龙年元旦: Thoughts on why not to hate [Dashan or Chinese students]

I’ve been thinking about the three poisons (ignorance, attachment, and aversion), but especially about aversion because we frequently cite aversion as a reasonable response to the world as we find it. When we look to explain aversion, we shift attention from whether or not aversion itself is a problem to the question: is our aversion justified or not?

Consider, for example, the quora question, “Why do so many Chinese learners seem to hate Dashan (Mark Rowswell)?” Mark Roswell provided a succinct analysis of why westerners feel aversion toward Dashan:

“In short, the reasons seem to be as follows:

1) Overuse – people are sick and tired of hearing the name Dashan;

2) Resentment (Part A) – Dashan’s not the only Westerner who speaks Chinese fluently;

3) Resentment (Part B) – Being a foreign resident in China is not easy and Dashan gets all the breaks;

4) Political/Cultural – People wish Dashan had more of an edge;

5) Stereotyping – The assumption that Dashan is a performing monkey.

Yes, yes, and yes. But. If we’re giving our time and energy to figuring out why we hate Dashan, then we’re not giving or time and energy to (1) finding ways of politely acknowledging a conversational gambit and then adroitly changing the topic to one of common interest; (2) working through our own ego investments in speaking Chinese well: ‘Why,’ we wonder, ‘aren’t the Chinese complimenting moi?’; (3) being happy for someone else’s good fortune; (4) being the critical change we want to see in the world in general and China in particular, and; (5) becoming more proactive in our own lives. Continue reading