The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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China’s pride to make 2008 Olympics a success

I’m going to assume you’ve heard about the earthquake in China and the cyclone in Myanmar. If not, you have severely deprived yourself of any kind of media these last few weeks. On May 12, 2008, I was lounging around with my friends near campus celebrating our upcoming graduation. Halfway around the world, students who had just survived a 7.9 Richter-scale earthquake were busy trying to dig out textbooks to study for their upcoming exams. It’s hard to imagine the kind of dedication these students have. It’s a hard image to confront considering how blessed we are at SMU. For them, their parents’ hope and their own future rests on their academic performance.

In this past semester, China became one of the hot topics spanning everything from sports to business to human rights.

Here’s the situation in China as I see it. According to SINA.net, a popular Chinese news portal, casualties have reached 65,080 deaths as of Monday, May 26. About 23,000 people are reported missing and 360,000 injured. China’s deadliest earthquake in modern history occurred in 1976, killing over 240,000 people. Many schools collapsed, including one with over 900 students, many of whom are still buried. Geographically, the earthquake started in Wenchuan County of the Sichuan province and tremors were felt in almost every province of China, as well as many neighboring countries. While most of us in America have no idea where the Sichuan province is, we are all deeply connected to its culture. The Sichuan (Szechwan) province offers a very spicy cuisine. Just glance over your restaurant menus during your next visit to Panda Express or PF Chang’s. And, if you love pandas as much as I do, you would probably be interested to know that the Wolong National Nature Reserve, home to about 280 giant pandas, is safe. And despite the criticism that the Chinese government received recently on other issues, the Chinese government quickly mobilized aid to the disaster-stricken areas. In addition, its refreshing attitude of openness to foreign aid is commendable.

While I am a die-hard Texan born into a Chinese family, I have a deep sense of pride in my Chinese culture and traditions. Reflecting on the situation in China, I remembered a Chinese saying, “All within the four seas are brethren,” which illustrates the deep sense of connectedness in Chinese culture. This type of nationalism could not be more evident right now. Personally, I have seen this sense of duty in both America and China. For example, one member of my home church organized a carwash fundraiser outside of Kroger this past Sunday. He made two tri-fold boards with pictures and information on the efforts of the Red Cross Society of China. Over 30 people from my church, including myself, workedat that carwash for about five hours. Seeing how passionate these family friends have become is quite touching. Most of us at SMU have probably done our fair share of carwashes and fundraisers in high school and college. The action itself does not seem like a big deal. But for many of these Chinese immigrants, this is the first time they have ever stood up publicly for something they believe. It is a refreshing experience of the freedom of speech and expression that we often take for granted. One young member of our church, an international student at the University of North Texas, said, “I have never washed a car before like this. It is good that people are willing to listen and give generously.” Seeing these people express their feelings of civic duty is remarkable.

I was also curious to hear feedback from some of my friends who currently live in China or have visited China recently. SMU ’08 grad Ben Wells spent a semester studying in Suzhou, China. When I asked him for his thoughts, he replied, “If anything good can come out of the tragedy, one can hope that it’s the ever-growing sense of civic participation and civic society that has been growing in China since the ’80s. This optimistic attitude is one of the few positives to come out of such a horrific tragedy.” One of my Chinese friends shared about the three days of national mourning. He described it as sorrowful solidarity. On one of these days, he gathered with other people in a park chanting, “Long live China!” There is a lot of hope in China. As you are reading this article, the Olympic torch moves slowly toward Beijing, bringing with it a solemn hope and pride.

The Summer Olympics will begin on August 8, 2008, at 08:08:08 p.m. CST in Beijing. The number eight holds great significance to the Chinese. It is considered a lucky number because it sounds like the word ‘prosperity’ or ‘wealth’. The Chinese government is really trying to use the games as an opportunity to show the world what China has become. With less than 100 days before the opening ceremony, I am getting excited. We actually have four of our very own Mustangs competing this summer. They include junior swimmer Petra Klosova, rower Dr. Rania Elwani (’99), swimmer Laura Reback Bennett (’97) and tennis player Rodney Harmon (’83). Go ‘Stangs!

Daniel Liu is a graduate student. He can be reached at [email protected].

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