Bu Ming Bi: It basically means “It’s not clear” and it was the phrase I repeated most during my stay in China. I went there without much notice, and I’ve never studied Mandarin. I’m pretty good at charades, and I’m no stranger to strange places, so I wing it with confidence.
There is a general belief that if you want to create change and opportunity, and you can’t start from the top, you go to the bottom. If you can’t get your current leaders to reconsider routines, you must open the minds of the young. I understand that, and I agree with it, but I really don’t like it.
I wrestle with this logic because I want to believe that the people at the top actually do care. I want to believe that people do the best they can based on their education and experience, but the truth of it is that many don’t even brush the surface of ‘best they can’ because it interferes with a self-serving agenda. I’m not suggesting that this is a problem specific to China. It’s a human affliction. Our U.S. political system, and the influence of corporate greed on that system, keeps many of our leaders from doing the ‘best they can’.
Challenging the status quo is uncomfortable and inconvenient. To say that you don’t agree, or that the current situation is unacceptable can be scary. For some, it’s dangerous. As humans it’s our right, and our responsibility, to practice this protest. A willingness to educate and act is our only hope. It takes varying degrees of courage, or exasperation, to do this. If we continually exercise the courage to speak out about the small injustices, we may spare ourselves the exasperation of the larger ones that inevitably develop when we sit quietly by.
I’m no warrior, but I work hard to hold a steady ground. I’m generally unwilling to be bullied, or play the victim, but this act of living can be exhausting, and I’ve hung my head in despair over atrocities, and at times, meaningless trifles. Staying strong doesn’t always come easily, and for some, a quiet resistance is the most they can muster.
Why the world doesn’t operate with more compassion and justice, and why we should have to use our energies to battle inequality and corruption rather then make love, or art…I don’t know. Bu ming bi. Bu ming bi.
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