More than 100 years ago, western cannons blew open China's closed doors and we began to study things western. Since the beginning of reforms and opening up to the outside world we have seen an influx of western culture and lifestyles. When confronted with various new things we often go through a process from feeling lost to careful selection and gradual adoption. We yearn to be strong and prosperous and we feel the need to become part of world community yet at the same time we worry that in the process we'll lose ourselves and so we feel again the need to promote our national culture. At weddings, we deck ourselves out in western suites and bridal veils and than sit around the most traditional of round tables and eat and make merry 'till our sides split. Every New Year we hope for good fortune, riches and happiness. We greet and revere the God of Wealth. It seems we are the nationality most intent on getting rich in the world. We have developed rapidly and we now have money. Our concept of self-identity has been strengthened. We yearn for and pursue a new kind of happiness and with it come the beautiful but impure flowers and the insects that fly toward their scent. Time has changed, life has changed and things are getting better and better. The city is more and more beautiful, transport more and more convenient and green areas and trees have been planted. These are all things that our leaders have directed and so they often take the time from their busy schedules to go to worksites and guide the work and show the importance they place in it all. It's a fine picture. We are thinking about protecting the environment, housing, cars and travel. We have nightlife too. We are in the process of linking up with the western world. What the west has, we must have. What the west lacks we must also have. Our lives are sweeter than honey.

Ji Wenyu 2000.8