Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 22, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuotdoy, AuflUlt 32, 1972 THE LETHORIDGE HtRAtB 3 John Burns China drives to integrate minorities IJEKING China i.s a mono- lith, a country inhabited by hundreds nl millions of peo- ple of common racial descent, with a common written langu- age, a common culture, and a common definition ol the na- tional identity. Such, at least, is the popular conception. In fact, China is one of the world's great cul- tural mosaics, composed of a majority people, (he Him, and 54 minorities, each with a dis- tinctive culture of its own. The Han account for moro than 700 million of the coun- try's estimated population of 'M million. The founders of Chi- nese civilization, they continue today to dominate every fa- cet of the national life. The minorities account for only six per cent of the popula- Iton. Hill their importance is magnified by the fact that they occupy nearly 60 per cent of its total land mass, mostly the remote frontier regions. They vary greatly in There are the Chuang in tho southwest, with a population of nearly eight million, and the Hcrzhc in the northeast, with fewer than five hundred. In be- tween arc the Tibetans, per- haps the best known of all, with a population oE ah out three mil- lien. Only five of the minorities have written languages of their own, but all have their distinc- tive cultures, maintained in most cases despite an existence of a thousand years or inoro under Chinese suzerainty. Under tbe emperors, the min- orities remained apart from the mainstream. It w.is only when (he Communists came lo power that a sustained drive was mounted to Integrate them fully into Uie national life, while prt- scrving some aspects of their cultures. It was with these twin pur- poses in mind thai the Central Institute for Nationalities was established in Peking 15 years ago. Its job has been to mould minority students for leadership positions in their homelands, while fostering their sense of a separate cultural identity. The institute is set amid sev- eral tree-shaded acres in the northwest suburbs of Peking. Wracked by internal strife dur- ing the Cultural Revolution, it was recently re-opened to for- eign visitors after an interval of more than five years. Kach of the minority home- lands has its complcmenl of in- .slitules similar to the one in the capital, but none rivals its prestige. JCach year, thousands of applications arc forwarded by local authorities, but only a fraction of the applicants arc admitted. During the years of the Cul- tural Revolution, admissions ceased. They resumed lasl fall, but on a limited basis only. liy spring, only (31 of a ble 3, (XXI places were filled, ap- parently lo give setmol authori- ties time to work liic out of their new academic program. The current enrolment in- cludes represenlalives of 43 minorities, among them more than 200 Tibetans. Thj number of places assigned to Ihe color- ful Himalayan people reflects the importance attached by New gimcrack towers of Babel CINGAPOFIE Tlicrc was no violent display of Chin- ese chauvinism I- disturb the government, anti-Commun- ists, or the Malay, Indian and Caucasian minorities on lliis multiracial island when Ihe ping-pong learn from Peking came here to play. But once umpires began calling the scores in English at the Ciay World Stadium, a howl of pro- test went up, and mailers were only settled when il was agreed that they should first be an- nounced in Mandarin Cliinese. is a linguistic tan- gle which Premier Lee Kuan Yew's polyglot administration is obliged to pick apart with much patience aim care. Eng- lish is its natural administra- tive tongue, tor it was formerly a British colony, but Malay was declared the national language when the island was to fused to Ihe Federation of Malaysia Uy Dennis on attaining independence In J963. However, the predomin- antly Chinese population sixjaks five main dialects of South China at home, while children in .school learn a :nxtli Man- darin. There is also a strong Indian minority mem- bars speak even more dialects thai, do (he Chinese. A multilingual educational policy is gradually dissolving all these ingredients hut onco it is accepted thai English and Chinese must both flourish, men begin to quibble further what'English? What Chin- ese? Some argue that since there is already American Eng- lish and Australian English, and innumerable, oflcn incom- prehensible, variations of the much-mangled language are spoken in England itself, Singa- should also ba allowed to develop own distinctive form, and "I spent 10 dollars over on makan, lah" should acceptable as 1 spent more lhaii 10 dollars on food But the argument that speech mi'st ha a iivhij growth can Ix; taken too far, for by Ifie time the pi'ojil-.; of New Guinea are tho publication you are now read- ing as it becomes evident that all that Ihe process logically leads lo must tiie election of new gimcrack lowers of Babel lo re- place the old. Even if all agree that Man- darin, and not one of t'.