- Gordon Dumoulin
The necessity of a collective memory of China's past...
"𝘈 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢’𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘵..."
𝗔 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝗼𝗳 "𝟰𝟬𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗰𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿𝘀" (𝟭𝟵𝟯𝟳) 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝗯𝘆 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗹 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝘄
An interesting review by author Paul French of the book '400 million customers' by Carl Crow (1884-1945, US businessman in Shanghai, founder of the first Western advertising agency in Shanghai).
It is interesting to see the comparative circumstances which Carl Crow was experiencing by his thoughts, opinions and actions about China in the 1930's in relation to the current 2020's. With regard to the cultural and geopolitical sensitivities in which Crow was especially concerned and activated about, enhancing awareness for the Japanese aggression in the 1930's and strongly opposing the commonly used racist term "Chinaman" at the time.
Another comparative similarity between the 1930's and today is the volatility of realities and actualities about China expressed by China experts in books, op-eds and reports then and now.
Carl Crow's book was soon forgotten after the “War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression” (抗日战争), better known in the West as the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937. Sometimes regarded as the beginning of WWII in the Asia-Pacific. Only when China opened up again in the 1970's, foreign businesses relearned the Chinese business culture and environment from scratch again, often with hard lessons. While many of those business culture lessons had already been written down by Crow 40 years before, though completely forgotten.
In the current 2020's, it is not much different with the short expiry dates of the overwhelming number of publications and opinions about China whether economically, socially or politically.
As Paul French mentioned in his review; “we need to work hard to keep a collective memory of China's past, something the foreign business, academic, and China-watching communities (in all their problematic forms) have not been especially good at.”
And not only about the past but also about a collective consideration of China’s present instead of often conveniently selected perspectives.
Read more about Paul French’s interesting review on Crow’s book and also about Carl Crow’s life in the China Project : https://thechinaproject.com/2023/01/10/carl-crows-400-million-customers/
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