Twin celebrations of two countries proved a vital link to both our past and future.
The celebration of 70 years of the People’s Republic of China at the SMX convention center was a fitting tribute to the fact that the Chinese governent has lifted practically all of its citizens from poverty in the last twenty years forged a prosperous nation.
There is definitely is much to learn from and about China, with thousands of years of history creating what Martin Jacques calls the civilization state, where Chinese identity and the nature of its statehood lies not in formal declarations but in irs own defi itio of nationhood. He writes in his blog
“For over two millennia, the Chinese thought of themselves as a civilization rather than a nation. The most fundamental defining features of China today, and which give the Chinese their sense of identity, emanate not from the last century when China has called itself a nation-state but from the previous two millennia when it can be best described as a civilization-state: the relationship between the state and society, a very distinctive notion of the family, ancestral worship, Confucian values, the network of personal relationships that we call guanxi, Chinese food and the traditions that surround it, and, of course, the Chinese language with its unusual relationship between the written and spoken form.
The implications are profound: whereas national identity in Europe is overwhelmingly a product of the era of the nation-state – in the United States almost exclusively so – in China, on the contrary, the sense of identity has primarily been shaped by the country’s history as a civilization-state.
Although China describes itself today as a nation-state, it remains essentially a civilization-state in terms of history, culture, identity and ways of thinking. China’s geological structure is that of a civilization-state; the nation-state accounts for little more than the top soil.”
This explanation by a western scholar ought to give us a deeper understanding not only of Chinese economic and domestic policy, but the mind of the Chinese people.
It also compels us to be more understanding of the nature of the chinese state and not simply compare it with other western powers, which it clearly is not. It has never had colonies and never waged war to take territory. Its behavior as a State is very different from the west.
The other country celebrating an anniversary is Japan, which marks 100 years of presence in Mindanao.
Doubtless, the early Japanese settlers saw a lot of potential and harvested many opportunities here in Davao, starting with hemp and coconuts, and now bananas.
Nowadays the lure of a vibrant Davao economy and the opportunities present in it behoove a deeper look, and perhaps a refreshed evaluation by Japanese businesses.
The two day business seminar at the Marco Polo attended by many Japanese companies and Mindanao local governments including Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno gave an insight not only on the maturing peace and order situation and the improving infrastructure.
Apart from this, a film festival next weekend and the exhibit in SM Lanang gives us a glimpse into this rich shared history and point to a bountiful future.
The Japanese state is a constitutional monarchy headed by an emperor. As such, its form of government is very different from many western powers, and Japanese culture, both political and business, is worth exploring.
As we celebrate the anniversaries of these two countries, we definitely realize that we have a lot more to learn about them.