Views in column not entirely true
Updated: 2011-06-08 09:19
Comment on "US public prefers parochial view of world" (China Daily, June 3)
I read the article with great interest, but I disagree with some of the thoughts expressed in it.
I am an American teaching at Beijing City University and have always followed local and international news closely in the United States as well as the four Asian countries I have lived in.
I agree with the author's premise that many Americans live in a cocoon and are focused on domestic issues. This is especially true in the current political season. In this silly season, Americans can always take time out to bash China and blame it for all their economic problems.
The author mentions the various sources of information she and her husband use in the US to say Americans are not interested in international news. But the many US magazines, TV shows and newspapers that feature news from across the world would not survive if they did not appeal to so many American readers.
I watched with great interest as Jon Huntsman, former US ambassador to China, tested his political strength in New Hampshire, the state I was born in. Interestingly, most of the initial issues he was questioned about were on China, even though most of them were based on a fear of the Chinese economic might.
I have been shocked many times by Americans lack of knowledge of domestic and foreign news.
Today, I am impressed with the knowledge that many of my Chinese students show, but disappointed by those who seem to have little knowledge or interest in events outside their own small world.
The author suggests that one of the reasons for it is that Americans do not care about international news. I disagree, because today the Chinese economy is so powerful that it significantly influences American businesses down to some mom and pop stores.
Astute business leaders realize they cannot afford to repeat the mistake so many American companies made earlier by seeing China the same way they had viewed Japan decades ago.
Instead of just complaining about commercial difficulties, we must study the successful business strategies, regardless of the country of origin.
I am encouraged because I see more American businesspeople, students and interns coming to China to do just that.
I think we can agree that the Internet is a great source of information for those interested in what is happening across the world.
I recently told my students that teachers were no longer the primary source of information. The Internet is. This may upset my fellow professors, but I believe it to be true.
I sincerely hope the Internet would diminish the memorization of many unnecessary facts that are quickly forgotten after exams.
I realize that I am using the Western versus Eastern method of teaching, but I believe this will become more prevalent in business courses taught in China's colleges and universities.
Marty Brown, via e-mail
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