Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sunday, June 5 morning 10:45am

On Thursday, June 2, we met with representatives of the sponsor of the international Confucius Institutes, Hanban. First, we took a tour of their beautiful exhibits about Chinese language and culture on the first floor of the building. I hadn't realized Hanban published so many books. There was a very impressive array and I took down titles of several books I want to be sure we have available to us at Pace. Many of the exhibits are interactive. Joe Ryan was showered with opportunities for interaction:  you will see proof of his scholarly nature and accomplishments when the pictures of him in the robes of a scholar appear.  Then he was given a plush talking panda for his many grandchildren.  And the panda would not shut up! That's the only time so far I've seen Joe red in the. Face from anything but a near heatstroke!

We met briefly with some representatives of Hanban who were interested hearing about the scholarly work involving Chinese language and culture we all hope to do.  I couldn't help but notice with trepidation the insistence on language over culture.  I may be doomed, since my proficiency in Mandarin will not take me very far. Of course, we all have four days of language study to look forward to (feel free to consider that phrase a euphemism for some though not all of us) in Nanjing.

One curious emphasis in the brief meeting (though I did fixate for my own reasons on the spoken language thing) was the talk about the necessity for modern China to become a more creative environment. It was later in the day that we saw this sign outside the Temple of Heaven addressed to honored guests (verbatim): "May we remind you, please be self-restraint and be a  good tourist to mold a well-mannered imagination."

This demonstrates that there is quite a lot of work to be done.  Of course, first you have to admit you have a problem.  Check Step 1 off the list.

1 comment:

Juliana B2 said...

Donkey? I actually am one of those brave souls that try pretty much any food. This is really a great adventure you are on and taking us along with you on via the virtual highway