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上海财经大学李梦颖:Perfecting the Art of Cultural Coexistence
来源:21英语网  时间:2012-04-17 17:27

李梦颖:上海财经大学选手,第17届21世纪杯全国英语演讲比赛二等奖获得者。

自我介绍:我叫李梦颖,来自美丽的江城安徽芜湖,如今就读于上海财经大学,本专业为劳动与社会保障,第二专业为金融学。我喜爱音乐,尤其喜欢唱歌,大二时期我将这份喜爱化为勇气,参加了校园十大歌手比赛,于是留下了大学阶段最难忘的回忆之一;我喜欢读书,最爱的是梭罗的《瓦尔登湖》,正是受这本书的影响,我相信每个人都应该保持自身的独特性,找到一种最适合自己的生活方式并坚持到底;我喜欢英语,最喜欢读与说,享受优美的字符在唇齿间流动的感觉,曾经的一位老师说这是我应该珍惜的上帝给予的礼物,我想,如果以后我能用音乐与英语这两份礼物为自己与他人带来愉悦与满足,或许这就是最适合我的生活方式吧。

演讲稿:

Good afternoon everyone!

As we all know, there is much more interaction occurring between we Chinese and Westerners these days. They now live and work all across our land and we, more than ever before, are venturing abroad to study in their schools and to travel across their lands. The level and intensity of these interactions being so high and also so new, it is natural that cultural conflicts abound. I, for example, know of many Chinese students who find their Western counterparts arrogant because of their approach to classes. And I have heard that Westerners find us hypocritical, as we won’t voluntarily answer teachers’ questions even when we are certain that we know the right answer. There is no denying the differences, but we most certainly don’t need to let these little things drive us to such madness that we would actually clash. Far from it. What we need to do is to perfect the art of coexistence, which is what I want to share with you today.

One important quality that is necessary is tolerance. Westerners are not going to come to understand all the nuances of our culture quickly, if ever. And so we must not fly off the handle when our preferred approach is not taken by them. For example, in business, we Chinese value “relationships” a lot while Westerners prioritize rules and time. So, if a Western company wants to skip lunch and get down to business, we must be reasonably tolerant of the approach. Dealing with this may result in a period of cognitive dissonance, but that will be short lived, and the long-term benefit is greater capacity for us to adapt to and thrive in this world. Furthermore, if we are tolerant, we can also find many moments to impart our culture. Opportunities abound. Even conversations on dragons can be used. While Westerners have grown up regarding dragons as symbols of evil, we think we are descendents of dragons. As a result, their words may inadvertently cause us pain. If we are intolerant of their articulating this stance, we will not be able to use the moment to delve with them into an examination of culture in a way that will deepen their understanding and respect for us.

The other important quality is vigilance against subordination and abuse. This is tricky, as abuse is not always overt. For example, we often use English monikers to facilitate business and communication. And it may achieve that goal, but at what cost? Think of all the Chinese youths who now feel that English names are better as they are trendy and popular. How can we allow and engender such loathing of the names given us by our parents. And many Westerners, in fact, call us by English names only because that is how we introduce ourselves to them. And those few who aren’t willing to learn our real names should be disabused of their colonialist attitudes. I mean, is it really that far from “No Chinese names allowed in our company” to “No Chinese or dogs allowed”. We are strong now! So let’s not grovel and beg for their business. Let’s use our real names, tolerate any resultant errors in pronunciation, and thus create a balanced coexistence. Surely, this is preferable to allowing their continued looting of our names as they did the treasures at Yuanmingyuan. In short, we must welcome western ideas that enrich our land, but we must resist the subordination so anathema to coexistence.

So, these are the tools of coexistence: tolerance and vigilance. With these, we canharmonize competing cultural pulls, lower the risk of cultural domination and also bring to all a more elevated level of civilization. So, let’s endeavor to attain this sublime balance, as doing so will protect our country and bring benefit to all the world’s people! Thank you!