by Anne Teoh for the Saker blog
From the depths of despair, one can climb out to see blue sky and fields of flowers, hear birdsongs and the rivers flowing, breathe pure air and find a road with people and their goods. The year 2016 can be viewed, for me, as a watershed in which the line was drawn between good and evil. I, like many, caught up in the churning out of so much farce; woke up from a chest of buried discomforting glimpses of the past (bombing of Cambodia, Iran ) to confront a reality check for being a ‘forgetful pacifist,’ sleep walking through the endless bombings, not suspecting the dubious role played by some mainstream media and doubting if any change can be for the better; even as I’m not American and don’t live there.
But, we’re all part of the world, as evident to me from the 60s – a time of revolutions in both the eastern and western hemispheres. As an interested observer, on the surface, events in China and the US were complex and different; yet the underpinning cause in both revolutions was the fight against imperialism. Nostalgia aside, those were innocent days, for, by 2016, one can no longer ignore the necessity cross the rubicon; decisively to never to participate in wars even at mind games, but to bear in mind about being the eternal peacemaker.
More and more, I view the forces shaping our world events – from the Middle East to the Kim – Trump crisis like unknown forces from the subterranean, stunning us into the underworld of killing beasts and nightmares; yet, simultaneously, more reassuring forces for reason, peace and progress drifted in from the Eurasian vastness: creating altogether, a global whirl, whipping up the undercurrents that can take us towards either a complementary history or a battleground of divisions and contradictions.
I have always believed that a handful of great good guys can make a difference. In the throes of propaganda and counter propaganda, I was determined to stick to the path of peace and neutralize all arguments; despite the facts of military movements and preparations to strike or defend. The idea is that vis-à-vis whatever confrontations, one can always find a solution; an idea that formed when I read Mao’s Thoughts in my undergrad days and understanding just this point.
If we take the Daoist symbol as prima facie, in the Yin – Yang, the light – dark, masculine – feminine, heaven – hell, capitalist – communist polar opposites, the ironic elements would psyche us for expectations of ominous endings, an eventual catharsis as inevitable in our tragic mindsets as most operas, like Armageddon. As 2016 was a water shed year – of a declining west and an emerging east, we shouldn’t make dire conclusions too soon, for going by the Daoist sign, the east – west movements can either be interpreted as complementary or contradictory. For those in empathy with the history and culture of east and west, the inner tensions during the popular uprisings of the revolutionary spirit in China’s Cultural Revolution and the USA’s Love and Peace Flower Power Revolution shared the underpinning struggle for universal humanity. The difference between them is in the degree and scale of their political history, bearing in mind the evolutionary paths of an ancient empire seeped in the art of warfare, tradition and scientific innovations and an arriviste empowered with a new world, militant technology, and liberal education; also bearing in mind that China and the US were both fighting against the oppression of colonization some time in their history and in the 60s too. Throughout the 60s, there were solid Americans working with Mao’s revolutionaries and Nixon’s visit was testimony of US and China verging on the complementary axis, however the various circles might spin their many contradictions about the historic meeting between Nixon and Mao. We’re not doomed to the contradictions when the deeds of the good folks complement louder than words and are in fact, indelible iconic images in our hearts and minds.
From all my prying into the history of modern China, I can imagine a totally oppressed Chinese race led by a librarian revolutionary. He’s armed with Marxism and the Communist Manifesto and nothing else – not a gun, a doctor, a soldier or an ill-will but an underground mobilization of dedicated, oppressed and noble- minded students, peasants and the dispossessed. Somehow they weren’t alone. They were joined by noble, dedicated and determined fellow humans from the US, like Israel Epstein, Edward Snow, Helen Snow, Anna Louise Armstrong , Norman Bethune, Sidney Rittenberg and many more worthy fellowmen, giving their lives to struggle alongside Mao’s revolutionaries to their final victory in October 1949.
Sure as the unfolding epic road from revolution to BRI ( belt of the cosmos, below as above ), the comradeship between the good Americans and China, Mao and Nixon can never be forgotten, just as there are many young Americans working and travelling all over China today as well as the positive presence of strong, high-calibre voices from a great diversity of sources in reliable left wing and academic outlets today. There’s hope yet for Trump’s complementary visit to meet Xi in China; and this is a double complementary ( following Xi’s previous visit to the US ). Fingers crossed three complementaries will herald in an Age of Peace.
Hence, I would call for a new approach to zoom in on the study of history under our microscopic critical rationalism rather than the traditional reading of history – in the sense of being an investigative participant rather than as a passive student of a skewered history manipulated for propaganda. The ancient empirical recording of history as events found in Chinese and Roman antiquities, have long gone with their sell-by-dates. Nowadays, our complex world history need to be synthesized, as in the case of modern China, mainly so that we don’t vaporize the essence while distracted by disparate causes and effects per se – as we found ourselves doing so in the chaos of contradictions throughout the awakening year 2016. We need to view how our history move as a cohesive force for a unique universal humanity rather than as a competition dominated by basic instincts involving conquering, appropriation, violence and destruction.
