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Arrogance in the Middle Kingdom

April 10, 2017

If you have read any of the recent blogs about the Middle Kingdom, a.k.a., China, you will have noted a common thread and that is the arrogance of "Mainland Chinese" despite how desperate their conditions or situations may be. The author's most extreme realization of that characteristic happened many years ago in a very primitive medical facility in a small Chinese village. One must first recognize a small village in China is anything below the one million population level.

One morning, the author went for a jog in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, slipped in the rain and suffered a severe abrasion. So, a swig of vodka was taken and the rest was poured on the wound. Later in the day at the Holiday Inn Lido in Beijing, a Chinese physician applied a smelly yellow poultice on the wound and said everything would be fine. Now the Holiday Inn shown below may not be the finest hotel or medical facility in the world, but it was the best China had to offer in the early nineties. Most notably the identical rooms were assembled from imported metal containers so you always felt like you had the same room as the previous stay, no matter the room number.

Later the next day, following a flight to Shanghai and a very long car ride to the village of Dongying, the author pushed his sleeve up to discover red streaks running up the injured arm which is an indicator of blood poisoning and sudden death if it reaches your armpit. A rush trip to the emergency room of a Dongying "hospital" was an eye-opener as it was an "armpit" in its own right. The physician kicked off his sandals and walked around the one-room emergency facility barefoot in front of the waiting patients sitting around his desk. His particular diagnosis for the paleface patient was in total contradiction to that prescribed the day before - "Everyone knows foreigners are allergic to the yellow medicine." He then prescribed a medication that was believed to be an antihistamine.
As the TV commercial goes - even though the author had stayed at a Holiday Inn the previous night, he did not feel qualified to practice Chinese medicine. However, he did take an ink pen and draw a line around the top of the red lines on his arm such that, if the peril of blood poisoning moved above that line, some effort could be expended to seek evacuation to civilization somewhere. You should know that Dongying was civilized in that it had a Christian church where some form of last rites could have been performed if required.

Okay, the author has lived and worked in many countries which are predominantly inhabited by "Overseas Chinese" and always found them likeable and sincere people. Therefore, the arrogance predisposition found in China is not an ethnic one. On the other hand, it is a communist defense mechanism needed to suffer through social, political and economic systems that are unfair and totally without logic. Just think about Russia where the author worked for some ten years. Has there ever been any logic to most anything that has happened there since the days of Lenin? Therefore, there is a new definition of "arrogance"- the defense mechanism of the suppressed communist world. For others sharing that trait in a democratic society, let's just call it a similar defense mechanism for personal shortcomings such as ignorance.
Another arrogant position of the Middle Kingdom is their claim to every bit of sand they can possibly stand on and reclaim in the South China Sea. Initially, the China claim over the Spratly Islands was thought to be based upon their views on potential oil deposits as shown below. However, a number of exploration geologists well-known to the author dispute the oil potential, particularly the economics in the current or even longer term, higher oil price environment. Therefore, the reality is China is rapidly moving forward to establish their own chain of protective bases to preclude a sea invasion. Accordingly, their motivation is most likely security as opposed to capturing oil prospective areas.

Moreover, it is ironic when neighboring communist countries of China show an even greater degree of arrogance. A key example of that arrogance is that of Kim Jung-un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a.k.a., North Korea following his recent murder of his half-brother in the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia airport. That action was a bit much for China that serves as the protector of their evil neighbor and they terminated their purchases of coal from North Korea which is the mainstay of the miserable economy of that country. However, it is unlikely that a ban on coal exports to China will bring Kim Jung-un to take a more sensible position in his dealings with the rest of the world. Starvation is a standard spa service in North Korea. Nonetheless, he continues to mushroom in size and everyone fails to admit that "the emperor has no clothes." Further, his dutiful and fearful subjects cannot run the risk of telling him that nothing fits properly and eventually his health conditions will lead to a permanent regime change with or without his half-brother having departed this world.

However, nothing like a good nuclear test, missile launch or family murder to bring out a happy face even though skinny comrades in arms have to support him and applaud his every witty word. Would you believe the author's company once had a project in North Korea? In fact, our corporate motto is "leave no despotic, communist regime untouched" though our work is performed in the pursuit of profit rather than for spiritual reasons.
With this background on "Mainland Chinese" and communist arrogance, a future blog will consider the interactions between China's leader and that of the current leader of the Free World.


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