Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Day 3: Adventures in Democracy
I'm a bit surprised that i find this Confederation stuff rather interesting.
And teaching it in China is more interesting.
However, you may consider from time to time, that teaching this stuff in China is... different.
In one class i was teaching the kids about how in early canada (pre confederation), the govt was shitty, so the people protested, and then the govt shot the protesters. "Actually this has happened in many countries. It happened here in Beijing even, not long ago."
Some kids were like "what? i've nver heard that!"
Others said, "It's true!"
Then they started blabbing in Chinese for a couple seconds before i said,"Ok ok, let's just keep going w/ the book. i pbly shouldn't even say anything about that."
Then the nxt day the principal individually talked to all staffers, to say that our official position, in the foreign, Canadian-styled school, if it comes up, is that we can and will talk about it, but w/out judgement. Which was a pretty bold stand for him to take in dealing w/the chinese admin, methinks. Apparently the chinese govt's official position is that It Never Happened. i mentioned my previous classroom discussion to him, to which he responded, "Really! Funny, i thought this stuff would never come in your class." He obviously doesn't know me that well.
I've discussed the T-incident w/ a small handful of folks, and some have awareness about it, (occasionally first hand!), and some donet. However, H and her bf were surfing Wikipedia one time, and H clicked on the Tian o men link, and could hardly believe that it connected. Her bf, it turns out, had never heard of the event, and was quite sickened to read about it.
As the govt manages to keep the incident out of the history books, it's interesting to see how it seems to have become an oral history. Of course, it's also a history that will be largely limited to the educated and urban. However, i've been told that younger students aren't as likely to know anything about it, and it doesn't seem like the older students are all hype to stir the pot either.
Well, at least there's Hong Kong, where they have their T-anniversary candle light vigils, and open letters to the PRC govt, and ongoing calls for the release (still!) of imprisoned dissidents.
Note: the title of this post is a bit tongue in cheek. Although i do feel that democracy is generally a pretty great (ahem) idea, i don't necessarily feel like its the holy grail of political systems. Well, not yet, anyhow.
Picture from www.uppercanadahistory.ca.