Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 13 December 2006
Thursday, 14 December 2006 02:17

Internet and Asia’s “We” generation

Newsweek, in a recent issue, has coined the term “We” generation for describing how part of the Asia youth now involves itself into public action, NGOs or charities, rather than putting all its effort in making money. Environment, humanitarian crises, as well as help to children and to marginalized communities are fields in which much creativity and generosity are displayed, be it in Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal or even China, among other countries.

The phenomenon should not be exaggerated. The “We” generation is still muddling, and not yet through. Activists are a minority. Consumerism, individualism and materialism remain the dominant values, not only in Asia but throughout the world. However, there might be indeed a shift happening from the private realm to the public one, a new sense of belonging and of collective responsibility. If this is confirmed, this is indeed very good news.

Two features are specific to Asia’s “We” generation:
- The first one is its pragmatism. Causes and project are selected not out of a predetermined ideological outlook but rather from a sense of urgency, contacts with friends or sheer spirit of discovery. Such pragmatism also means that young Asian activists are better equipped than their predecessors for making sense and sensibility part of the same equation – to be generous is not enough, you’ve got to be reflexive; and to be reflexive is not of much use if you are not able to mobilize our generosity and your capacity to act.
- The second characteristic lies in the way networking happens through the use of Internet tools. Internet is not only about escapism and the search for a “second life”, it is also about linking together groups working within the real world into a virtual community. Such community of thinkers and activists feels empowered by the sharing of stories and experiences that enables it to go from the local to the global, from the global to the local, in an ongoing sharing that gives more dimension and impact to the grassroots projects that the participants are involved into.

This is the surge of such a spirit that eRenlai tries to foster and exemplify. While building eRenlai, its promoters have been focusing on the new social and cultural trends that shape Asia’s youth involvement into the debates and actions of today. The interchange between the youth of China and Taiwan and the one of other countries is crucial for asserting the role that the Chinese world will play in mapping humane development, better governance and sustainability at the global level. May eRenlai play its own modest role in this giant endeavor.


Thursday, 14 December 2006 02:13

Encounter at Shanghai International University

On December 5, 2006, I was invited to give a talk for around 100 students of Shanghai University. The discussion that followed continued late in the evening. The occasion was the exhibit that these students had organized all by themselves on the Yangjuan primary school (One of their classmates, He Yanni, had served in the school for two summers.) The exhibit was not concentrating on the harshness of mountain environment and living conditions, it was rather a hymn to the creative power of the children and a tribute to cultural exchange between people coming from different horizons, people who learn to become friends and cherish this hard won friendship. The students had worked tirelessly for giving a soul to the big university hall where the exhibit was taking place, beautifying it through the paintings of the Yangjuan children, a set of black and white photographs and a huge glass window made from one of the children’s artworks.

The talk I gave afterwards had to oscillate between different directions, so diverse were the questions raised during the preparation: how did I discover Liangshan prefecture and Yangjuan village, how did I become immersed in Chinese and then in Yi culture, what makes Yi culture so special, how could students participate in such projects? I chose to share stories, big tales, and small dramas, trying to recapture the collective mood during a healing ritual, the tempo of the school’s construction and the obstacles that were surging on the way, the hopes and fears of the youth bow trying to find a job in the city, the feelings of the volunteers discovering a world that was not theirs…

Questions, as is now often the case in Chinese universities, were numerous and on the point. They were emblematic of a generation who wants to see with its own eyes, make its own experience, and make use of the means now at its disposal (computers, knowledge of foreign languages, accrued financial capability, contacts) for creating something that bears their mark. How can NGOs work develop in the peculiar context of Chinas? What is to be preserved of minorities’ cultures and how to discern with them on the changes that are truly necessary? How can foreign and Chinese students work together and how to enhance the specific contribution that China can make to the region and to the world? Is it truly possible to go beyond one’s cultural viewpoint and to enter into another people’s worldview and experience? These were some of the issues that we discussed together that evening.

This was for me a living illustration of a phenomenon for which Newsweek has coined the term “the We” generation” – Lee Li-chun discusses the issue elsewhere in this website. It is not true that Chinese youth focuses only on money and individual achievement. On the contrary, the rise of collective issues is conspicuous and truly impressive. Social fairness and the environment are prominent on the list. The surge of such a spirit is something we we all need to encourage and foster. In any case, let us be confident that Chinese youth is ready to take in charge the destiny of its country with much more determination, sense of collective responsibility and concern for global challenges that most of us dared to foresee not so long ago.

Attached media :
Thursday, 14 December 2006 01:29




Les ramillles s’étirent
la peur décoiffée transparaît
l’encre colorée l’illumine



la poussée du bois
la danse de l’eau
réveil des formes




l’âme trouve sa consistance
dans les traces du corps

transparence du temps

【圖 笨篤】

{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/stories/erenlai_cover_small/video_wind.jpg|}media/articles/Agathe_01.swf{/rokbox}

Help us!

Help us keep the content of eRenlai free: take five minutes to make a donation


Join our FB Group

Browse by Date

« June 2020 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          

We have 4109 guests and no members online