piątek, 26 września 2014

Pierre Ryckmans, RIP

W sierpniu odszedl Pierre Ryckmans, znawca Chin. Naukowo zajmowal sie chinska sztuka, szerszej publicznosci znany byl jako autor ksiazek o Chinach epoki Mao. Tlumacz Konfucjusza.
Tak moglby brzmiec jego najkrotszy profil, ktory pomijalby jednak sedno rzeczy.

Zmarl bowiem jeden z najwiekszych wspolczesnych eseistow, i wspanialy erudyta. Jesli o kims powiedziec mozna "umysl renesansowy" to wlasnie o nim. To ktos, kto opisujac Chiny lat 70-tych potrafil cytowac przy okazji np. Kazimierza Brandysa...A jego eseje o Chestertonie, Simone Weil, czy Matce Teresie? A jego sfilmowana powiesc "Smierc Napoleona"? Co wiecej, rownie doskonale pisal po francusku (swoim macierzystym jezyku), co po angielsku.

Coraz czesciej lapie sie na mysli, widzac jakas gruba ksiazke, czy warto wchodzic w te 400, czy 500 stron, nawet jesli ma pochlebne recenzje. W Kindlu od dawna trzymam ostatnia pozycje Ryckmansa (pseudonim Simon Leys), zbior jego esejow z roznych dziedzin pt.The Hall of Uselessness: Selected Essays . Przeczytalem zaledwie kilka o chinskiej poezji i malarstwie. Inne czekaja. Wolalem ciagle miec te frajde przed soba. Teraz nadszedl moze czas ostatecznej konsumpcji...    


czwartek, 25 września 2014

China's "Leftover" women


.....[...I]n the interviews that I did with men and women in their twenties and early thirties, I found that gender norms really are evolving. So, the younger generation really does believe in more gender equality. They do have more gender-equalitarian beliefs on the whole. I mean, obviously there are a lot of exceptions, but I would say that the younger generation on the whole is more progressive, especially in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

What I argue, though, particularly in my dissertation where I really focus on residential real estate, [is that] the real estate boom following China’s privatization of housing has led to resurgence of gender inequality and created new forms of really stark gender inequality in wealth, because there’s this inextricable link between marriage and home-buying in China. So, when a young couple decides to get married, the norm is that they’re supposed to buy a home in the private market. And that’s when the older generation’s traditional patriarchal beliefs come into play. Buying a home is an extremely complicated financial transaction. And, because homes are so exorbitant now, it is virtually impossible for a young person to buy a home on their own. They have to rely on the heavy financial input from their parents or elders. And so, basically what happens is that you have to have the pooling of family assets to buy a home, and when you come to these vast quantities of money, where the parents and the elders have been saving and scraping their whole lives, that combines with a whole bunch of different norms. One is the norm that the man is supposed to be the official breadwinner and that the woman doesn’t need to own property.

Another norm is basically a myth that is propagated by the state media in collaboration with the real estate developers and the matchmaking industry. They spread the myth that a man has to own a home in order to attract a bride. Which is why so many parents invest so heavily in buying their sons a home, and then they don’t help their daughter buy a home. In my research, I found just a very consistent, a shockingly consistent pattern, when there’s a son and a daughter, the parents buy a home for the son and they don’t for the daughter. But I also found cases even more disturbing, where the parents don’t even have a son, they have an only daughter and rather than help their daughter buy a home, even though she wants one, they help their nephew buy a home. That is a really big part in the creation of the huge gender wealth gap. [Source]

Conversation with a cab driver

Chinese “Nationalism” And The Desire For War

 Andrew Chubb asks at South Sea Conversations, “to what extent should we really understand the phenomena that get labelled ‘Chinese nationalism’ in those terms?” He translates a conversation with a pro-war taxi driver from the introduction to Phoenix TV host Qiu Zhenhai’s book:
What is good about war? It could leave us broken and destitute.” I decided to have some fun with the driver.

War is good, it reshuffles the cards. Otherwise, people like me will be driving taxis until we’re 80.” His frankness was startling, and I suddenly felt a pang of seriousness.

[…] “If I lose my life, I lose my life. I’m not like those people who own property or companies. I’m even less like the corrupt officials who have riches they can steal. I am a proletarian, with nothing to care about. These days I don’t see any hope, it’s better to just take a gamble.” He was getting more and more forthright.

His answers made me feel heavy and serious. I didn’t feel the need to provoke him any more.

[…] How many of the expressions of Chinese desire for war over remote uninhabited islands have less to do with avenging “national humiliation” or reclaiming “ancestral territory” than with a desire for something, anything, to shake Chinese society up?

Leaving China

At The Economist Gady Epstein writes that middle-class Chinese are emigrating in growing numbers, “in search of a cleaner, slower life”:

FOR years Lin Chen resisted his wife’s entreaties to move abroad. Then, when their daughter was born in 2012, he started thinking about her schooling. He realised he wanted a less stressful education than the one he and his wife endured in their climb to the middle classes, and he wanted to leave space for fun. “My wife and I suffered a lot,” he says. “I don’t want my daughter to suffer through all that.”

And so the Lin family will soon be off to Adelaide, Australia, part of the greatest and most consequential wave of emigration in modern Chinese history: middle-class Chinese seeking not better opportunities or political freedoms but a better quality of life. Chinese emigrants are leaving good jobs, cashing out their high-priced homes (or investment properties) and leaving China’s rat race behind. They are unlikely to find better jobs anywhere else, but the air and water are less polluted where they are going, the social safety-net less frayed and the food safer to eat. And there is no one-child policy.