I woke up this morning thinking that many in the West want nothing less than China to be something he or she understands, which means a capitalist, multi-party republic, Christian nation with a culture based on individualism rather than China’s more than two-thousand year old collective culture without religion.
To help dispel this atmosphere of ignorance in the West, Pearl S. Buck urged Lin Yutang to write a book about China and its people. In the Preface for My Country and My People (1935), Lin Yutang wrote, “I write only for men of simple common sense…” Later, in the Prologue, he mentions how for every Sir Robert Hart, the Irish godfather of China’s modernization, there are ten thousand who do not understand the Chinese and do not care to learn.
Then in the Introduction for Lin’s book, Buck wrote, “It (My Country and My People) is truthful and not ashamed of the truth: it is written proudly and humorously and with beauty, seriously and with gaiety, appreciative and understanding of both old and new.”
It is unfortunate that most Sinophobes have no concept of China and its culture and do not want to learn, and men and women of simple common sense are as rare today as in Lin Yutan and Pearl S. Buck’s time.
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