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Historical events bring about political or economic changes

2021-12-16 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

51Due教员组给各位留学生分享一篇纯原创代写范文essay,文章主要讨论东亚历史,尽管历史事件给一个社会的政治或经济环境带来了变化,但一些核心文化价值观一直保留到今天。中国和其他东亚国家历史的延续和变化就是如此。本文将围绕这一主题,特别是以中国近代史的状况为代表。通过分析两本书《野天鹅:中国的三个女儿》(张戎,2016年,后称为《野天鹅》)和《金拱门东方:东亚麦当劳》(詹姆斯·L·沃森,1997年版,后称为金拱门东方),我将讨论中国历史上的连续性和变化是如何共存的,以及东亚其他一些城市。

希望这篇可以帮助到各位留学生,同时需要代写课业可以直接联系我们51Due客服(vx:Athey520)进行咨询。

Throughout history in East Asia, there are some core cultural values that have been kept till the present day, in spite of historical events bringing changes to the political or economical environment of a society. Such is the case with the continuity and change in the history of China, and other East Asian countries. This paper is going to focus on this topic, especially to take the condition of China’s recent history as a representational example. Through the analysis of two books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (Jung Chang, 2016. Later referred to as Wild Swans) and Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia (James L. Watson, ed. 1997. Later referred to as Golden Arches East), I am going to discuss how continuity and change co-exist in the history of China, as well as some other cities in East Asia.  

The first book, Wild Swans tells the stories of three women spanning the time period from late nineteenth century to late twentieth century. The second book Golden Arches East discusses McDonald’s entrance into East Asian cities and how the belief about the western homogenization of Asian culture is not true. Wild Swans ends its narrative in about the period of China’s opening-up and reforming policy in late twentieth century. In Golden Arches East, McDonald’s has entered East Asian in late twentieth century. Considering such timeframe, these two books can be analyzed in terms of chronological order, to discover how cultural values are influenced by historical events and how they remained somewhat unchanged.

As author Bob Riel wrote, and I paraphrase, the tradition of East Asia is under the great impact of Confucianism. The core philosophies of Confucianism include respect to family and for the elderly, collectivism, hierarchy, harmony and so on. Among East Asian countries, China is a typical example in terms of those values. The book Wild Swans contains some good stories exemplifying such traditional values.

Wild Swans tells stories of three women belonging to different eras of China. The first woman named Yu-Fang, who is the grandmother of the author, was born in the beginning of nineteenth century. Her tragic life started with being married by her father to a high-ranking landlord when she was fifteen. Her father did this in exchange of a better social status. Yu-Fang had no choice but to obey her father as respect to her father, the ruling elderly male in her family. Her marriage was unhappy, not only because her husband went away to join wars, but also because she was married to the landlord as a concubine, therefore subjected to their manipulation and lived with neither freedom nor dignity. She was constantly under the fear that the legal wife at the house would report her behaviors to the landlord. Yu-Fang had a daughter with the landlord, named Bao Qin. Living in fears and pressure, Yu-Fang fled back to her original family, but was not welcomed. Eventually she fell in love with a doctor. They got married and lived in Jinzhou, Manchuria. Then they renamed Bao Qin to De Hong. Yu-Fang continued to live with her daughter De Hong, helping De Hong taking care of her children.

The story of De Hong, who is the author’s mother, is quite a different one than Yu-Fang. During her teenager years, she joined communist party. She fell in love with an officer named Chang Shouyu who served in the communist party, and they got married. However, the officer obviously valued his duty to the party more than his wife’s happiness. When the conflicts came, De Hong was always left uncared. She gave birth to five children, with one miscarriage and one abortion. The husband was at the same time tending to his duties for the Party. Later, because of Mao’s policies, De Hong and her husband were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, suffering immensely till death.

During the turmoil happened to De Hong and Chang Shouyu, they gave birth to their oldest daughter, Jung, who is the author of Wild Swans. Again, Jung’s life was different from her mother. She was not interested in politics, but loved reading and learning. During her twenties, she witnessed the Cultural Revolution, and was sent to the countryside for education due to her problematic political condition of her family. At the end of the Cultural Revolution, Jung pursued an English major at college diligently. After graduation, she received a scholarship to England, where she then went to study and live ever since.

From the above stories of these three women, we can see the change in women’s social status in history. For Jung’s Grandma, Yu-Fang, she did not have any freedom or right to participate in things she liked. She also had to live to the old Chinese tradition of foot-binding, which required women to bind their feet tight at an early age, stopping the feet from growing thus remaining a fairly small size. This tradition obviously caused intolerable pains to women, and it was based on the need to please men. Even if for marriage, Yu-Fang was forced to have arranged marriage and became a concubine of some high-ranking landlord, as a victim of an exchange of her father’s social status. Although she finally fled away, and married a man she loved, her primary duty was still to be in the family and raise children. When it comes to her daughter De Hong, in the early twentieth century, it was possible for women to participate in communist activities, and also chose someone they loved to marry. The tradition of foot-binding also got abolished during her era. For the author Jung herself, although she underwent difficult times due to the political turmoil in her teenager years, she finally made it through, and had choices other than politics – she got herself into college. There, she won herself some honor in academic learning, and became an intellect. She happened to live in the age of China’s opening-up and reforming era. She got herself an opportunity to study abroad, and chose to leave her country and seldom returned. The changing fate of those three women shows how China has changed throughout the years. The breaking of old unsuited rules and the embracing of the new, in the realm of women’s right as demonstrated above, shows a lot in the influence of historical, economical and cultural events.

