Just one more pair of chopsticks
A window into Chinese culture from CCTV and Berkshire Publishing
Three years ago I was getting ready for a trip to China, where I would have cotaught a program on gastrodiplomacy at Schwarzman College in Beijing. After that, I was going to travel with my son, talk to people about new projects, and eat one delicious meal after another.
Of course that didn’t happen, but as the Lunar New Year (or Spring Festival) celebration begins, our collection of CCTV public service announcements remind us of a China that you won’t see or hear about in the daily press. Our Lunar New Year playlist also includes fireworks - clips that Tom Christensen took during his early years in Beijing. The quality isn’t great but the sheer exuberance of this holiday is abundantly clear. I can see why a Chinese expat complained Spring Festival is just too quiet here in the States!
These are troubled times for China, but we can’t turn away. We need to keeping looking, and learning, and reaching out. I’m still hopeful about being there again and making the trip to Yunnan and Sichuan that I had planned in 2020. The author of the first European book about China, which was published in 1569, a Portuguese Dominican priest named Gaspar da Cruz, included this “Notice to the Reader”:
I hereby give readers a necessary warning by which they can conjecture the greatness of the things of China, viz. that whereas distant things often sound greater than they really are, this is clean contrary (because China is much more than it sounds), and the sight must be seen and not heard, because hearing it is nothing in comparison with seeing it.
Wishing you peace and prosperity in the Year of the Rabbit!
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