28 Oct 2010


The last few weeks marked a series of anti-Japan demonstrations. I was happy that the Chinese captain was released, but found it difficult to share the strong views of some of my countrymen.

By definition, territorial dispute is a kind of controversy. While I have no hesitation in rising if my people are under attack, the link between fighting for an uninhabited land and patriotism is somewhat fuzzy. Claiming a piece of land because it historically belonged to a country is particularly flawed. The very reason of dispute is because all competing parties can report a period in the past when the place belonged to them.

Some people may say we have no right to express such a weak view because we never went through the war. I agree, but a recent radio interview caught my interest.

That was an eighty-year old lady who served in the local guerrilla during World War II. She has fought with brigands, shot Japanese, but mostly, provided education to local villagers. To avoid being caught and causing trouble to villagers, she never spent the night in villages but instead slept in bushes. During the interview, she let us know much about the lives of different people during the war.

In the midst of the recent rivalry with Japan, the host asked about her view. You may expect she would ask the Chinese government to declare war or at least scold the Japanese.

“Most Japanese did not want to invade us,” she answered. “During the war, people in both countries suffered a lot. The precious thing is not our victory over Japan but peace that we gradually achieved over several decades. It is important to preserve peace.”

To me, acts of hatred between the two nations are simply an insult to all our predecessors who died to create a better world.


  1. What an interesting interview. I have not heard this view at all from all the elderly people in my family (and extended family). Thank you for sharing :)

    What a pity that in reality, few people are able to group together and come up with a movement to rally for peace in their own active war - simply because it is difficult to be unpatriotic.
    Of course it has nothing to do with patriotism, but simply nationalistic propaganda igniting mob behavior on the behalf of a greedy/proud government that claims to have it's citizens best interests in mind. In the end, everybody has no choice but to either join in or flee if they can when war breaks out. And once the war starts, acts of hatred becomes a vicious cycle for survival.

    Acts of hatred are not just an insult to our predecessors, but to our own intelligence, whereby we allow pride to overcome our family's, country's and our own self-interest. No country ever wins a war.