Globalization: enough is enough?
My grandpa was among the first group of English teachers sent to Australia by the Chinese government in the 1980s, when our country first opened its door. Off the plane, a hospitable Australian taxi driver asked him, “Where are you going today?” “Where to die?” My grandpa was shocked. With very limited access to authentic English, he had no idea of the Australian pronunciation for the word “today”.
My mom was much luckier in the 1990s when she went to college. She had recorded tapes of BBC and VOA news to listen to. When she stepped on the soil of England, she was much more confident. The first day after arrival, hungry and tired after a long flight, and with a Chinese stomach longing for hot food and drink, her only wish was to have a big breakfast. The British waitress approached her asked with a British accent completely comprehensible to her well trained ear, “Madam, would you like a Continental breakfast or an English breakfast?” Well, the European continent is much bigger than England, so must be the breakfast. She responded: “Continental Breakfast, please.” The waitress took the order and Mom was very satisfied about herself until she discovered the tiny breakfast of cold milk and iced juice, instead of fried bacon and also fried sausages.
I went to an American university for a summer program last year. After watching a movie, I decided to take a bus back to my apartment. However the bus didn’t arrive as scheduled. After waiting for about 20 minutes in the darkness, I was very uneasy and also scared. I stood there, staring into the direction which the bus should come from. But there was no bus but a street singer singing some unknown songs with his noisy guitar. The wind brought a feeling of chill, and as more and more stores closed and fewer and fewer people passed by, I couldn’t help shivering in the cold darkness. Suddenly, a piece of familiar music flowed into my ear. It was the best-known Chinese folk song: the Jasmine Flower! He was playing the Jasmine Flower with his guitar. Automatically, I tuned my Chinese ears to the familiar and nostalgic melody, with my heart warmed and my eyes wet. He played that music again and again until the bus came and I went aboard .
From strangeness, misunderstanding to cross cultural resonance, it takes three generations. The driving force behind the change is globalization, which offers opportunities for cultures to meet, to break down barriers between countries, and to bring peoples together. When the Chinese folk song played by an American street singer got me through coldness and fear, I also came to realize that intimate connection brought about by globalization and also cross cultural resonance can also help the world get through difficulties and disputes.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you would ask me whether globalization is enough, I will definitely say “no”. Globalization is a powerful force available to us, enabling people to communicate, to help, and to warm, just like what the American street singer did to me at that cold and dark night.