By Debbie Menon
Years ago, I read Science Fiction prolifically. That was long before most of the technology we use today was developed, yet it was all there in the Sci-Fi world.
One of the critical issues with literature, Sci-Fi or otherwise, is the degree of accuracy with which it presents its characteristics of its heroes as humans, warts, virtues and all, or biased to make the story more saleable. Sci-fi, with all of its fantasy, and incredible technology (for that era) generally held true to human nature. Although the heroes flew about in, and carried things in their holsters we had not yet dreamt of, they were good, bad, frightened, unsure, brave, foolish, fallible and as fragile humans as we are, or
at least the heroes in any other novel literary genre.
Many Sci-Fi writers present a picture of a new future world order in which they staged their epics. A great many of them proposed a world, and outer space, dominated by Asians... basically Chinese, but Asians in general, whose scientific, economic, political and educational development had overwhelmed the rest of the world. In other words, when Earth had finally broken the barriers of space and earthlings vacationed, worked, warred, exploited and asserted themselves into the farthest reaches of the universe; Asians led the movement, in all fields, both on Earth and in Space.
If such seers were so accurate in describing space ships, energy beams, electronics, and so many of the gadgets which we accept today as commonplace, why then should we scorn or ignore their sociological outlook and "prophecy?"
I do not like the way Newsweek Columnist, F. Zakaria writes, or the things he usually writes about, but his article "Does the Future Belong to China?" is right on the money to me. I'll give credit to the support he seems to have had from other writers worldwide, which may be, perhaps, what makes it so good and, in my opinion, prophetic. He writes: "When historians look back at the last decades of the 20th century, they might well point to 1979 as a watershed. That year the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, digging its grave as a superpower. It was also the year that China began its economic reforms. They were launched at a most unlikely gathering, the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held in December 1978. Before the formal meetings, at a working-group session, the newly empowered party boss, Deng Xiaoping, gave a speech that turned out to be the most important one in modern Chinese history. He urged that the regime focus on development and modernization, and let facts-not ideology-guide its path. "It doesn't matter if it is a black cat or a white cat," Deng often said. "As long as it can catch mice, it's a good cat." Since then, China has done just that, pursued a modernization path that is ruthlessly pragmatic and non-ideological. The results have been astonishing. China has grown around 9 percent a year for more than 25 years, the fastest growth rate for a major economy in recorded history. In that same period it has moved 300 million people out of poverty and quadrupled the average Chinese person's income. And all this has happened, so far, without catastrophic social upheavals. The Chinese leadership has to be given credit for this historic achievement. There are many who criticize China's economic path. They argue that the numbers are fudged, that corruption is rampant, that its banks are teetering on the edge, that regional tensions will explode, that inequality is rising dangerously and that things are coming to a head. For a decade now they have been predicting, "This cannot last, China will crash, it cannot keep this up." So far at least, none of these prognoses has come true. And while China has many problems, it also has something any Third World country would kill for-consistently high growth."
We are living in changing times, and the times are changing at an ever increasing exponential rate! With the sheer numbers he cites in his article he spells out the inevitability of this World power, Sooperpower, snooper power, a rose by any other name....we could deny their existence, and say whatever we like, but whenever an elephant moves into your tent he sooner or later, will make his presence known to a degree which becomes hard to ignore. Eventually he, like the Arab's camel, will own the tent.
Neither Chiang Kai-shek nor his nemesis Mao were men of peace, nor were their struggles for power or "Liberation" from foreign powers, or themselves, peaceful. If The PROC has not been in an actual shooting war with the ROC, then the conflict which has existed between them since the late 1940's is about as close to the same thing as you can get without the massive flow of blood. The various reforms which occurred under, and for some time following Mao, were hardly bloodless, and might be regarded by many who did not survive them as the equivalent of war, civil or otherwise.
China has not engaged the rest of the world in military confrontation, colonialist adventurism and wars while establishing itself on the world stage. Perhaps they have learned something from Western History (or the failures of), or the teachings of Confucius. I suspect the latter, for they have not done very well when practicing the forceful and brutal ways of the West.
They are on a roll, and it looks like they will get there, and probably stay there, for some time to come.
Latin was once the language of knowledge in the world. German the language of science and technology; French the language of diplomacy; English the language of business, commerce and power. Today, in most Asian schools, the main Chinese dialects are the languages scholars and leaders of the future are encouraged to study.
The rest of the world, China particularly, will study English, and American English, for the same reason many Americans study Spanish, to facilitate communications with a major non-dominant language speaking consumer/labour sector of the culture in which they live.
They are almost there. I can see the light of the Red Rooster entering the other end of the tunnel now. Stand aside if you do not want to be run down by her as she flashes on through. Ignore her at your own peril. It is the future. The Renminbi will, eventually, replace the dollar and the Euro as the standard of world currency! As F. Zakaria says: "They know how to apply themselves."
About the author: Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. She can be reached at email@example.com.
... Payvand News - 09/12/08 ... --