Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Have a fine cloth

I am going to get the U.S. citizenship a few days later. According to Chinese government, double citizenship is not permitted, which means I have to give up Chinese citizenship as soon as I get a foreign citizenship. My friend said, I must very brave to do that. Since she is a Japanese, one shares the similar cultural background with me, I agree with her, it is really a big issue that abandons one's native country.

Indeed, for us, native country is our blood and flesh, how can I cut it off. The day when I cut it off, my physical body is still alive, but my spirit is going to die. Ironically, during the whole process of the nationalization, I never hesitate to do that. Moreover, I pretend that I have no caution about that, as all the Chinese around me have done.

For those Chinese who are living in the America, few of them are not proud that they are in America; for Chinese who are living in China, it is safely to make assumption that more that half of them would come to America immediately if American welcome they free to come.

We come here is not because we love this country, neither so-call pursuing freedom. We have only one ugly goal, making money. It’s so ugly. I believe it is the ugliest thing in the world that abandons self-respect in order to get some cheap benefit.

It’s very painful and shame when I am thinking about that. It is indeed shame regardless how many or how many explanations we could make. Thus, I always avoid thinking.

In ChengDu, the capital city of one of the biggest provinces in China, Sichuan, the average month wage of common workers is two hundred dollars. In my home town, a smaller city, the average month wage is as low as thirty to fifty dollars.

Too poor to care about it is shame or not. Too poor to resist doing anything to change it. In China, when a common young woman wants a fine cloth, she has to spend half of her month wage. I cannot deny that there are many cheap clothes in Chinese markets, but I cannot blame that a young woman wants a fine one. Probably that is also why I feel shame but I still don’t want to blame myself.

I understood that my friend was never trying to hurt me, I feel bad only because she remained me the dark post in my heart. I have had too heavy Chinese traditional influence. Without it, or when it is carefully hided, being a U.S. citizen is entirely a good new for me and my family.


At 9:29 AM , Blogger barry said...

As usual in Cha’s very personal blog a very universal fact of American life is revealed. Loss of identity continues to preoccupy immigrants to America. Through the years much has been written about the feeling of being neither here nor there – not fully American, but not fully what one once was. Cha writes about the pain she is experiencing when contemplating giving up her Chinese citizenship. I was born here so I’m not able to fully feel this loss but I would like to offer a few ideas.

Citizenship refers to one’s pledge to obey the laws governing a particular political entity (nation). It is not an identification of one’s cultural identity. There’s a lot not to like about American foreign policy these days but I don’t think that the government of China has a lot to be proud about when it comes to human rights or the rights of the people in Tibet. To Cha I ask, is it important to you to identify yourself with the government in China today or the rich tradition of Chinese Art and poetry? When you take the oath of allegiance to the United States you will swear to uphold the laws of the United States (the Constitution) but you will not swear to change your heart or give up your cultural identity. They may take your passport but no one can take away that which what has formed you. Your brain and spirit have been nurtured by your parents, your experience, a rich education in Chinese language, literature and philosophy, and your experiences in America at the university and with other Americans.

In fact though there are some culural practices or behaviors that can be called “American”, most Americans retain the values that they grew up with, the values that they learned from parents, friends and teachers. You have and will affect other lives with your intelligence, understanding and experience. American culture is enriched and changed by immigrants from all over the world.

If you are living in the U.S. it is difficult not to fall into the materialistic behavior that marks the worst of American culture. But we in America often forget that we have choices. We can deny the materialism and choose to do things here that will allow us to help people in other parts of the world. In 2008 we vote for a new president.


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