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  • Writer's pictureYiming Sun

EAS thinking

Updated: Nov 13

At the end of this semester, I reviewed the question of why I’d like to minor in East Asian studies at U of T even though I already have a finance and eco specialist. My original purpose is to understand the East from the western perspective and to find the beauty of Chinese culture and multiculturalism. As a girl who has spent 15 years in China and 5 years in Canada, I am looking for commonalities and uniqueness in contrast and denial of culture studies. I liked this sentence

as a child: "The happiest thing in life is to transform the beauty created by one country into the beauty of the whole world, which is the joy of the whole world." In China, my family actually taught me cultural confidence and critical thinking, as sinocentialism became a broad consensus after China was invaded after decades, I went abroad and tried to learn it from a more comprehensive perspective. Just as Yang Ah Ham shows in Invisible Clothes, no mirror can reflect the whole picture of people, I’d like to find out what is the real beauty of Chinese culture and how foreign countries see China without blind spots. Under the influence of Western Eurocentrism after the colonial era, I found the contradiction between particularity and universality: Western countries did not recognize and admit the particularity of eastern culture, but took it as an object to contrast and shape Western culture, so the “East” became the East in imagination. But in fact, the West does not question whether its own science and moral principles apply to other countries and does not query its own particularity in this orientalism. This Western morality is like nuclear radiation in Don't Follow the Wind, you can't see it, but you can't deny it doesn't exist. Just as the definition of “East Asia” is transforming through time, such intrusion into reality makes events in space have opinions and positions, becoming the concept of a thing in time now. Moreover, animals and

machines have faces, but only people have clothes. Are clothes an embodiment of culture, whether they are subjectively wanted to wear or objectively imposed? People's craze for pursuing fashion and the vagueness of objectivity is just like Japan under the nuclear attack of Chim Pom, hovering between victims and imperial colonists. After learning this course, I have a deeper understanding of the insignificant but profound things shown in life, as well as a deeper perception of subjectivity, space, geography, time and history. As I think about museums, I find that museums exhibitions in China or Japan etc., are divided by dynasties, while western museums are divided by AD. Take ROM as an example. The museum of Eastern and Western collections will not display things from different countries in the same period together. Instead, it divided them into different areas with clear geographical boundaries when looking at history. In addition, nowadays museums do not allow the public to discover the full meaning of the exhibits. It basically only introduces in listening and watching methods. The method of education and appreciation is not clear, and the subjectivity is vague.

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