A Billion and Me

Weekends are at times my favorite days of the week, despite the noise at the Nanputuo Temple, because these are the days I can relax and do my chores and sleep in. Today I was awakened by a loud barrage of noise outside my building, which is located by the West Gate of Xiamen University. I woke up to see a flood of Chinese people filling the streets shouting something almost inaudible. It’s not that I’ve never seen Chinese people like this, I did once join the Beijing locals who were lining up to welcome the 1st day of October (which is the independence day for the People’s Republic of China) back in 2010 at Tian’an Men Square and it was crowded. This is the first time though that I’ve seen Chinese people rally together to announce a stand on something, live.

Lately I’ve been hearing about the escalating tensions between China and Japan regarding what the Chinese call the DiaoYu Islands and which the Japanese call Senkaku Islands, which is a disputed set of islands somewhere near Mainland China, Taiwan and Japan. I have been watching the local news lately and I’ve seen tensions between China and South East Asian countries over Spratlys, Korea and Japan over another set of disputed islands, and now this, but I never thought it was this serious until a couple of days ago when my friend showed me a picture outside of a bar here in Xiamen saying that “No Japanese are allowed inside” or something like “Japanese prohibited from entering inside” (in Mandarin of course). And then yesterday as I was having my manicure and pedicure done at a salon near my place, I was watching the television inside the shop and the channel was tuned into the news and they were talking about the escalating tensions. They even aired this tv host doing a study at a national library which was featuring ancient Chinese books, which talked of the DiaoYu islands from a very long time ago and how it has always been under China.

I find it patriotic how the Chinese are so willing to fight over what they believe is theirs, it’s endearing. But watching them  in multitudes as they passed by, was frightening. Imagine. Today, their opponents are Japan, but they also have the Philippines and other South East Asian countries as opponents for the Spratlys Islands. I can only hope that things do not escalate, and that those of us living here as students will not be affected in any way. I know that the common people should be concerned about things like this, but being a foreigner in a country that’s suppose to be the next world power, I can only hope that we leave these issues to the governments themselves. I don’t want to have to worry about the personal safety of myself and of my friends. It’s too frightening a future to imagine.

Photos taken from my instagram account


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