Thursday, July 09, 2009

Opening up and Friendship.

This article was published under the "Letter from China" column. Tony has been writing for three straight Sundays. Thanks Tony

By Tony Jack Manab

I BRING you third greetings from Beijing as this is my third article for those of you who have being faithfully following up with the weekly Letters From China column.

Incase some of you might be posing questions on the significance of having “Letter from China” as a column with the Sunday Chronicle weekly newspaper in Port Moresby.

Generally, the aim and significance of this column is to inform Papua New Guineans back home of the highlights and experiences encountered by PNG students and other Papua New Guineans here in China.

While in PNG, I thought it was a great initiative by our students in China not knowing that one of these days I would be one of the contributors to the column.

I am glad to be a contributor to the column as I personally tend to view this column not just another “information kit” to write and feel good about it but far beyond ego and self-worth is our national interest.

I am adhering “national interest” as PNG being a small player in the international system needs bigger player countries like China to look to, see and learn from in order to achieve its national development aspirations.

Therefore, PNG students in China perceive the aforementioned column as an avenue in which we can indirectly promote and enhance the twining and diplomatic relations between PNG and the People’s Republic of China.

For this course, I willingly accepted when asked by Mathew Yakai to write on the column as a visiting student to China. I took it on as an opportunity and never regretted even to this day as a contributor to the column.

So on my part in continuing to write and constantly keeping you informed about China, the focus of this weekend’s article is on my general observations and experiences after a month and week of been in Beijing.

To begin with, I am so much amazed at how Chinese society in general relate to the outside world regardless of having one of odd systems of government and being a non-Christian nation. The picture they (Chinese) are portraying to the outside world is totally contrary to what we may perceive of them.

This is to say that in a matter of time and space China had proven to the international community that it is no longer a nation that once conducted its affairs on a “closed door principle” but now a new communist state that is a friend to all members of the international community.

To illustrate this better, China’s aspiration in the international arena is to convince other nations to realize that the 21st Century China is like a coin that has identical sides but tell a different story.

What seems to be the unusual and unseen side of the coin about China now represents Chinese new image within the international community.

I am convinced that China has successfully unveiled the other side of the coin and this is proven through its enhanced diplomatic relations with many countries around the world of which PNG is no exception.

Chinese government is considering this as a national success and would do the same to maintain its new international image after many years trying in vain to attract international attention especially in the areas of diplomacy and trade cooperation.

Moreover, countries around the world have now entered into formal diplomatic relations with China and have also entered into long term economic and investment cooperation.

On the other hand, China is also assisting in aid and technical training to especially the developing countries like Papua New Guinea.

China’s success in this area came as a result of “Reform, Opening Up Foreign Policy and Economic Development” after its cultural revolution in 1978.

Particularly, China’s “opening up in foreign trade policy” is one of the major pillars in China’s rapid industrialization process.

This is evident through many international investments institution stationed in the industrialized zones such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Other developed cities in Eastern coastal areas of China such as Suzhou, Changzhou and Tianjin are also adopting this national policy within their municipal governments.

The point I wishes to draw from the discussion is “Opening up and friendship” which may sound a bit simple but you would also agree with me that people and countries need each other as a matter of survival.

Through sharing and friendship, people and countries some what help each other to achieve success and development aspirations together. Such concept now remains the core of China’s national and foreign policies.

This concept of opening up and friendship has also tippled down and now affecting and influencing even the lowest level of the Chinese society.

This is to say that the Chinese people are so much open and friendly that you would always want to talk to a stranger anytime in town.

Regardless of the language barrier between you and them (Chinese), one word like “Ni Hao” (hellow in Chinese) would spark a long conversation and a long term relationship.

I admit the difficulties having to communicate with some of them but this was part of the process of me getting to know the Chinese people.

I had many funny and interesting encounters with some Chinese who are now my friends and helping me to speak Chinese.

I realized that I’ve proven myself wrong with my negative perceptions about the Chinese people before coming to China. I even disagreed when some PNG friends in Beijing told me that the Chinese people are so open and friendly.

Until now, I am so amazed that I have long list of local friends both on and off campus. I even had the opportunity of knowing some of the prominent government officials during the seminar.

This is to say that the Chinese people have this kind of attitude of willing and open to talk with other nationals.

Also the kind of courtesy we receive from our coordinators, facilitators and house keepers both on and off campus is unimaginable. They always check on the course participants to make sure we are all doing well.

Feeling home sick which is quite usual for many people when overseas for longer periods is not on our minds because of the friendly environment.

Instead, the thought of opening up and friendship has invaded our classroom, dinning hall, rooms, and moreover ourselves. We are now leaving like a big family where sense of unity is prevalent regardless of our national differences.

Well, this draws me to one conclusion and that is to adhere that, “opening and friendship” as somewhat become a lifestyle of Chinese society at all levels of relationships.

The kind of lifestyle and approach is the same has that contributed to achieving China’s overall development aspirations at all levels.

Last but not the least I leave this challenge to all Papua New Guineans. We need to come out of our “closed door” concept, open up for new grounds of friendship if you and I are serious in achieving our development aspirations.

Then and only when we will find new opportunities to advance in our development aspirations at our personal, family, provincial, national or at international level.

Next Sunday, I will bring to you another interesting article on our visit to Sichuan province. Sichuan is considered one of China’s major economic and development zones was devastated by the recent earthquake that killed millions and left millions of Chinese homeless recently.

Zai Jian (bye) for now!

Note: Tony works with International Relations & Aid Oversight Unit, Dept of PM and NEC. He is currently in Beijing for a two months seminar on Economic Administration for Developing Countries. Tony will tell us more on his experience next Sunday. For comments, email or call 15116988560. This column tells you the experience of Papua New Guineans in China.

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