There seems to be more and more public incidents of the slow decay in the ability of the Chinese to repress their frustrations. For decades (and post Mao) they have been told to suppress their emotions more, and over the last few decades 'face' has replaced outburst. But slowly we are seeing this slip, as they are beginning to lose it in public more in recent years than they have in the last 70 years. So have the Chinese changed fundamentally in recent years? No, but their lives have - radically.
While they have always been emotional, many of these things occur previously behind closed doors. All we are seeing is them spilling over into public life. The tensions are becoming great indeed in many areas of their lives, to the point where we are, and will see more public outbursts of frustrations and rage they simply cannot keep bottled up anymore. It's as simple as that.
The latest incident I heard about was in GZ when two Chinese gentleman after an argument over a seat on the metro ended up fighting. Culminating in either a bitten through, or off ear (a bit hazy that part) Crazy right? An empty seat? What is that worth fighting about? It's not. In itself it's nothing. It's simply what we call 'the last straw' or 'breaking point' if you will. And everybody has one.
Longer and more demanding working practices. The 'more' factor. The more you give, the more they expect. Family life, keeping up appearances, marriage, babies, house, car - pressure, pressure, pressure. Getting ahead. Good grades at school. Who has the latest gadgets, and who has the best car. Who is tall, short, thin, fat, ugly, beautiful, big nose, flat nose, dark skin, white skin - any physicality whatsoever really. (being a vastly superficial society these are enormous pressures)
The great and ever increasing divide between those who have and those who want, and all the envy that ensues. The ever swelling ranks in the streets, with little, or no matching infrastructure to keep pace with it. Not to mention the poorly made already available infrastructure crumbling under the strain already. Walking from A to B in China can be an obstacle course of pot holes and people. It's just all so demanding. And without the skills to cope, this is the result.
Through it's recent booming economy China has paid no attention whatsoever to the mounting social frustrations/grievance/stress/and multitudes of little things that are steadily reaching simmering point. Note simmering, not boiling. While that will surely come as there are substantial cracks already apparent in Chinese society - everywhere!
The 17 year old boy who after an argument with his girlfriend kills two of her relatives in her home, and then six others randomly out on the street, injuring more along the way. Why? Is he a bad kid? Bad seed? Insane? No, of course not. He is just another deeply confused/troubled/ignored young man in China who just snapped. I could list many incidents in the last two years, both shocking and tragic. But not however in any way surprising given the culture.
Suicide, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Stress, drinking, gambling, envy. These things are through the roof now. The Chinese are pissed off. And unlike before, they are becoming increasingly unable to keep a lid on it. And in actual fact I am surprised they kept the cork in as long as they have.
I know there are are those who do not care, suffer silently, or cry themselves to sleep at night respectively. But regardless of whatever category you fall into nothing changes. Understanding what is happening in China is a bit like wanting to know what the weather is like. You simply look out the window, or open your door and have a look. It's all there for anyone to see.
Now after decades of 'desperately' trying to get ahead 'at any cost' preceded by a century of starvation it has finally taken it's toll, and they have lost their way. You still however hear them endlessly banging the nationalistic 5000 year history pride drum. But could you honestly say any of that still applies today? They could (and do) but could a sane person I mean?
Just look at the recent National day/Spring Festival break. An estimated 800 million tried to march it's way out of China strapped to those fine upstanding corruption officers (among others) And I am sure as they waited sweating in line at various airports their hearts were filled with their 'pride' for China. The thinking was that they left it until the holiday to lose themselves in the crowds, and had a week before anyone noticed they had done a runner. One official alone was caught with about £600.000 (6 million rmb) on his person trying to board a flight to the UK.
So what can China do about this growing unrest? Build more prisons? Counselling? Educating? Stress therapy? Self help groups? Step up the executions? Give Oprah a call? We could have a Jerry Springer type slug-fest where they come on national TV and beat the hell out of each other in front of cheering crowds? (Not really changed that much since Roman times then)
No, none of these (or anything else) will we see any time soon until we reach critical mass, or god forbid - meltdown.
The Chinese used to be (and while still are in part are, and should/could very well be so again, easily - en-masse) a truly great race of people. Noble, honourable, wise. What happened? Basically, the modern world happened.
While marching briskly ahead economically, sociologically and psychologically they are a desert of despair & confusion. Left behind in many ways by an ever increasingly rushing by world lacking guidance and direction. No, I am not getting out the moral compass again, just saying, It's all getting worse. Of course things always get worse before they get better, but so much of this is totally unnecessary and avoidable. Really.
I know these feelings all to well, and so do you. We all do. It's not that we don't have them, we just know how to manage them or limit the damage they could do by venting harmlessly mostly, or going to the gym, or something.
Here they are left unchecked, misunderstood, ignored, brooding and boiling slowly to dangerous levels.
They lack that experience, foresight or temperance. The catalyst of consequence if you will, that can take any of us from reason to rage in what can all too often be a mere heartbeat. But once the deed is done, it can never be undone. While perhaps not more in control than the Chinese we are often more aware, which is far more important. (unless beer or women are involved then we get REALLY stupid)
But as T.I.C we all know that nothing bad ever happens her, right? Well I hate to break it to you guys but it's already happening all around China. As usual they will simply ignore it, and tragedy after senseless tragedy condemn the individual perpetrators, while ignoring the system/culture that creates the environments for it to thrive. Gee, they are just so smart - they say. I say - it's just wishful thinking.
China Crisis ~ Wishful Thinking ~ Geddit? ; )