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Chinese Hysterics

obama gum


I've never been to mainland China, but was completely amused at all the press attention our respective leaders received yesterday. First, the Chinese are offended that Obama was chewing his Nicorette gum, which the American public is used to seeing. The President was an avid smoker before entering the White House, and I have no doubt he will resume the habit once he's out of the White House. In the interim, he tries to curb his cravings with this gum. I assume his desire for a cigarette is at its highest during stressful events, like yesterday, when he is on the world stage. But, I'm most amused, and confused, that the Chinese censored Putin putting the shawl on the wife of the Chinese President. Why??

Last night, when I was watching the news, I heard several American commentators call Putin's act "noble" and "gentlemanly". Why did the Chinese consider his act censor worthy? I don't know who would ever want to enter politics in today's age, where almost every single moment of your life is put on display, and analyzed by social media, body language experts....the list is endless. Politicians - they are still humans. Some good, some bad, some evil. I think the public sometimes loses sight of this.

Who knows a lot about Chinese culture? Explain this situation to me. I have no interactions with the Chinese in my lawyer life, or thus far in my travel life. Now I'm very curious to explore the customs and culture of this mysterious land...because they seem very unique and quite formal. The opposite of American culture, and I'm always attracted to the strange and unusual. In travel and almost all aspects of life.


Nov. 12th, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
As far as I understand, the relationship between Chinese president and his wife (who was a famous folk singer) is public and they are frequently shown as romantic couple. Putin putin' a shawl on his wife undercuts his carefully groomed images as a caring husband. There were lots of jokes about that already, so they decided to censor it.

It's communism - so it's natural. Even when I was a kid (early 80-s) I remember my father telling me never to tell any jokes I hear at home at school. Back then one could get in a lot of trouble or even to jail over a political joke told to friends. And during Stalin's times, a political joke would get you life in prison or death by a firing squad. I'm not kidding. This is the nature of a communist dictatorship, and even though it's relatively soft in China, it's still what it is.

Though I dislike Obama very much, I can't seriously hold a chewing gum against him. I wish it would be the worst thing he's done. However I understand why people are talking about it. Chewing gum at a public event is considered in most places an uncultured and rude thing to do. I'm sure in China too. So at the official event it supports the exact "rude, uncultured and arrogant American" stereotype that an American president should avoid. Definitely not a good behavior for the president. Basically he's saying to the world "I don't have enough will to hold off my cravings until a bathroom break, so the hell with social conventions". Basically he's reinforcing an image of a weak president - worst thing he could do really. I sympathize with his problem, but he has a duty to project a strong and civilized image, and this weakens it.
Nov. 12th, 2014 06:08 pm (UTC)
I understand the uproar over the gum chewing and agree it's usually viewed as not polite, or downright rude, in formal business situations. I think it's the same even in America. Obama is constantly shooting himself in the foot, doing stupid things like this, or taking actions which further damage his image. So, who do you think would be a good Presidential candidate in 2016?
Nov. 12th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'm not an expert in American politics, but I see none. It's going to be the choice of a lesser evil, as it often is. I'm on the side of republicans on my political views but I don't see any worthy candidate there at all, that has charisma and popular enough. So I'm afraid that if democrats nominate Hillary - she's going to win despite Obama's catastrophic performance. People know her, she's an experienced politician (much more so than Obama) and now that America had its first black president (which is the only good thing from electing Obama IMO) it might be ready to have a first woman president. Not a good perspective, considering what democrats are doing (and not doing, which seems to be the trend).

Republicans have to find someone young enough (with all my respect for McCain as a person and a hero - he was too old), popular enough, has charisma, and is Christian. It was so dumb to nominate a Mormon when your electoral base are good Christians who consider Mormons an abomination. Many Evangelists needed a special permission form their leader even to be able to vote - they proclaimed Mormons temporarily not an enemies of the church or something like that :-) Ouch.

With the evolution of democracy steadily turning to stagnation and degradation, politicians become amorphous, populist and incompetent. All over the western world there are no new leaders of the same class as Churchill, Thatcher, Regan, Kennedy etc. No true leaders with values. Unless republicans find a good candidate, Hillary will probably be your next president... Which might not be too bad - anything's better than Obama...
Nov. 12th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
The next election will definitely be interesting, and you are 100% correct about the Republican party. They must find a more progressive, younger candidate, or I believe they will be dead in the water. I have no idea who this person is, honestly. They have a lot of work to do. I'm not sure if America is ready for a female President...we will wait and see. :)
Nov. 12th, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC)
Well, unless republicans find a leader that will capture the hearts of millions instantly, people will vote for a familiar face...


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