mexicans to come to work in United States when there is need for them and send them back when such needs are gone. So the United States enjoys the best of both worlds: cheap labor and pure white society.

    Before you think that you are not Mexicans, please pay attention to how this Guest worker program is so similar to the H-1B program. True, H-1B visa holders can apply for Green card but with the current shortage of visa numbers, do you think all H-1B holders will be able to stick to his/her job for so long to eventually get one? The US congress can easily solve this problem by recapturing the tens of thousands of precious visa numbers wasted by the beauracracy everyone hates — USCIS. However, very few of these politicans care to take action. Is this simply neglect or just by design?

    So you can see that many guests are not really guests in this country. We work, we pay taxes, even more so than the locals, we don’t enjoy less benefits than the locals, we suffer severe restrictions in traveling and in job placement, in education, now in getting drivers licenses. We are more immigrants than guests. Before you locals start to bash immigrants, please think that this is an immigrant country. Everyone here except the Native Americans are immigrants. Yes, we are grateful and yes we want our voices heard. So please don’t remind us how to be grateful. We are being plenty of that already.

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