Western Media’s last Hurrah and Buddhist China

I guess if you have been born to believe that you have a God given mandate to rule te world – and for the rest of the minions to be consigned to pats on their backs, or be out sourcers for your cheap goods at home, or somewhere to flood the market almost forcibly sometimes (WTO and the Opium Wars earlier) with your goods, then you could be forgiven for a bloated sense of your own importance. Long after it has become irrelevant. So with Western Media where they try to belittle China’s stunning acheivment at the Olympic Games by constantly harping on the killing by a psychopath of the father in law of one of the coaches of the US basket ball team. Or a bomb explosion on the Chinese borders of Afganistan and Ladakh. Or the latest reports on the cost of the opening ceremony in Beijing on an (oh so poor) China, or the level of pollution in Beijing . Excuse me, the only major enterprise that the US has to show for itself in the last 10 years is the Iraq War – which cost a 1000 times more that the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games, killed more people and caused more pollution that can be even imagined.


The fall out of the opening ceremony is not just that it shows that China is the next economic superpower – but that it will also be the next centre for the Arts. New York is about to lose it’s place and the revered New York critic is about to be redundant, replaced by a far far more vibrant world of Art and Culture in the East. Eastern culture will nt longer be consigned to a ‘cutism’ but is about to become the mainstream culture of the world. In Shanghai and Beijing, in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. It’s already happening and all that needs to be done is that the Chinese Govt needs to let go of it’s outdated controls over the arts.
I completely agree that Tibet is a problem and I would not like to see a Buddhist civilization destroyed by Chinese expansionist plans. We have so much to learn from it. But hey – the whole show by Yang Zhimou is so Buddhist – years of communism have not been able to destroy a fundamental culture, a fundamental belief, a fundamental mythology. Yang Zhimou’s Hero (the film) was also so Buddhist in it’s nature ,story and presentation. Is China at it’s heart still a Buddhist country ?

15 Responses to “Western Media’s last Hurrah and Buddhist China”

  1. Harb says:

    As with earthly fathers/sons so with heavenly Fathers/Sons.
    Some sons decide to go along with their fathers while others decide to go against or carve out their own ways.
    In the Heavenly Fathers/Sons context the first will be called believers and the second the atheists (communists).
    That does not mean that the second are less of the fathers at heart, rather in most cases they are the more so, as the reason they go against their fathers is because the like repells like.
    So the communist China according to me is more near to Buddhist culture from their heart.

  2. dearbloke says:

    HELLo Mr.KaPOOR,
    Olympics has always been a dias to bring the world nations to be unified by spirit of sports,this is the only event that brings harmony and acceptance between countries so is the reason for the amount of money spent,unlike U.S Invading Iraq, and bringing down and killing the economy and the President ,by indecent ,unacceptable,cunning & most disturbing and dangerous instincts have put the world peace to threat & ruined the relations among the nations and broke the world into parts.Even India was a friend of Iraq and Saddam Hussien on Business terms.while executing Saddam and war in Iraq ,India was mum.it was a Disasterous act of barbarism where a President of a country is hunted in a deceptive way and trying to invade a country (for Oil ,which was an important reason) by decieving and misinforming the world nations that Iraq and its president had kept Weapons of Mass destruction and Even Tony Blair & 10,Downing Street claiming Iraq can bomb U.K ,these claims were not even proven ,meanwhile they captured & Hunted the President(on this basis of WMDs) and Hung him, and later they didnt even find a single WMD or any weapon that can bomb U.K,what kind of barbarious act is that.And KAPUR how can you compare this OLympics and Iraq .No matter the money spend, talk about the aim and spirit of Olympics that makes wonder and enhances world peace.Its reasonable to spend reasonable amount money for Olympics by an country .
    China accepted and included Buddhism in its culture ,even then it has its own individual culture apart from Buddhism.one Practicing Budhdism or getting into Buddhism is to become a Saint and to attain eternity.Only a considerable part of china population practise Budhdhism which is not a majority,its a minority.
    The Hero is a a total Communist view and sacrifice of an unknown warrior its sad how you could say Budhdhism is in such story.if you knew the meaning of being a coummunist then you would never have said that.Even the total theme says that all the provinces should be brought under one roof by avoiding internal jealousy and thirst for dominance,which will bring stability in chin(china).A wonderful Synonym for Cummunist country

  3. Ameya says:

    Huh. I must be watching the wrong stations, or not enough- I haven’t seen any of those things that you’ve mentioned said on TV once – I only heard about the stabbing on cnn.com.

