Thursday, November 6, 2008

America the Beautiful-Isn't democracy a wonderful thing!

Yesterday Rob and I were able to attend the American Chamber of Commerce in South China 2008 U.S. Presidential election party (wow, that was a mouthful). It was quite an event. Surprisingly enough there was at least 20 Chinese people to every 1 American. We expected it to be much different. We learned several interesting facts during our time there. Apparently AmCham and the U.S. Consulate had invited many Chinese university students. However, once the universities caught word of it, mysteriously there arose a number of mandatory meetings for these students. So, despite those mandates, more students than expected attended. Once you walked in the door many free prizes were given out: buttons for each candidate, American flags, AmCham tote bags, and hats that stated “America Votes” (as viewed below). There was also an option for attendees to enter a voting both enclosed by large American flags and cast their vote and receive an “I Voted!” sticker. Welcome to democracy China! Something I regret not getting a photo of was also what I found to be one of the most interesting, but expected, sights; there was the ubiquitous presence of a Communist officer standing in the middle of the room. I figure he was there as a reminder of directive. That’s one thing I’ve learned about the communist government here. They give off an air of allowing the Chinese people freedom to explore different facets of livelihood while keeping the ever-present regulations and parameters controlled completely by the government.
While I ran off to my Chinese language class to hear about my teacher’s beloved “Chairman Mao”, Rob underwent several interviews about who he voted for, why he made that choice, and what he feels would happen. He spoke to me about one particularly well informed or well prepared young lady. She asked him what he felt about Barrack being “black” and how the American people would react if he was elected President. She also asked him about Alan Greenspan and the economic turmoil. This elicited interesting comments from both sides (Rob’s and the Chinese girl’s). Overall, it was mostly just fascinating to observe what was probably many people’s first analysis of a country run by democracy. It made me grateful to live in such a world that these types of events are possible, but even more to be a citizen of a country that allows us such great freedoms and opportunities.
God Bless America!

Rob posing with "Uncle Sam". He's actually a guy from our branch that works for the American consulate.

This is the freebie hat. I know you are all very jealous at how attractive I look in it :)


D Oesterle said...

Love the hat Stef! I do find your blog very entertaining and love to hear your stories about China! Don't drink the milk!

Makana Hansen said...

wow, i never thought of how it would be to live without a demorcratic system. Were most of the people as well-informed as the young lady was? How is your chineese going? We are headed back to Utah this weekend!

Jeppson Clan said...

I love this post for many reasons. Think how well rounded you can tell your future chilluns you are! :)
Miss you.