Thursday, December 04, 2008

Questions I'll Answer

Well, I'm here in Guangzhou at Jinan University, in the midst of a two-day visit to the Management School. Once again, an incredibly warm welcome...complete with a "life-sized" banner.

And once again, it is the students who are stealing the show...This time with their unintentionally direct questions.

Bu now, I've become accustomed to being asked, at the close of my lectures, who I voted for in the presidential election. After I finished answering today, my host professor spoke up, in effect apologizing for the fact that I had to speak publicly to an issue that is normally treated as private in the United States. (Later on, the student who posed the question reiterated the apology, noting that she had no idea such information might be considered a personal matter.)

My response? Mei shier. No problem. I am happy to answer the question. And more to the point...This is why I'm here...To hopefully, in small ways, foster understanding across American and Chinese cultures. In this particular instance, I was the teacher. But, in many others, it is I who is the learner.

And then came another question...

What is your opinion about abortion?

I answered that one, too. In a year of many firsts, that was certainly an unexpected (but not unwelcome) new experience...



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