-e south- ern dialects, should the Chin- ese of Singapore, purists from Peking and Taipei will complain that Singapore Man- darin is as misshapen a mutant as Singapore English. 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PHONE WILL FIND THE BEST BRANDS ADVERTISED IN THE LETHBRSDGE the Chinese leadership to their Krjlio'.vmg (he pattern set clsc- v.'hei'u in education, the in.stitutc set ojt after the Cultural revol- ution lo amplify iLs curriculum. 11 r.rjv; has only three basic cwi.vos, in politics, languages, and art. I'olitics predominates, with all the .stufbnfs fallowing a stiff of ideological indoc- trination. The works studied are exclusively of Marx, Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. Students who spsak only (heir o-.vn minority tongue ore taught the main Han language, by the communists and knwvn simply as pu long !vj.i, or pspuicr Han students learn one of five min- ority Tibetan, Ka- Mongolian and Korean. hours a week are de- vo'cd to as ts, meaning music and dyntiiifj. All minority stu- ck; tils arc expected to graclu- v.'illi a thorough grasp of tr.tiir o'.vn cultures, so they can return to homelands and the native varieties of Ecrui rrtd dance. Visitors lo the institute are grilled by a group ci students in thdr national dress. Mon- gols, ami Kojcan.s ri- viil c'.her in the color and extravagance of their cos- bravely even in the heat of a summer day. Institute officials .say that national dress is opUtmal for the students, but the majority of students in the classroom opt for the everyday denim worn by just about everybody in China. Even the girls in na- tional dress wear their blue denim pants underneath. The students who en- rolled at the institute before tho. Cu Ilurol were chosen on the basis of academ- ic excellence alone. Under the new rulers, academic qualifica- tions still count, hut the para- mount criterion is ideological fitness. All applicants must come from the masses, meaning the workers, peasants and soldiers, licyond that, they must con- vince their peers that they have correctly understcod and prac- ticed the teachings of Mao Tse- tung. AH applications must bo ap- proved by the local authorities, but the final say rests with the in.-UUite. In practice, it settled for a highly diversified entry last fall, with the new students ranging in age from 12 to 35. Tuition and residence costs are paid by the stale, which also covers travel costs at Uie beginning and end of a stu- denl's course. Trips home dur- ing the course are out, except in emergencies, when the state pays, Factory workers with famil- ies may'remain at the institute for as'little as a year. Teen- agers may stay for several. There are no examinations, and a student graduates when bis fellow students and teachers judge that he is ready for gradu- ation. In the politics courses, spe- cial stress is laid on the op- pression Die minorities arc said to have suffered in pre- Cotnmunist days. The institute's exhibition is devoted in large part to demonstrating the atro- cities alleged to have been pcr- by the old rulers of Tihcl, complete with such dis- play items as a severed arm and' a .skull. The Ihcmc of past oppression and present happiness is ham- mered home p.t every turn. An IJi-yeor-oM Tibetan girl, asked she enjoys life at Ihe in- fiUtir'L1, pairiLs nut that she c-r inns from a [wor peasant family, and is the first of the family ever to have a formal am very exhilarated to be she says. "1 am deeply grateful to Chnirman May i.nrl Cnnmunist Party. I will do nil I can for the Chinese revolu- tion, and for the world revolu- tion." La n Kau-mci if; lfl, and from Hie coastal province of opposite1 the island stronghold of Taiwan. She ex- plains proudly that her given name, Kan-nvji, is .short for the words meaning Resist American Aggrtvsion. a name chosen hy her mother after her father died a soldier in UK; Kor- ean "This is a lesson T must rc- she says. "I iviVU'mbiT my father's sacri- fic-i.'