It’s been some time since I last blogged. And my new year resolution is … to BE MORE REGULAR AT BLOGGING!
I actually have an excuse this time. In November, my grandmother – with whom I am close – passed away. In December, my second son was born…
This period of change has gotten me to reflect more deeply on life … and for here, to reflect once more why I spend the time to blog.
Life can be so short … so precious. There are so many people to touch, relationships to build, places to travel, creative endeavors to pursue. And blogging as I often do about the heavy hands of politics and history can be emotionally draining.
But I still blog because I am still passionate about fighting against prejudice. I don’t mean prejudice in terms of the traditional context of racism … And I also don’t just mean prejudice against Chinese – in the sense of bad will toward the Chinese nation, people, and society. (If people are going to have bad will, no amount of my pontificating is going to take any of that away.)
What I mean is the ideologies and fog of thoughts that so often separate men from men – that dupes men to think of other peoples, cultures, traditions, as less, as irrelevant.
These things can start all so innocently enough… with simple prejudice.
For example, I love the doctor that helped recently deliver my second son. He is very skillful … and can be humorous at times, too. However, when he found that my wife is doing the traditional Birthing ritual (月子 Yue zi yue zi) still common in certain parts of China … he sternly advised:
Eat what those caterers provide, but make sure you don’t any of the Chinese herbal medicines they provide. I have heard of this patient once who followed the traditional Chinese Birthing regimen, but in avoiding salt during the first month after delivery, she eventually got diagnosed with sodium deficiency. Those guys really ought to be sued. These traditional approaches are just a bunch of hocus pocus…
Now, I have no way of verifying the details of that case. But I know there are many causes of sodium deficiency, often having little to do with diet. Did the herbal medicine really cause this patient’s problem? Or was it simply “presumed” based on my doctor’s pre-conceptions?
Also there are many “schools” and approaches to doing yue zi. Just as there might be problems and side effects to certain approaches to dieting – say Atkin’s diet – it does not necessarily follow that all diet regime are dangerous. I can also point out the many dangerous vaccine out there, and the many bad drug effects out there with currently approved drugs (many of the effects are not well-known). Does that mean categorically that all Western / modern approaches to medicine is bad?
Why draw a ‘big lesson’ when there is none to be drawn?
It’s ok to be careful – to be vigilant. But it’s quite another to pick out a bad apple (you can find them anywhere) – and attribute them to the bushel. That’s looking around for facts to justify one’s biases. That’s looking at the world through colored lens.
Debunking smug, uninformed ways of looking about the world is the main personal reason I blog. It can be hard work. People will often ignore you, or smear you. But it’s important.
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period … [is] not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
So here is a Happy New Year to all – and a toast to revitalizing our commitment to be conscious, to be aware, and to be conscientious. We live in a world of falsehood, distortions, and lies. Don’t be discouraged.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” King once said.
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” the great physicist Max Planck once noted.
And, remember: “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done” (U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis).
May you be Happy, Productive, and Healthy this coming year…