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« Cloning: It's not just for Buddhists and Hindus | Main | Another Taoist Thanksgiving »

November 21, 2007


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Hey Sam ,
I am catching up on some of your marvelous, touching and erudite posts. Interesting to see your take on the India China contrasts. Although I have never been to India and only spent minimal time in China (one week to be exact), I work with quite a few Indians and Chinese, and have worked with even more over the years. Interestingly, my impressions have been almost exactly the opposite. THe Indians seem much more open to breaking of their traditions and also seem much more open to transcultural assimilation. While appreciating all that you say of China is most assuredly true - the Chinese here seem much more, how to say it, Chinese than the Indians do Indian. By this I mean there almost always seems to be an ethnic comparison, identification and consciousness at the fore of the Chinese mind (when they're in the west). This seems to be much less apparent in the Indian mind. I don't know how this relates to tradition per se, but I think it acts as the glue that allows the Chinese to have borne out the tumultuous century that just passed and still remain so true to the history. I surely agree that the long unified history of China when compared to India's more diverse demographic history must have something to do with this. One fascinating statistic that speaks to the caste power in India is that while China has a much higher per capita GDP than India, India has many more billionaires. In any case we are lucky to have two such dynamic giants. I can't wait to see what new drugs and technologies get developed over the next 50 years.

Kerala is a wonderfull place to visit in india.

Sam Ni hao,

Your cleverly crafted blog post is extremely thought provoking, no doubt.

Being an Indian, I almost agree with your point of view. However, India, like China, being a large country, it is difficult to generalize on where the population is headed in terms of their preferences relating to tradition and modernism. This fact is made more difficult when you consider that Indians as a whole are more diverse than the Chinese; be it looks, social beliefs, religion, wealth etc. In such a case you could always find different groups among the people in India headed towards different extremes.

I work in IT (duh), and to let you know, at least 8 out of my 10 Indian colleagues have had arranged marriages. It can be safely said that these guys are relatively more exposed to western culture and literature than an average Indian. It thoroughly confuses my modest mental capabilities. :-)


Hi Sam, as a chinese, major at culture study, I dont think all of your ideas are perfect. I think China is still on her wheels of the sprit of tradition. The chinese history tells us whatever happened in China will not change chinese root as a result China is China forever because chinese culture quite good at taking in new elements and turn them into the tradition river. Yes, chinese is open to welcome new elements even sometimes hesitate on it. But we are also traditional because the root of tradition has been together with us as part of our lives value, for example the responsibilities between a person and his families not change too much. Xiao, meaning to obey parents, still influence the society. It is the reason why most chinese people couldnt enjoy the American democracy even the democracy is at hand.Most people like to follow the family ethical order.

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