Chinese Perspectives of the Japanese earthquake: Moral and Ethnic Conflicts of the Controversy

Recently, most of people are very concerned about the last 9.0 magnitude earthquake happened on March 11th 2011 in Japan. This catastrophic earthquake continues to cause damage with blackouts, fire, tsunami waves and nuclear disaster. Most of people are sympathetic and give blessings to Japan. This earthquake also brings an “oral earthquake” between segments of the Chinese people who have different opinions and attitudes toward Japan. Morally, most of the Chinese people care about Japanese victims and offer support verbally and materially; however, there are a number of Chinese that feel indifference to this disaster and even believe this is a disserved punishment to Japan.

Those indifferent Chinese people are in favor of the idea that Japan doesn’t deserve Chinese sympathy and respect because of the long-term ethnic conflicts. They point out the fact that the Japanese committed heinous acts of evil during the brutal 1937 Japanese invasion of China and created painful memories to Chinese people that will last forever. During the Nanking Massacre Japanese invaders killed more than three hundred thousand common people, including old women and babies. Japanese invaders also used Chinese victims to do biochemical tests just like animals. They also argue that the Japanese government tries to rewrite history textbooks to deny what Japanese invaders did to Chinese people. Furthermore, they are angry that some Japanese leaders visit the Yasukuni Shrine, a place to memorialize the dead Japanese invaders as heroes. Compared to the number of victims who were killed by the Japanese, many Chinese people think what Japan are suffering is well deserved. Naturally, they don’t want to give hands or condolences while Japan is in trouble.

However, other people stand on a different ground. They consider it is immoral and lacking sympathy to Japan. They think the past is history. Chinese certainly can learn something from history, but they can’t always stay in the past because the world is changing. There is an example of relating to this argument: Japan offered professional support and help during the Sichuan May 12th earthquake. When the Japanese rescuers were unable to save one living victim in time because of debris flow came after the earthquake, they felt really sad and sorry. Moreover, some Chinese people think they can’t bring the ethnic emotions into a natural disaster. No matter which country it is, in front of natural disasters, all humans should come together as whole and each life needs to be respected. Since the Chinese government has provided humanitarian assistance to Japan, as Chinese citizens, we should be more generous about the past.

There are some truths in both arguments. However, I also prefer the most second argument: it is irrational to express hatred on the common Japanese people. When I saw the scenes of the Japanese earthquake which seems to happen in disaster movies, I couldn’t control my emotions and keep on crying. I could feel the same as I was one of those helpless victims experiencing the fear of death and the desire to live. All the best wishes and mental support come from my heart naturally and strongly. I don’t agree with those who refuse to help Japan overcome the disaster, based on Japanese painful relationship with China. It is not a patriotic act at the time. We can’t forecast the next natural disaster when and where will happen. Maybe someday, we will become victims. And if others also show unfeeling attitudes toward us, it is much scarier than a natural disaster since humans are losing their basic moral values. In recent years, varieties of natural disasters make people feel insecure as if the movie comes true. In such a situation, the whole world should come together to tide over difficulties. We have to admit that natural disasters are unavoidable, but the wars can be prevented. What my hope is that Japan can solve all issues successfully and timely. Finally, I wish the whole world will become a better place and peaceful.

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Top English universities in Montreal

McGill and Concordia are well recognized to the world as two of the top Canadian universities. Both of them are famous English universities in Montreal, a French-speaking city in the province of Quebec. Under the Charter of the French Language passed in 1977’s, children of Canadian citizens, especially those who lived in the province of Quebec, were mandatory to attend publicly funded French school in the past. Even so, due to increasing popularity and demand in English language, more and more new generations of Quebecois, residents from other provinces and international students are attracted to either McGill or Concordia. Obviously, it is hard to make a choice between two great universities in the same city; in fact, McGill and Concordia have their own strengths and weaknesses respectively in the different subsets: McGill has a richer historical background, whereas Concordia has much more energy and development potential; also, both of them have specific areas of expertise and educational practices.

Concordia University, located in the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Montreal, is one of Canada’s most innovative and diverse universities of which English is the primary language of instruction. The main downtown campus of Concordia, called Williams campus, is composed of six separate buildings on different streets, which resembling commercial office buildings from the outside. The Molson building (MB) is the newest building, and is the dynamic green centre of Concordia University. The architecture is incorporating with bright atrium, modern classrooms and several networking spaces and was built in with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Requirement. Even though there are no beautiful nature views out of the windows, I can feel a power pushing me to work hard when I study in such an environment. Apart from this, downtown concordia also has several tunnels, which links its neighborhood buildings to the metro. Thanks to Concordia University, it is very convenient for students to walk through underground tunnels without any hazard during the winter season. As a newly developed university, Concordia has a shorter history when compared to McGill. However, the growth of Concordia, which might still be unknown toward outsiders, is rapidly changing in recent years. Concordia University is now rated as one of the top 10 Canadian comprehensive universities. Furthermore, John Molson School of Business, the business faculty of Concordia, is one of the leading business schools in the world. According to the Corporate Knights School Ranking in 2009’s, Concordia MBA program ranked third in Canada and was ranking first in Quebec. The Economist on the other hand has ranked JMSB MBA program in the top 100 worldwide and the top 50 in North America in 2010’s.

