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Climbing Chinese walls

Chinese walls refer to invisible barriers put between different businesses within the same company because of regulatory requirements. Information must not be exchanged between the two sides.

In real life, we sometimes unintentionally set up Chinese walls between the different compartments in our heads. For example, our heads say it's easy to do, but our bodies stay put. We may also set up walls between ourselves and our friends, our parents, and our neighbours. There are no requirements to do so, but it happens for different reasons.

I grew up as a Chinese in a Chinese family, in an international community, on an American air base, in Japan - picture a set of concentric circles: 1st circle - Chinese family, 2nd circle - a microcosm of the world, 3rd circle- American air base and American school, 4th circle - Japan. To belong and interact harmoniously within each of these circles required a lot of effort. Rather than travelling freely between the circles, it was sometimes easier to set up Chinese walls. As children, we weren't all too happy having to take Chinese lessons. There was always a fear that our pronunciation of Chinese words wasn't good enough. Being Chinese and practising Chinese in a non-Chinese community singled us out. And as children, more than anything, we wanted to blend in.

However, the older I get, the more important being Chinese becomes. I now have to climb over the Chinese walls I have erected, which once allowed me to blend into the different environments I lived, studied, and worked in.

And so, I will set up a new section on my site, dedicated to being Chinese.

22 September 2002 Sunday

Courtesy of 保重! 区保罗
Qi Journal Chinese culture
Ocrat Animated Chinese characters in both simplified and traditional
Purdue site Audio survival Chinese
Zhong Wen Says it all. A huge site.
Harvard's Pinyin Chinese pronunciation guide
VOA Study Chinese using Voice of America
Wellgot Multi-language learning resource
Wenlin Institute mainly a plug for a pretty powerful learning program
China Page Enough about Chinese culture to keep you occupied for months
Mike's Chinese Page An impressive array of resouces and links
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