Friday, September 26, 2008

Do you love your country aka 愛國?

The local media is getting more and more so called '愛國' - patriotic aka 'love country'. It is very obvious from the selection of news and reporting length of them. My personal point of view is that there is nothing wrong for being 愛國 or patriotic. However, I really don't like many people, particularly those people who have power to affect others to promote their own self-interests in the name of 愛國 or lump many other things under the umbrella of 愛國.

First of all, what is 愛國? The superficial translation of that is 'love' 'country', i.e. love your country. However, if you put into context, both the verb and the noun actually must be carefully defined, otherwise, as I said, people will lump whole bunch of 'ideas' under this umbrella. We could be talking about apple and orange here.

Take 國 out of the context, it can mean 'sovereign country' that you live in, the 'home country' that your ethnicity belongs to, the ruling regime of that country, the people of the country, or even broadly the 'hardware' and 'software' of the country. Hardware includes the natural environment, the historical architecture, the modern infrastructure, material arts etc. Software means the culture, history, arts of the country. So, it has to be carefully defined. E.g for a Chinese American who born in Taiwan and live in the States, should he patriotic to the U.S.? or to Taiwan? or to China? To PRC? What about for a mix, like his dad is Japanese, but his mom is Taiwanese, but he emigrated to Canada for example, which 國 should he love?

When we talk about 愛, it means love. In wikipedia, Love is defined as yadda yadda... I'm not gonna described that in details. However, from my point of view in this context, love can be a form of appreciation, or devotion. But the definition is not the critical part, the issue here is how to prove someone does or does not carry out 'actions' as a result of 愛.

Cos, someone may love something, but hide his/her feeling and didn't do anything. Does it means he/she doesn't love that thing?
Or, someone love and do something. How do you know what he/she did really because he/she love that thing? Does it base on what he/she say? But, how can you tell if someone lies for saying he/she loves or does not love certain things.

That's why, without this kind of precise definition, I think that when A says he is 愛國, but B says he is also 愛國. They may be talking about completely different things. So, when people ask do u 愛國? I would answer them with the question 'what do u mean?'

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