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From Tokyo to Shanghai – Reflections

Shanghai, May 12, 2013

Been to Shanghai numerous times before but coming from Tokyo does give it a different perspective altogether. The moment I stepped onto the China Eastern Airlines flight this morning, it was a completely different world; the big sloppy bags, the chaotic movements, the noises, the pushy encounters….

I often find myself vulnerable in such a settings. “When in Rome, do what the Romans do!”. So have we been taught by our ancestors. Gosh! Forgive me but I am dumb enough to never graduate from the pushy institution of China. My Chinese share of genes must be way weaker than the Vietnamese one. Chinese mainlanders never seem to be tired of being pushy, pushy to get off the flight, pushy to get ahead in the customs lines, pushy to get a good space at the conveyor belt, pushy to quickly get out of the airport…. Why the rush? Isn’t life worth appreciating? But hang on! Getting somewhere in the future seems to be all that matters now and it does get rewarded with a prize, instant happiness. Life for them is like a scratch card. You may get lucky today. If not, you just keep scratching till you pass out, without a distant idea why it has to be that miserable on earth….

It hurts to see money, status, and power take over the world. It hurts to see millions if not billions of souls lost in the search for impermanent, illusional gains. And though the teaching of ‘loving kindness’ could easily be comprehended, walking the whole nine yards can never be a mission accomplished. Keep walking, myself!

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