In this light, then, one’s inspired to draw out the maturation of Xi Jin Ping’s philosophy of Win-Win deals for all countries involved in the BRI ( Belt Road Initiative –cosmologically speaking, above as below).
Modern China started with Mao’s liberation of the Chinese people from the oppressive feudal and imperialistic forces – both internally (Qing Dynasty and Chiang’s Nationalists ) and from foreign invasions and from that, to set about the creation of complete equality and communality. From my questioning of a number of young and usually western influenced (materially so) mainland Chinese, Mao was a supreme leader but he kept the people poor, so he could be said to be a Win some – Lose some; Deng Xiao Ping was an economic genius who unleashed the gates to wealth but also opened the doors to corruption so he was also a Win some- lose some. Xi Jin Ping’s Dream is the waxing of Mao’s Thoughts and Deng’s Theory into Xi’s Dream. Hence, as Xi himself so poignantly stated at the current 19th CPC ( Communist Party Congress ), the CCP ( Chinese Communist Party) is about Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in this Modern Era.
President Xi had uplifted 600 milion people out of poverty from the Mao era and pledges to have a rich and powerful socialist nation by 2050. Similarly, he will root out the corruption set in during the Deng period. Xi has succeeded in changing the negatives of Maoist poverty and Dengist corruption into a Win-Win. With far-sighted vision, thoroughness and dedication to socialism, he wants to share his formula for win-win with the ‘community of shared destiny.’ Let’s hope Trump and Xi will hold long and meaningful discourses about the meaning of universal humanity and ‘a community of shared destiny,’ in their coming talks when Trump visits China in November. It would be sensational if they make their dialogue transparent to the world. The translators have a highly important task in bridging the linguistic gap.
I remember reading ‘China Today’ in the 80s which showed Mao already building roads in parts of Africa. Xi’s BRI and the setting up of the AIIB ( Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank) is puuting down roots of his vision for ‘ a community of shared destiny and globalization; what Pepe Escobar described as a ” Do it together that raises everybody.,” similar to Xi’s own words, expressed during his visit to London, which is “universal humanity.” Let’s hope they read the amazing Michael Hudon’s article, “
In the bigger world, one can find endless streams of complementaries, from east and west down the rivers of their histories up to this day. The good have complementaries for they’re basically working to achieve the same shared humanist goal ( hence also, a win-win). The bad, and evil only have contradictions for they need to conjure up differences and lies; their intention being competitive and exclusive.
In a nutshell, since Xi’s dream is of a community of shared destiny and globalization, it’s opened up a very big world we can call our world and work together for the benefit of all. The magic is, there’s more to infinite wealth and joys in sharing the whole world than colonizing bits and pieces to ourselves; besides, the colonized never want to share and will never forgive thee colonialists.
Today, many internationals are already exploring the depths and heights along the Silk Road (view them on Youtube), having great adventures and making new discoveries, enriching our world with investigations into how cities vanished, making people to people connections and growing wealthy with trade and all kinds of educational, scientific, cultural, agricultural and business exchanges.
Finally and needless to say, if I were to be part of the ‘ community of shared destiny and globalization,’ my dream is for the tech giants, Google, Facebook, Youtube and others to cooperate with the Chinese techies so we can choose freely to use what we have here or subscribe to Wechat, Weibao , Alibaba etc. That way, we can access into any of these giant cyber portals anywhere freely to connect east and west. This can only uplift our universal humanity and shared destiny – that of peace, love and prosperity for all. I hope for undiminished effort between Xi, Putin, Trump et al and the tech giants to hold meetings and discussions to bridge this coming cyber gap and make our shared destiny a reality.
For details of the epic work of Xi Jin Ping’s BRI and AIIB, you might like to read Pepe Escobar’s, “Xi’s Road Map to The Chinese Dream,” From The Saker of the Vineyard and watch Discovery channel China’s Time of Xi Episodes 1-3, All Abroad,” on Youtube.
Anne Teoh @ email@example.com
Anne Teoh was born in Penang, Malaysia. She was convent-educated and graduated from The University of Malaya in1969 majoring in English Literature. Married to a Malaysian ambassador, educator and thinker, she left to travel India in search of enlightenment in 1973. She put down roots in England in 1975, had a daughter and continued pursuing her professional studies in PGCE, TESL, Multicultural Studies and MA in Sociolinguistics simultaneously working as an English teacher in London, with stints in Singapore and China. Her published works include – first piece published in the 60s inThe Readers’ Digest; reading of her poem at The Peace Festival 1973, MU, KL; a review for SACU magazine; children’s story, The Long Trek’ for BBC Radio 2 in 1995; 3 follow-up articles on the mystery of ‘The Missing Timothy Mo,” for Ciriaco Offendu of ‘Beyond Thirty-Nine.’ and self-published debut book, “The Call of Love,” in 2015. Her 2nd novel is left hibernating till her book is scouted by a traditional agent/publisher; or something else that compels completion.