Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today's Thought.

It's Wednesday, April 11th, and it's a sunshine day at Shanghai's Pudon Airport, but smoggy nonetheless. Thick gray air has been the standard or over a week now, and maybe prior to my arrival. This is what I've been used to the last few visits to China. I'm beginning to believe it's just the way things are permanently. Sad. Where in China is the air clean and the sky blue?

Today is the day for my 20 hour journey home. My thoughts before getting on Dragon Air #803 are of last night's conversations over dinner and along the walk in The Bund - the "old Shanghai side" just off HuangPu River. I was met by Adam, Evian and Wing - all of the Top Human organization the focus of my support for this trip, first in Shenzhen and then in HaiNing. We enjoyed "everything duck" for our meal and then our stroll along the people-filled walk where one is struck by the differences between what once were European embassies (now high end fashion stores) to our left and the enormous expanse of
towers, high-rises, and skyscrapers to our right ... nonexistent eleven years ago. China is changing.

Over dinner I was asked my opinion about the current state of affairs in the US, vis-a-vis attitudes toward the situation in the Middle East. This led to an expanded discussion of relations between China and Taiwan ... and on individual leadership in both countries at the highest levels. I'm still processing much of the discussion, but one of the more striking things we noticed is how driven by fear (or controlled by it) people often are. If we operate from fear and look to negativity and constriction we will fail to see opening and constructive possibility.

Taking a macro perspective this little band of colleagues curious-about-each-other's -countries, agreed that if we allow the drum beat of fear to be the basis of our understandings (and
misunderstandings) then the costs, no matter what we do, will be too high. We're all smart enough and old enough to know and understand the results -- provided we learn from history and move forward accordingly. We cannot afford to live mesmerized and in denial.

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