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Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Old and the New












They are building big new lecture buildings and campus accommodation, but in the meantime classic Chinese scenes are disappearing. The old and the new were never more on display today than with a young music student playing saxophone runs among the trees next to an old pagoda, with an old man fishing in the polluted waters of this local waterway. Climb a tall bank of stairs beside the water and you see the facade of a once-beautiful old building, now weed-filled, with its forecourt used as a place to hang out washing. Next to this old facade, a weather-beaten man lives in a humpy lean-to affair built of old rubble and plywood and tin sheets. I look into these old eyes of China and wonder what they have seen - what does he make of today's world after the incredible sweeping changes of China's modern political and social history. But where are the young going - with their love of USAmerican culture and commerce, and the effects of globalisation yet to be felt on China's economy. As Mort Sahl so rightly said, The Future lies ahead ... And I can't see back and I can't see forward for them or with them. I am simply full of questions.

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