  4. ajinkya says:

    u ve show gang rapes in movies like bandit queen.but yesterday while i was watching aaj tak i came across a news tht a employee from the call centre in puna was raped by 7to8 mens from night to 2.30 in the morning. bandit queen u showed on screen was a story far from the towns. but at this modern age where we people are just busy doin our works.nobody cares.can help those victims by showing somethng which wud create a hype in the town.rapist ke baare mein itna khun bharna hai ke koi is desh mein phir aise majaal naa kare.movies can change the locality ive seen.people follow movies.gets inspire.like gandhigiri agaist corruption,now bhaigiri for our sisters all over the country? wht say?
    and only person in world could make this happen on screen is you.
    we support you.

  5. In one sense aren’t you peddling Western goods with your movie productions? I think its good as an Indian director what you are doing……I am not against it…..but isn’t it a little bit hypocritical of you to criticize Western culture in such general terms, whilst benefiting and profiting from it……..that movie “Larksworld”….or whatever,and Elizabeth………..
    Yes we all can criticize what we or whom we work with, but if you seek to build a niche of working for the “West” via Hollywood that icon of Western culture, why be against it in such a way.
    Why predict its demise in such stark terms.
    Hollywood has come a long way from its racist past, when the likes of Satyjit Ray, were spun out and spurned, and his ideas stolen by the likes of Spielberg.
    ________________________________________
    Is “Bollywood” truly representative of Indian culture….the Western orientated songs, numbers and suggestive dance routines?
    Is this Indian culture, that will take over the world?
    __________________________________________
    Why copy Western “games” and incorporate them into your movies numerous times as hidden multi-layered cryptic messages……is that real culture when you copy their “games” and follow their political intrigue?
    How relevant is it in relation to someone who will NOT be visiting India ever anyway……..all those years wasted incorporating those hidden messages for Saabji, when the vast majority in India wouldn’t get anyway? For whose benefit, for whose creative art is this?
    For whose service was all this?

  6. Isabel says:

    I hear the yearning of unity and glory …
    in a framework of super powers positioning …
    between illusionary levels of self importance and serious human rights violations…
    Question in my mind then is : “how can I contribute to the bridging between worlds as a reflector of the best of the human spirit without denying the dark shadows lurking in the background???
    Somehow there is a dissonance I find disturbing as I read about the different reports, and wonder if they are talking about the same thing.
    ah .. the power of duality … seeking for unity …
    my guiding light …
    my teacher …
    in that …
    which remains …
    One simple article attracted my attention…
    It was written by Anita Chang who lives in Beijing and this is some of its extracts …
    “ It all began when favorite noodle lady was forced to close down. Soon after the ice pop lady was gone, followed by the scary fruit guy.
    Then a few weeks ago the shabby apartment complex across the street from mine was covered up with a 3 m high sheet metal fence. The barrier blocks a row of small shops that offers everything from handmade Chinese bread to bicycle repairs.
    The Beijing that visitors and televisions see during the Olympics isn’t my Beijing.
    It is unnaturally sanitized and stiffly coiffed with much of its frenetic grittiness and earthly charm falling victim of zealous organizers who want to host a flawless event.
    In the real Beijing I often see bare bottom babies, horse drawn carts and chickens pecking the sidewalk.
    In the Olympics Beijing half the cars have been taken off the roads, and migrant workers and students sent home to reduce pollution and congestion.
    Almost all construction has been halted.
    Authorities have taken pains to hide as many unfinished business as they can. Concrete skeletons are draped with giant sheets decorated with pictures of Olympic athletes or forest scenes.
    A structure on Wangfujing Beijing’s famous pedestrian malls, is covered with a drape painted to look like a finished buikding.
    Taxi drivers have been issued uniforms and are now among the sharpest looking drivers in the world. Believe me, visitors here wouldn’t normally confuse a cabdriver with an office worker.
    And then there is the noodle lady.
    The food stalls that crowded many side streets have been ordered closed and a lot of side walk dining banned, because they are considered unsightly and unsanitary.
    Wu who would not give his last name lashed out at the government for what he said was an obsession with looking good for foreigners.
    When other countries host the Olympic games they do it to make money, but look at China. It is only for the face – he said.
    Mr Wu has since left for his hometown. Also gone is the burly fruit guy, who peddled small piles of apples, peaches and slices of pineapples at night from a the back of a tricycle cart in the parking lot of my apartment complex.
    Many people are waiting for the Olympics to be over, so life can go back to normal. the more enterprising are finding ways to survive.
    This week a co-worker tipped me off about a woman who was secretly selling cold noodles – behind a huge Olympics sign.
    Crazy, unpredictable Beijing is still alive after all, just behind the fence.
    That made me feel better”
    Yesterday I read about the 500000 homes that were destroyed for the stadium to be built. When a woman who lost her home was asked how she felt she simply said “the government knows best”
    question in my mind “ is this the world I want to see as the next super economic power?”
    I shiver to the thought, knowing that it is another reflection of the serious imbalance of values in the world we live in …
    urging me to take a stand … to break free from old deceptive myths and to focus on those I want to live by …
    Myths that honor the human spirit in the goodness that we are …
    ah .. Tibet
    a most exquisite moment of connection stands out …
    I was in Nepal and was visiting a Tibetan temple. At some point I came across a room were monks were praying. I stood at the door, mesmerized by the vibration greeting me in very cell … expecting to be kicked out as after all I was a woman and had not right to be there …
    and yet .. to my absolute delight I was greeted by these exquisite smiling faces making me feel at home …
    oh yes .. in India .. inside Ghandi’s temple there he was .. a Buddhist monk … looking like a Franciscan…
    Without thinking I run to him asking for a photo as if glued to a magnet of a different kind …
    again to be greeted by a most wonderful smile …
    Is China at its heart still a Buddhist country?
    I believe so ..
    as after all Buddhism stands for compassion and goodness…
    qualities that live in very human being…
    it is just a matter of choice …
    between the voice of the ego and the voice of the soul …