. and lo heighten our country's vigilance against im- ASioi-e all, I must re- liKil il is tbe people vim mo hero, Ihe pco- pk1 thai I mu.st learn lo serve." The sentiments are familiar. Thry are identical to (hose a vi.'iior hears in mainstream .schools ar.d college's right CSiina, whicli may be tv.A1 5-miilf ini'k'nlion (hat the iiisliiulc is sucaufiing in its drive for minority integration. (Tlif Glnlic nml Mail, Toronto> The unwanted people Ily llichard J. Nccdhiiin, in The Toronto Globe aiid Mail usually think about race prejudice a.s some tiling white people do against black people or brown people or yellow people. Yet in fact, 1 believe, people of every cotor have a prejudice against peo- ple of every other color. The Chinese have always regarded white people us inferior; and tbe only people Japan will accept aru Japanese. (I've read, but can't swear to it, that the Japanese-Negro children horn in Japan following tbe American occupa- tion had to be shipped off lo Brazil, where there's a large Japane.se colony, and where as in Hawaii a thoroughly mixcd-up racial situation makes any sort of color discrimination pointless.) In Uganda, we have black-skinned peo- of African ancestry turning against brown-skinned people who trace their sn- cestry back to India and Pakistan. This is only partly or fractionally a racial prejud- ice; it's more of a class or cultural prej- udice, tbe exact typo shown against Chi- nese in many o' the Southeast Asian coun- tries, e.g. Indonesia. The "crime" of the Indians and Pakistanis in Uganda, a.s of the Chinese in Indonesia, i.s that they work hard and make money; they're natural- barn businessmen. Among white Canadians, there's a sub- stantial prejudice against Orientals, ex- pressed in savage race riots Vancouver, and even more savage legislation, e.g. the legalized looting of the Japanese- Canadians in the 1939-45 war. There's no such prejudice against Eskimos; they ru cute. Again, when I lived in Western Can- ada, 1 noticed that people looked down on the Indians, who were colored, with a sort of good-natured contempt. They actively hated the hard-working, cheap-living Hut- teriLcs, who were white. Indians and Eski- mos don't annoy people with "unfair com- petition11; Orientals and Hutterites do. It seems to me that underdeveloped na- tions such as Uganda and Indonesia (and Canada) do grave harm to themselves when they deport or harass or exclude en- terprising minorities. Economically, Indo- nesia and the Philippines and especially Burma arc 3n a hopeless mess because o! hostile actions and attitudes toward tho Chinese business community. They're hi about the same situation as Toronto would be if it threw out the Jews or the Italians or, come to that, the Wasps, Again, we Anglo Saxons lend to forget the tremendous contribution made lo Brit- ain, Canada and the United States by minority groups, and especially by refu- gees from religious or racial or ideologi- cal persecution Britain with Jews and Huguenots, Canada with Mennonitcs and Doukhobors, the United States v.ith just about everybody. The Pilgrim Fathers who started the whole thins at Plymouth Rock in 1C20 were, of course, religious refugees. But two things fquite apart from racial or religious prejudice) are working against present-day refuge's. One is that in mort all countries today, democratic cr dic- tatorial, "tha-necplc" prcvai1, which means that the piu-Eiors of 'Tic people" prevail fear ar.d hatred and envy of anybody who works hard and lives frugally gets ahead. As Aloxar.dsr Hamilton said t'j Jef- ferson, "Ycur sir, is a great beast." The ether thing working against refugees today is that Use traditional host countries Britain, Canada, lha U.S. have gotten set in their ways. AVe're comfortable and lazy and we don't want anyone coming in and rocking the boat. We've also set. up elaborate welfare schemes xvhich in effect are closed shops. Whv should "they" be allowed to come in and take "our" ben- efits? Why should be allowed to como in and take "our" housing, "our" jobs? In August, 1914, Sir Edward Grey said, "the lamps are gomg out all over Europe; we shall not see them h't again in our life- time." I'd say today that the gates are closing all over the world, they won't be reopened again in our lifetime, "There's no place for refugees to run to, they'll just have to stay put and get chopped, and the civilized world will cry, "Shame, shame! Naughty, and then turn its at- tention to the football results. Youth on icelfare The Ottawa Journal THE Canadian Council on Social De- velopment reports startling increases In the numhers of young people on welfare. A 300-page study on youth and social as- sistance notes that March 1970 and March 1971 the total number o f short-term social assistance cases in New- foundland decreased by .six per cent but but the number