Influence of the West
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
35Trip End Mar 28, 2010
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Cuisine - Obvious examples include McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks which have become staples of the diet here... particularly to the younger generation. Will the richness of Chinese foods be lost over time while global chains gain influence? Will Chinese people become as overweight as other nations? I should hope not. (A good case study might be Italy, which has had outright protests against this facet of globalization)
Beauty - I wonder how the definition of beauty here has changed. Since most people from the countryside have not see Europeans before, they are a source of fascination. This is evident when one enters touristic places and sees Chinese insisting on taking photos of Europeans or with them. As more and more move in, it brings in a diversity which has not been seen before. To me, it is normal, but to the majority of locals... non-Chinese is beautiful. So obviously this has many other effects. For example, businesses have started to use more an more European faces in ads. It seems a bit unoriginal / simple-minded to me but I can understand they are trying to make money from it. Which also relates to...
Consumerism - Although this is a natural occurrence of humans in a thriving economy, I somehow did not expect for people have such a limitless thirst for possessions. I was once told that, in the past, people did not see things as theirs (for reasons we should know). And with the progression of capitalism, this has dramatically changed. Now, many people's dreams are to have homes with nice furniture, and BMW's or Mercedes... because isn't this the way the rest of the world is "happy?" Doesn't it sound a bit too... Western? The only surefire consequence is the growing disparity between the rich and poor. Also very familiar.
My point in all this is that the East should find an identity of its own. I like China for what China offers. Of course, there are many areas of improvement but how well it can imitate the Western world should not be one. Welcoming businesses is one thing, but being influenced by their culture is another. Unfortunately, the good tends to come with the bad.
This, of course, while I anticipate Christmas time... ahh, the irony.