Culture Shock- A lesson in Identity
Culture Shock 文化冲击
Stephy Chung’s documentary “Culture Shock – Chinese Americans in China” (found below), brings to light important questions about identity and citizenship in a rapidly changing world. In this documentary, four young American-born-Chinese professionals share their experiences and struggles since moving to Beijing. Each had moved to China in hopes of using their dual identity to take advantage of new economic opportunities, often mystifying their parents who made the opposite journey years before.
Stephy Chung的纪录片“文化冲击 – 美籍华人在中
These American born Chinese or ABCs occupy a unique place in both Chinese and American societies. Rather than being simply Chinese or American, they bridge both cultures, speaking both languages and adopting social norms from both American and Chinese civilization.
This mixed identity, which many of the participants struggled with during their upbringing in the US, quickly becomes an asset in China. They are better able to navigate the different social norms and language compared to other immigrants.
Best of Both Worlds 两全其美
Diane, one of the participants, talks about how ABCs are held to higher standards than their Chinese counterparts. They supposed to bring together the best of both worlds; the opportunities and education of the West and traditional Chinese values and ethics.
They represent the synthesis of two very different systems of behavior, tradition and custom, a creation valued more highly than each individual part.
New Identities and Biculturalism 新的身份和双重文化
With the economic downturn and reverse migration, it appears America no longer has a monopoly as the “Land of Opportunity”, which has long been a core of the American identity. Since, China’s huge economy and growing opportunities attracting so many young professionals, there undoubtably is a new player on the world stage, economically and politically.
It is clear that this changing landscape needs business and cultural leaders who can skillfully navigate a diverse global civilization that includes both American and Chinese values.
Not all of us are raised with the advantages that ABCs have, but we can learn from them. We should strive to become, in the words of Baidu’s Kaiser Kuo, “bicultural”. Rather than define ourselves only as with an American or Chinese identity, we ought to think as global citizens and seek out what each culture offers.