of esses among 15 lo 19 year olds increased by 123 per cent. In Nova Scotia, welfare cases increased by per cent in that time period, but cases among 35-19 year olds rose by 135 per cent. In Quebec between 1970 and 1971, total welfare cases were up 2.8 per cent. But among (hose under 25, welfare cases in- creased from to a rise of 77.2 per cent. In Toronto, the number ot year olds on welfare increased by 94 per cent, while the genera] increase was only 24 per cent. A gang of good-for-nothings living off the- system, not wanting work? Not according to this report. About 70 per cent of the 300 young welfare recipients interviewed for the re- port had expected to support themselves when they left home. When they couldn't get or no longer had jobs, 87 per cent tried other solutions before seeking welfare. Most of the young persons told inter- viewers (hey rej ected welf a re as a way of life; 97.3 per cent said welfare was only a temporary form of relief for them. More than a third considered it "a big trap once you get into the welfare rut, it is real- ly hard to get away from it." Why are so many young people who don't want to be there, in danger of being trap- ped in the welfare jungle? In March, the unemployment rate for the under-2Ss was 11 per cent, compared with a 4.2 per cent unemployment rate for Canadians 25 and over. Tliis is a most depressing end worry- Ing situation. Somehow our society in the private as well as government sectors must shape itself so that the young can go to work. If they do not it will mean far more than so many statistics about unem- ployed it mean the people who will compose the future of this nation are sour- ed and frustrated, and their spirit no less than their citizenship will bear blighted fruit. JIM FISHBOURNE One for the highway patrol IK a highway patrolman happens to read this, and feels that I um medd- ling uninvited m police business, all I can say is Hint I mean well. (I guess it wouldn't do lo point out that there have ce- casions on which policemen have introduc- ed themselves into my affairs without a formal invitation.) During a rccont long weekend, I spent rririle a few hours on the highway, and nat- urally saw a fair number of RCMP (or is it 'Police', now highway patrol cars. Two I recall very well. They were doing en- tirely different things, and the difference illustrates a point (hat may ho worth mak- ing. The first car was one of several that had congregated around the smoking re- nains of a (nick that had burned up be- tween the lanes of a divided highway. This was between Banff and Calgary. Tho driver of the car I particularly noticed ev- idently wanted lo go east, so taking ad- vantage of the fact that foinc people lend to slow down a hit when they sec smoke and a lot of flashing red lights, he was able to squeeze into a small gap in the vciy dense traffic headed for Calgary. Up to this point both cost-bound lanes had been whizzing along at very close lo the posted speed limit of 70 miles per hour. But immediately the patrol car showed up, the? sprcd dropped to over fin, and that decorous pace was maintained all the way lo Calgary, some twenty or so miles. At first tho driver of the patrol car tried to do a little better than [his. dodging in and of lanes, but got him nowhere and he soon ECU Jed down and rolled along witli the crowd. The other car I ssw in a traditional rcb, that of laying in wait for unwary malefactor. The cpcrr.tor of this vcliiclG had found what seemed to be a fiuriy ef- fective a spc.t where a curve, r.n overpass and some tall weeds to almost completely conceal tvs car, Ttore he lurked. Apain the traffic- was very heavy, just about but moving briskly nevertheless, at or perhaps a bit over the posted limit of 70 mph. Whether anyone elso saw the patrol car I cannot say, but if they dirt they pair! no aitentioii. Certainly no ore slowed riown. The contrast in these two situations im- pressed mo. In one, simply by being visi- ble, the patrol vehicle effectively slowed traffic by a good ten miles per hour, even though it was quite evident that the driver was more than willing to go considerably faster. Tho patrolman in the weeds, on the other hand, hnd precisely zero effect on the speed at which the traffic moved. And if it mattered, neither coyld have workc.1 his way through Uic very dense traffic to deal with a r.iisbcliaviug driver, As my cxprrifTico with traffic men's duties rooms to have been tho wrong sort, I canr.ot offer an expert ob- servation at this point. As a taxpayer, how- ever, I have to admit a bit of rcluctanco at financing Uie operations of that guy in Uic weeds.