Confucian Societies : China celebrates 2230 years: the interrelationship between regional Chinese & China
[I wonder how many noticed that the 'Gate of Heavenly Peace'(the gateway to the Forbidden City), that symbolises the separation of the people from the State features prominently in the above logo. That evidences that the age-old Confucian/Legalist culture of China is well alive and kicking the Chinese people in the shins to maintain their age-old confusion of their knees for their feet. And for the misinformed out there, China's 'State Capitalist', aka, Confucian/Legalist, not 'Communist']
As I was watching parade on the Guardian, I couldn’t help wondering after China’s significance in the region. Now whilst most might not think much of the little dot of a nation that is singapore, but which most certainly is quite the malignant boil when it comes to the inquisitive and empathetic propensities of the human mind and heart, I certainly appreciate its significance in relation to China in terms of their mutually supportive roles in the face of 'foreign interference in internal, aka, cultural, affairs'.
I view singapore as a controlled experiment within a relatively small space as to how an Orwellian-style fascism, or Confucianism-cum-Legalism, can be brought about, what problems might emerge, and how it can be contended with. The results of this experiment is that which gives meaning to the term ‘Asian Democracy’, and which will, mark my words, be increasingly used in the context of China in the not too distant future.
Singapore had one added difficulty - ethnic minorities whom were very much different from the Chinese in terms of culture and political perspectives. Given this, singapore showed how such a great difference, and the idea of difference itself, can be ‘managed’ through its housing, educational and social policies to the point that even the said minorities will have no problem living within a Chinese scheme of things and being grateful for whatever benefits might be afforded them in their position of, what I term, ‘foreigners of local origins’.
Besides this, the greatest challenge singapore had was in ensuring an educated population will not hanker after ‘western-style’ democracy and learn to equate maximal freedom in consumeristic terms, or hanker after greater 'democracy' for a 'majority' equated with race and 'culture' as opposed to nationality. By instilling cultural pride amongst the Chinese in fascistic proportions via the media and cultural celebrations; maintaining an ethnic ‘balance’ in favour of the Chinese; ensuring that the people will avail themselves of the means by which they can continue to accommodate increasing financial demands by its state capitalist government; presenting Chinese culture as the reason and means for the economic advancement of all; ensuring that the Chinese population would view themselves more favourably in comparison to minorities underdeveloped by a host of means; and by attributing all gains by the people as a validation of the culture and a one-party state; this little dot of a nation has indeed become a textbook on ‘fascism for dummies’. In this, singapore has shown China that its political and perspectival legacy is ‘doable’ in a globalised and allegedly ‘modern’ world. And as a final flourish, singapore is now well on the way to making Mandarin its ‘mother tongue’ with the impunity it has brought about through the success of all earlier policies. We can say that singapore is ‘coming out’ and clearly stating that which it could not in earlier days as the said policies had yet to come to maximal social fruition.
In this, this little dot has given China a thumbs-up and, with its blatant embracement and promotion of the Chinese language as the ‘mother tongue’, public celebrations of Chinese culture in central locations, and even going as far as to reorient their copy of the London Eye according to the directives of feng shui masters, it is giving a wholly Chinese identity to the means by which it attained ‘1st world’ status. Just a small example of this may be seen in a little street called Syed Alwi road in Little India in Singapore. An official informational structure in that location speaks of what the Chinese were doing there in the historical past, and which basically presented the Indians as props without a history in a wholly Chinese theatre. In all of these instances, singapore is basically telling China that, ‘we are where we are because we are you, and you can certainly be where we are because we are one.’ And, due to the social experiences of the people, they are bereft of the imagination it takes to imagine a state that is better than it currently is.
Singapore will, for now, serve as the buffer against any western criticism that the couple of millennia old Chinese authoritarianism has to be displaced by ‘western-style’ democracy, multiculturalism and human empathy for it to succeed. It may be nice to have, but, as it has shown, it is not the means by which they have achieved what they have achieved - whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that their success can never be attributed to the intelligence and creativity of the people but to farsighted opportunistic investments made by the government with monies extracted from the people during its manufacturing phase, and the buying up of the intellectual capital produced by intellectually vibrant nations which they themselves cannot produce because of the docility of its population.
Hence, Singapore has shown that freedom does not have to be based on, or result in, popular intellectual/perspectival/creative/imaginative/empathetic individualism and propensities as opposed to just having a myriad of choices when it comes to eateries and shops. In fact, what it has shown the world is that bigotry, monoculturalism, popular apathy, opportunism, subservience, amongst others, is the means required to achieve so much in so little time. We could say that it has shown that evils can be used to ensure success as opposed to its serving as a stumbling block on the path to economic affluence. It has demonstrated, also, that when a people are fixated on economic affluence they will ‘mature’ to view all else that the western population keeps hankering after in their imaginative and empathetic capacity as dispensable. In a cockleshell, singapore is an illustration of how an elite can make much of its self by making least of the people.
In this, China will play the role of the motherland whose perspectives have been brought to fruition by its sons in foreign lands. It will also serve as the brawn for its satellite states in the region and be the most blatant example of the viability of Chinese culture in delivering economic affluence, military might, and political clout on the global stage. And through this, the cultural identification of its diaspora throughout the region will be afforded the boost it requires to do similarly in their own lands as did singapore. In future, we might very well see a regional union between China and its satellite states. This will also effectively undermine other cultures and peoples in the region as everyone will be brought into a wholly oriental sphere of control. The Chinese in Thailand, in Indonesia, and Malaysia will form a Chinese bloc of sorts and will receive and give the mutual validation of the ‘Asian Democratic’ way of doing things.
Mandarin might very well become the lingua franca in s.e. Asia since the Indians in the subcontinent have relinquished their cultural hold over the region by their willingness to integrate and speak languages other than their ‘mother tongues’ - one state even considered replacing its 'mother tongue' with the computer Java language. After all, unlike India, the Chinese have shown that they can be culturally introverted and still become an economic force. In that, their cultural integrity in the modern world is left untouched. This will simply serve to fuel the cultural fascism reminiscent of Xinjiang, Tibet and Singapore. Thanks to western cultural magnanimity brought about by their desire to compensate for their bigotry in colonial times, cultural fascism is now only allowed to fester in s.e. Asia, but is given value by their conformity to the deficiencies borne of 2 millennia of cultural introversion in China.
So, on this day of China’s National Day, it certainly has much to celebrate by way of the achievements of its sons in the region that serves as the ‘great wall’ against foreign ‘interference in internal affairs’. Essentially, it is not celebrating 60 years of nationhood, but 110 years given the role of singapore as its apologist and proselytiser of the faith of Confucianism-cum-Legalism. And when one takes on board the fact that these ideas were first initiated in the year 221 b.c., they are actually celebrating the maturation of more than 2000 years of Chinese history within a globalised world. They have taken all modern concepts of humanity, human rights, egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and other ‘western articles of faith’ and turned it into a ‘religion’ practiced by non-Chinese others. In this, their culture takes its place next to science in being proven to deliver economic affluence. It has, in effect, rewritten the constitution of common sense itself. Their own growing economic and military might is a vindication of their age-old cultural introversion that had suffered humiliation in the face of the onslaught of the western bourgeioisie’s ‘open door policy’. In a world that is gradually associating human progress with economic affluence, methinks that they are operating in the right global perspectival milieu to be confused for a ‘progressive state’. In the final analysis, the Chinese are telling the world that one can have a closed-mind whilst maintaining an open-door with a gold cat waving in good fortune.