- Gordon Dumoulin
What is a 1,000 years in society... ?
Yesterday evening at home we were reciting a Chinese poem in English for my son’s participation in an English recital contest among Beijing students. He chose a lyric which he learned in Chinese at school, a lyric from the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
The Song Dynasty was not long lived, considering China’s 5,000 years of civilization, but remembered dearly with culturally thriving cities such as Bainjing (Kaifeng today) and Linan (Hangzhou). The dynasty showed economic prosperity with social stability and prominent writers and scholars from various schools with distinctive styles.
Over 20,000 lyrics by more than 300 Song Dynasty composers have been preserved. Not only preserved as a distinct, 'dusty' note in history books but simply alive and naturally embedded in today’s Chinese society.
China 2021 is not a 'new' miracle for some or a ‘sudden’ imminent threat for others, it is a civilization having lived on this earth for 1,000’s of years. With values and principles having been shaped throughout many centuries, not just the mere 4-5 decades of 'China’s change' which is astonishing or fearing people.
An interesting perspective here is the distinction between 'civilizations' and ‘empires’. The ease of how 1,000 years ago is naturally being alive and part of today’s Chinese society, independent from governance or economic models, can be thought for cross-cultural considerations.