  7. brahmastra says:

    Well, maybe the reason that there were Buddhist themes in the ceremony could be that those are the only themes that the Chinese could present to the world that would have enough colour to them. Plus, the communists of today are just capitalists in disguise who will employ anything in their sales strategies to appease their clients. These leaders are just looking for the next form of mind-control.
    I don’t think it is a good idea to encourage the Chinese in their continued violent expansionist quest towards being a world leader. Their contributions to Darfur, Burma and Tibet are well-known and any amount of glitzy display is not going to cover that up.
    This is not about East vs West you see..that is quite an outdated attitude. It takes quite a bit of clarity to figure out the cards dealt in today’s age. The Chinese have already put their pseudo-communist fangs into Tibet, Burma, North Korea, Nepal etc. and be assured that many of these north-east separatists and communists in India get a great deal of support from there. The Dalai Lama made a mistake by trusting Mao. Indians need to get more practical in their views and identify the risks involved in dealing with certain countries.
    I don’t think the world can be polarized into east and west. In the US and Europe, eastern art and philosophy are given a lot of respect and gaining solid acceptance in the mainstream. It is true that the East is culturally far richer because of their ancient history, but over the years, there has been a tremendous bi-directional exchange which is balancing stuff out.
    So the criticism of the Chinese from the West is based on a complex set of perspectives and not anything against east as a whole. One has to keep in mind that a huge portion, almost a majority of the US and Europe have opposed the Iraq war. So political stereotyping is baseless.

  8. Don’t censure my posts—-if you are touting yourself as a liberal open minded Indian who is modern and all up with the issues of the day.
    Don’t censure because one or two words displease your Western sponsors…..
    Do not criticize the ‘West’ because its trendy, but because its constructive…..and censure those who do.

  9. mani says:

    Hi Mr. Kapur
    Hope you are well. if you happen to be in Beijing for the Olympics and decide to pass by Hkg. Please do let me know.
    I often visit your blog to read your insights and those of your contributors who are such a vibrant and opinionated lot. So I also wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate you in being able to foster a dynamic exchange of opinions through your blog and I really appreciate the lack of censure ship since some posts are directed pointedly against your opinion. I am almost inspired to start blogging too:):). Best Regards
    mani

  10. Koizen says:

    Hurrayyyyyyyy!
    India gets it first Gold medal!!!
    Bravo!!!
    Cheers!!!

