Merry Christmas! A sincere apology to anyone anticipating something better… We have nothing better.
“This world will separate after long time united and vice versa.” This is a famous quote from the Records of the Three Kingdoms—a manuscript from a period in China’s history in around 280 B.C.E. It is an undoubtful truth since various parts of the world, including China, have separated and unified along history. Tibet, Uighur and Mongolia used to be foreign enemies of ancient China, until finally they were conquered after long years of wars. With 56 ethnic groups and over 200 dialects, diversity enriches the Chinese culture, yet it also means a heavy burden to unify the whole country.
When it comes to independence movements, there are many different aspects depending on the culture. Many of the messages contrast with the government’s policy towards “inalienable parts of the country’’.
Most of the people in Hong Kong are Hans—they shared much of their same history with mainland China, yet a seed of western culture germinated. Hong Kong was the colony of the British Empire from 1842 until recently in 1997.
Notions of democracy, capitalism, and freedom became deeply rooted in the city. However, these ideals are often suppressed under the dictatorship of China. While Hong Kong has ten political parties, there is but a one-party system in the mainland China. The conflicts between Hong Kong and China are inevitable due to these contradicting beliefs.
Much of the desire for independence is because China keeps taking benefits from Hong Kong. For example, around a hundred billion HK$ was spend to build a high-speed railway from Hong Kong to China, a project that mainly benefits mainland China.
An attempt to seek democracy triggered a wave of independent movements, advocated not only by street protesters, but also by legislative councilors. However, many of the councilors were suppressed by the government, either being unfairly removed or even thrown in jail. As a result, the independent movements lost momentum but were not eradicated.
Some claim that Hong Kong can never become independent because of it’s dependence on the mainland. This is only partially true—China will never say yes to the independence of Hong Kong because of the dignity of being a superpower and the financial role of Hong Kong. Hong Kong would also not be admitted to the United Nations since China is one of the five permanent members who can veto admission. China’s global influence means that Hong Kong would inevitably be isolated, should it desire independence.
On the other side of China, Tibet was an independent kingdom for centuries before the Mongol conquest. Afterwards, it fell largely under Chinese influence. It achieved autonomy during the chaos in the Chinese Civil War, before the communist forces took over the mainland. In 1950, the PRC invaded Tibet and defeated the Tibetan forces decisively in the Battle of Chamdo.
After the annexation of Tibet, quality of life was greatly improved in the region, though at the price of tightened control from China. It underwent sinification, a process whereby non-Chinese society come under the influence of Chinese culture, particularly Han Chinese norms. Land collectivization led to famines and riots, all suppressed by violence As a result, the Tibetan political leader Dalai Lama fled to India to establish Tibetan Government in Exile. Meanwhile, Tibet is still under the control of China.
Tibetan as an ethnic minority, they have their unique culture and language. Hence, it makes sense for them to possess some autonomy under the government. Nevertheless, China is not going to agree with the pursuit of the independence as others ethnic minorities may follow this example. China will lose to natural access to numerous natural resources in these areas, as well as Tibet’s strategic importance as a buffer region.
The independence movements are likely to go into a dead end since at no point will China gives up these regions to weaken the strength of the country. Catalonia is a good example of the failure of independent movements, an announcement of independence is nothing but a delusion without international support. Still, it is only a pause but not an end as long as it could be a leverage for asking higher autonomy.
We live in what is called the Y generation. This generation is one that invokes the questions of; ‘why work?’, ‘why earn money’, and ‘why wear decent clothes’. These questions then form new ones, and it becomes a total domino effect as time passes. People in my generation don’t view as getting their first car as a freedom, a ticket to getting away from their suffocating parents. No, now kids are seeing cars as a standard, a name tag, a label, and stereotype. The more expensive, the cooler your car is, the more you are paid attention to and people will notice you more. We have drifted into a generation of being lazy, addicted to electronics, buying whatever we want, and really not caring about a lot of things.