Unlike Concordia, McGill has a notably history and cultural story, and the style of downtown campus is more traditional and ancient. If McGill is like a senior full of knowledge and wisdom, Concordia is like a youth that full of innovation and passion. McGill, which is one of the oldest universities in Canada, was founded in 1821. Its main campus stands at the foot of Mount Royal. Seen from a distance, the urban campus looks like a magnificent castle. Even I, a Concordia student cannot stop my feet from walking through this campus and enjoy its unique atmosphere. McGill not only has a beautiful study environment but also has had top ranking. As early as the fifties, McGill University, University of Toronto and Queen’s University were called the Canadian Ivy league. However, in the past few years, the rankings of McGill have been unstable. Despite the unstable ranking, McGill medicine faculty is still considered one of the best and is well recognized by many nations. For example, Andrew victor Schally and David Hubel are two of the many great graduated medics from McGill. Even today, McGill University still has a leading position in the cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and AIDS research fields at a world-class level. Royal Victoria Hospital, which is the affiliated hospital of McGill, is one of the largest Canadian general hospitals. Doctor Norman Bethune once worked in this hospital. In addition, McGill law and HEC business faculties also have high rankings.

There is no absolute standard to define which school is better. In short, Concordia fulfills with passion and innovation, whereas McGill demonstrates a sense of elegance and sophistication. Personally, I think one good university is where students not only acquire professional skills, but also allow one to growth from within.

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Cabane à sucre

Around from late February to early May, perhaps the best known activity in Quebec is eating hot maple taffy off fresh snow which is also called “cabane à sucre”. “Cabane à sucre” is a sugar house which is most of the time family owned. Usually it is less than a day’s trip if you live near Montreal. I have been to two different sugar houses; one beside Mont Tremblant, and the other in southern Montreal, both very impressive. During these two trips, I have learned that these festivals are not only a staple of Quebec culture, but also have its own historical meanings.

The old, near-backwoods, warm environs are the reason that makes the tourists from everywhere in the world to come and keeps the Quebecor families going to the small, authentic sugar shacks every winter. There are hundreds of sugar houses in Quebec. Many families and guests gather together to celebrate and enjoy the sweet treats that are offered to you as soon as you enter. My first experience at “cabane à surce” was with Concordia student union. Everyone seemed so excited and curious about what was going to happen on the trip. When we arrived, the sugar house keepers were very warm and kind to us. Traditional “cabane à sucre” cuisine is rich in ham, bacon, sausages, eggs and pork rinds. Still, many operators have begun varying their menus to satisfy target markets such as vegetarians, Muslims and Jews. Many varieties of dishes with maple syrup and also many other breakfast type dishes were served. After dinner, there were many outdoor activities. We rode on sleighs, visited maple woods and learned how to make maple syrup. Sugar makers drilled a small hole into the trunk, collected the sap from maple trees and then boiled it down to maple syrup inside the sugar house. The most popular activity that everyone loved was making maple syrup taffy. Firstly, sugar makers poured hot maple syrup in a line on a patch of clean snow. After a few seconds, we rolled maple syrup taffy around with our sticks that where provided to us by an employee. After just a few seconds it was ready to eat. There was also a sugar house store which sold all kinds of fresh maple syrup products which we purchased as gifts before leaving.

In the Canadian culture, a real sugar shack fare is warm and makes us think back to a time when winter survival was a serious obstacle. It was a very important nutrition source at the time. Firstly, maple syrup is a healthy sustainable food production. Pure maple syrup has no fat and is a good source of some essential elements that come from nature. The popularity of maple syrup shows that Canadians have some healthy dietary habits. Secondly, this festival brings excitement after the long and boring winter season. This festival is a symbol to Canadians because it symbolizes the cold winter leaving and that summer is not too far away. When you go to sugar houses, you can automatically read the happiness and energy off everyone’s faces. Finally, the most important thing is that maple syrup has cultural significance. During the American civil war and World War II, Maple syrup was one of the main sources of energy and nutrition for soldiers. This is part of the reason why maple leaves come to symbolize Canada. It is well known that red maple leaves are the symbol of independence, unity and dignity in Canada.

“cabane à sucre” is not only commerce but also a bridge to help people know the Canadian traditions much better. After that trip, people can feel Canadians’ positive life attitude and their kind personalities. Till this day I still miss the kindness of the people and their tasty sugar treats.

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