  11. Himanshu says:

    I think my post got lost somewhere so posting again
    Dear Shekhar,
    I have deep love for India as well as for America and slowly I am developing great affection for China inspite of the Tibet issue and I also really feel for the Dalai Lama.
    I see the world in this day and age of globalaization as a world beyond borders – where we increasingly move towards free trade and open borders. EU did, NAFTA was a big step, we have ASEAN around us.
    There is great quote about competition:
    “If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.”
    So, I do not see this modern age as one of competition – neither for the employer or employee nor for any country. US sources so much their goods from China and China gets tons of dollars, most of which it invested back in the funds and treasury of the US. The world is increasing becoming multi-polar where all the big players US, China, India, Russia, Brazil, UK, France, Germany will get there say and have niches. I don’t see it as a competition between East or West or between any two cultures. More than anytime else because of so much internet penetration and open electronic media it is time for love and mutual understanding. To export our cultures and accept theirs.
    America has achieved its position by a lot of hard work and openness to immigration and foreign cultures. In the MET when I go to the Indian sections with so many Hindu archelogical artifacts I feel like I am in a temple in India – they are also the most friendly and open people in the world – and no matter what anyone says English is the only language that still unites the world which automatically give US the edge. Yet there edge is the most well deserved in the history of mankind – entrepreneurs working hard to run companies, giving jobs and increasing the per-capita as a whole.
    The media will portray whatever is right for the audience it is targeting – whatever keeps their sponsors happy, whether it’s diapers, medical drugs or Ipods – the customer needs to be shown what they like to see. Whether it’s using Bollywood songs to enhance the effect in India or focusing only on American stories in the US, it is just what is right for the Channel.
    Sure the power equations are changing but America is still so far ahead – not because of their foreign policy, not because they think they are, just coz they create better goods and services – they are the most productive workers who work harder than anyone else on the planet. Sure the economy is supposed to be in recession – but where else in the world could Donald Trump have sold a $100m property during the so called real estate crisis.
    We need to see America as a torch bearer, as our great friend – as a model for worldy success. The Arts will prosper everywhere there will be demand and we’ll see more and more product coming out of Asia and more and more cross cultural experiments. Big companies will increasingly operate in more and more countries – as more and more economies open up. The world of togetherness will be so much better and I truly look forward to that.
    In the end as they say in media “CONTENT IS KING” so who so ever will produce the best content will win the race. It’s the global market and everyone has a chance to prosper here.
    Best Regards,
    Himanshu

  12. r says:

    ‘is china at its heart still a buddhist country?’
    is’nt ‘buddhist’ a philosophy…….? how can it be buddhist if it callously destroys tibet and its buddhist lamas ?
    a case of ‘sau chuhe maar ke billi haj ko chali’?
    while giving china its due for the fantastic display,lets not confuse artistic excellence with any other noble virtues………clever does not always amount to good !

  13. Sir,
    East is East and West is West.
    In my world view East always looked upon West for new technological revealations.
    In the past few years the West has understood the power of human resource and looked towards India and China to support it.
    While China got huge into manufacturing and India with IT.
    The Influence of our ancient history has allowed us to keep up with our ancient Cultures.
    China’s initiative in Beijing Olympics has turned out to be more of an Event management than of any political message.
    They have bespectacled the World of their committment to hold this huge event.
    In my opinion this event may also be read as a marketing of Human resource and its Strength to the entire World. An opportunity a communist country cannot afford to miss.
    Vinod Agarwal – Is Beijing Olympics a Jain Pizza?

  14. brahmastra says:

    Tibet crackdown continues despite Olympics: Dalai Lama
    Agence France-Presse
    Wednesday, August 13, 2008, (Paris)
    The Dalai Lama accused China of pursuing its crackdown in Tibet in spite of the Olympic Games, French lawmakers said following talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
    Asked during a private meeting at the Paris Senate whether China was respecting the “Olympic truce”, the Dalai Lama’s “answer was very clear: no,” said former French justice minister Robert Badinter.
    “While the Games are taking place, the oppression of the Tibetan people and repression continue,” said the opposition lawmaker, who oversaw abolition of death penalty in France.
    The 73-year-old Buddhist leader, who arrived Monday for a 12-day visit to France, “described terrible repression that has not stopped despite the Olympic truce,” added Socialist deputy Jean-Louis Bianco.
    “Since March there have been arrests, executions and a fearsome reinforcement of China’s military presence.”
    He said the Buddhist leader suggested China was planning an “accelerated policy of colonisation, with perhaps a million extra Chinese who would come to occupy Tibet and dilute the Tibetan population.”
    The Dalai Lama’s 90-minute talks with French lawmakers, held in a small room at the Senate rather than a main reception suite, were the only political encounter of a trip that falls squarely during the Beijing Olympics.
    But Roger Karoutchi, secretary of state for relations with Parliament, said in a statement that “President Nicolas Sarkozy of the republic will receive all Nobel peace prize winners, including the Dalai Lama, in Paris on December 10.”
    He did not specify whether the two men would meet face to face. Sarkozy’s office did not confirm plans for a meeting.

  15. Is China at it’s heart still a Buddhist country ?
    very much so, i think.
    Buddhism as i understand it(primitive/originalBudhism, i mean -as Buddha preached it) is all about disciplining the mind in order to get on top of the problems of life.
    The God concept does not figure in prmiitive Buddhism.
    i think it is the entrenched concepts of stoicism and mindcontrol taught by Buddha that made maoism and its supressions possible in China.
    the Chinese people are at heart Buddhists. the political dispensation? – no, but it capitalises on the attitudes of the people shaped by that great religion.
    besides, tradition and culture are things that canot be wished or willed away by a few draconian laws.

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