Being detached from people and addicted to things such as the newest iPhone. People becoming so dependent on nonliving things is worsening health, personal relationships, mental health, and people’s abilities to survive in this world. It’s as if everyone is like a child. They still need to be coddled by their mother, protected by their father, have their family’s money to support them, and the comfort of an electronic. It’s quite a depressing things to me that we have turned into this rather shameful generation. Of course I can’t say that I’m not on an electronic a lot, or having my phone on me all the time, but I do understand how it’s unhealthy to be addicted to them. To me, fighting with your parents is better than being on an electronic because at least you’re able to verbally express yourself, feel human emotions, and are able to see and hear the person quite clearly.
Since my generation is the future of this world, I’m quite worried to be honest. I mean, who will be able to succeed in life if all they care about is having the best of the best, being able to hack into electronics, or do things related to electronics only? People who lack real life experience flounder as they get older. Soon they will turn to someone who has supported them before. Then they will become dependent on that person or people. Being dependent on someone whenever you meet a challenge in life shows how weak and vulnerable the human race is. We are able to adapt, to form to our environment. We as properly functioning people can handle things differently than animals or infants. As adults, or even young adults, we are able to get in touch with our emotional side and deal with things, grow from experiences, and learn how to survive in this world properly.
We won’t have people to protect us for our whole life. We need to learn to look up from the computer screen, go outside, breathe fresh air, have fun, hang out with friends, and get a job, an education. I truly believe that we need to ditch the title of ‘Generation Y’ because the longer we have that title, the more people will adapt to it. Turning around this generation will be hard. After all nothing is really easy in this world. Having less addictive electronics in life can help people learn from hands on experience, become healthy, happy, and live better lives. Sure, people will trip and fall, maybe scrape a knee or hand, but that pain will help shape them into a person they can be proud of. Hey, you never know. Maybe the first person who truly begins to try and turn our generation around might end up as our president. Anything is possible, as long as you look up from the screen long enough to imagine it.
Is Our Culture Changing?
Is our culture changing? Between the dead malls and shift in technology, I would say yes. While our culture hasn’t changed drastically, it has changed; technology’s advances, age norms, and the open mindedness of my generation are great examples of how our culture is changing.
I’ve been inside a mall a grand total of 15 times. In the past, the mall is where you went to meet friends and find a date. Over two dozen malls have been shut down in the past two years, and it is estimated that 10-15% of malls in the US will be shut down within ten years. This is due to the advancements in technology, we no longer need to drive to the mall to meet our friends, or to even shop. We used to be more social creatures, technology has taken out the face-to-face aspect of many teens lives. In the 1800’s women would be married very young, around the age of 13 or 14, and begin having children shortly after. In the 21st century 25 is the average age for, first, marriage and pregnancy. 10 years is a huge difference, so is the openness we have around the LGBT community. Most of my friends are gay or Trans, and in our world today they are accepted.
Times are Changing
The times are changing in a way unlike ever before. It is the truth, we are turning into a society that is based on innovation and technology. The question is, is this a turn for the worse or not?
If you peel back the appealing top layer of luxury that comes with the innovation and technology, I believe you find an uglier result. Although it is non-intentional, I think our culture is becoming a place where you as a person do not matter as much, it is all about what you can offer.
Now of course, people like employers don’t care so much about you as a person as they do your capability to get the job done correctly. That is how it has always been, and always will be. What I am saying is that perhaps these innovations will slowly take away some of our basic social capabilities. Things like understanding, judgment, and some character could easily be taken away by our dependence not on each other, but our technology.
Already ethics have changed. More and more people are taking the easy way out. From online shopping to broken relationships, people are making every shortcut to make things more comfortable and easy.
The effects of this are showing even in newspapers. Reporters go for hype and yellow journalism just to make their stuff more appealing, they use an “anything for another five readers” type philosophy. News is their own personal shortcut to fame.
The next question we must ask now is: What do we do about it? Or how could we do anything about it? After all, if the world is changing, is there really anything we can do about it? Should we revert from the old ways and simply become the next generation? Or can we take a stand for what used to be?
For now all we as a newspaper can do is supply a genuine feed of solid news and do our best to be our best.