Despite the change, we can still observe something that remains essentially the same. As mentioned above, in Bob Riel’s article, Confucianism has been a key traditional East Asian Value, especially in China. Being loyal to one’s family is one of the main themes of Wide Swans. One example is when Jung’s father, Chang Shouyu, was in prison and had mental breakdown, Jung and her family members went to visit her father regularly. They valued the family bond although their own life was also full of struggles.

The respect to family also extends to the grand family of the country, or the communist party. Take Chang Shouyu as an example. He put the interest of the Party first, and was willing to sacrifice his own interest, or his own small family, for the benefit of the bigger family (the Party). This also has a lot to do with the value of Collectivism. As Bob Riel puts it, “In a collectivist culture, individuals put group goals and needs ahead of their own personal desires.” This explains why families are very cohesive, and children are expected to be obedient to their parents. This is also reflected in Yu-Fung’s obedience to her father.

One might say that when it comes to the end of the story, at the age of opening-up and reforming, the mindset of people changed. Because of the increasing exchange opportunities between east and west, traditional values such as Collectivism have been influenced, or even replaced by Individualism. To some extent this assumption is true. However, has the importing of western culture, or corporates changed the indigenous culture completely? The book Golden Arches East discusses such issues and offers perspectives concerning homogeneity and globalization.

The book Golden Arches East discussed the influence of McDonald’s in five cities of East Asia. It raises such questions as “Does the spread of fast food undermine the integrity of indigenous cuisines? Are food chains helping to create homogenous, global culture better suited to the needs of a capitalist world order?” The articles in the book provide understanding on the process of globalization from the local consumers’ points of view. The book argues against the belief that local cultures are homogenized by this giant western food chain.

Take the case of Beijing for example. Although seen from surface, one would find the fast food restaurant McDonald’s very popular. The American way of dining and fast food culture seem to have penetrated the local dinning style. However, As William Hay argues, the traditional influence still is shaping “the McDonald’s presence in China and forcing the restaurant chain to adapt to the special needs of the Chinese consumer.” If McDonald’s in the US is more of a fast food chain, where people go get hamburgers and fries for a convenient and quick meal. In Beijing, it is less like a fast food restaurant, but more of a café with comfortable atmosphere. It is an experience that link children and young people to the cosmopolitan world outside. Moreover, it can be often seen that families dine together at McDonald’s to celebrate certain special occasions, or colleagues conducting business meetings there, or young couples having a date. The value centered upon family or group is still deemed high in China, and thus the original fast-food chain has been adapted to a group/ family get-together place in China.

“One of the keys to continuity and change is looking for change where common sense suggests that there has been none and looking for continuities where we assumed that there was change.” From the case of Beijing, we can see the opening-up to western culture has not undermined local traditional values. Although food choices have been enriched toward the tendency of globalization, there are still continuities deep down in the culture values.

The rest of the chapters in the book have also revealed that other cities in East Asia have kept their own local style to some extent. For instance, in Taipei, since the local lifestyle is more relaxed and people enjoy casual social activities, people like to stay at McDonald’s to hang out longer after meals are finished, unlike the American fast food style of grab-and-go. In Seoul, the tendency toward local culture is stronger, and the choice of whether to eat at McDonald’s even is linked to a Korean’s national identity. In Japan, McDonald’s is deemed as a place for solitary eating, or it is the food for children. With the diverse conditions of McDonald’s operation in East Asian cities, one can see that the western culture, in the form of food chain, has not changed the local style, but has been adapted to the local.

To wrap up on these two books discussed in this paper, we see both the changes and continuities in the history of East Asia. Take China as an example. On one hand, from the end of nineteenth century onward, we see the abolishment of such old traditions as foot-binding for women, or arranged marriages, which are described in the story of Wide Swans.  In the political aspects, Kuo Min Tang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fought for years for power over thirty years, before Mao proclaimed the establishment of People’s Republic of China in 1949. Just after the war-time fighting finished, the Five-Year-Plan, Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution at Mao’s era led to famine, economic failure and cultural destruction. After Deng Xiaoping gained leadership after Mao’s death, Deng’s revolution started. China began to follow the opening-up and reforming policy, which got China involved in the international trade and financial system. Western corporates began to enter China, such as McDonald’s. Moreover, just as the author Jung for Wide Swans got the opportunities to study abroad, it was also a period that embraced cultural and intellectual exchanges.

On the other hand, we can see the continuities in the history of China. One of those is the respect for Confucianism. As illustrated in the book of Golden Arches East, the highly respected value for family, collectivism, and the rule for hierarchy kept valid throughout the years, engrained in people’s mind and carried out in their practices. Similar cases also apply to other East Asian countries. Although the outside environment has its turmoil and conflicts, with abandoning the old and embracing the new, there are still values in people’s heart that is hard to change. They may be modified, and operate at different forms, certain cores remain, which builds the continuity in history.

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