Friday, 12 February 2016

China and the Gaining of Wisdom.

So what did Michael Wood have to say about the Ming dynasty in his series The Story of China tonight? Lots, but it was a general point about Chinese history which most caught my attention.

He pointed out that China never showed any inclination to be expansionist. This was because they saw the country itself as the world and everything beyond as alien. They were happy to trade with the west, but they were never interested in building an empire.

He read some extracts from the memoirs of a Dutchman (or he might have been Portuguese, I don’t remember) who loved the culture so much that he learned the language and settled there, and who expressed the opinion that China’s lack of the expansionist imperative was their only flaw. Says a lot about the European mentality, doesn’t it?

And while I’m on the subject of China (my favourite at the moment as you might have noticed) I saw Coco walking across the town today. She became the latest to demonstrate what is becoming a trend in my associations with young women.

Our eyes meet across an uncrowded marketplace and remain locked for a span of time that is brief and yet seemingly suffused with significance. I wave and they don’t. It can be quite disconcerting.

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