August 11, 2008

Behind every country there is a different world view

The Olympics have begun. There is a bit of a thrill in the air once that cauldron has been lit – the Olympics is one of the few times I can watch gymnastics and equestrian on the TV.

Seeing so much to do with China reminds me of a conversation I had last year with some international students from China. When Joshua and I lived in the student flats there were a few students from China there as well. We had all gathered to have afternoon tea at the managers flat and it was just after the election. We started talking about this and asked the international students if they had voted in China elections.

They looked at us like we were crazy and laughed.
“No!” they said “There are too many people in China to vote.”

“But how do you have elections?” We asked
“The government chooses people from each area to vote for the rest of the people.”
This seemed a bit crazy to us; wouldn’t the government choose people who would re-elect them to vote?

But the students were very adamant that this was fair and the best solution. There was no hesitation or hint of a different opinion from any of them.
“Imagine if everyone got to vote – it would be crazy!”

I was just so amazed that these intelligent young people would be so certain that the fairest way to run a democratic election was for the government to pick the people who were allowed to vote. It showed how naive I was and how arrogant about my own way of thinking. I had always assumed that everyone in the world thought the way that we did, and if they had been exposed to propaganda then they would change their mind as soon as they came into the ‘educated west’.
I was reminded of how big the world is and how many different ways of thinking there is. And we all think we are right.
Photo courtesy of KevinDooley

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