Day 12’s collaborative blog post was written by Bryce Bell [BB], Brandon Vonderwerth-Martin [BVM], Umiika Rose [UR] and Kahmaria Adams [KA], four of the splendid 13 who are part of Think China 2013.
[BB] At the East Oakland Youth Development Center, we teach youth the importance of doing the right thing, thinking positive, and reacting in a smart way. These lessons are all part of EOYDC’s seven pillars of character which is the core of the program. Some people say this is our philosophy – much like the famous philosophies taught throughout ancient China by philosophers like Confusions. We learned about ancient Chinese philosophers today in lectures and what their philosophies were, how they differ from the western styles, lastly the effects on today’s society.
[BVM] We learned about Confusions, Laozi, and Sun Tzu. They all have major philosophies that spread all over Asia including all of China. The philosophies feature the well-known ying yang theory as well use the idea of self-control in its approach to difficulties in life. However, Confucianism is considered more of a moral code than philosophy and Taoism is much more forward in its teachings.
[BVM] Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War, is a world renowned regarding warfare tactics. Sun Tzu was one of great Chinese philosophers. The book is read by most West Point students. The book focuses on Morale, climate, terrain, and commanders.
[BVM] These styles of teaching have been lost in the times today. The true following of any philosophies is almost extinct. They have gone from being almost everywhere throughout Asia to only a handful of places knowing about them now. For example, I learned about this for the first time in 7th grade. While Chinese students don’t have an opportunity to take a class on their own philosophical history till college. For these reasons the future and current status of the philosophies aren’t looking bright.
[BVM] The ancient Chinese philosophers were some of the most progressive thinking people; their theories are still practiced today. After hearing about their beliefs, it really made me want to practice the many philosophies. I will try to carry out some of the morals and beliefs of the great philosophers once I go back to the United States. I know Bryce Bell and I will take these ideas back to the US and share these to the youth of the EOYDC and friends around us.
[KA] Day 12 was the first time that I ever rode on a train, and a bullet train at that.
[KA] At 5pm, we said our goodbyes to our hosts from the China US Exchange Foundation and went into the Beijing Train Station. Tears fell and hugs were given out. It was so heart touching because it showed how much love and friendship can be grown in just 12 days.
[KA] We waited for about two to three hours for our time to board and when it was our time, we had the real deal and boarded the train first. I have never seen so many people try and board a train how they did; it was like a bunch of east Oakland birds fighting for a little piece of little cracker in the middle of the street.
[KA] The boarding rooms were the size of the biggest box someone would need for moving, if you could imagine that is not that big comparing it to a bedroom. There were four beds in each room, two top beds and two beds on the bottom, basically bunk beds. I boarded a room with chaperone Nicka Smith and delegates Marisa Jollivette and Taylor Wheeler. That night was hilarious. Taylor and I slept on the top bunk while the other two slept on the bottom. The ride in total was a little over seven hours and it did not go as fast as I thought it would. The only thing was that I did not feel a thing except when I was sleeping and I would keep turning to keep from falling off the bed every time the train turned.
[KA] Marisa Jolivette said “When I woke up at 6 in the morning and looked out of the window, it was the bomb dot com. All of the houses were nice and beautiful.”
[UR] “It was my first time ever on the express train. It was very comfortable and it made me feel like I was at home. It was a nice ride!! I wish they had it in Oakland, CA,” said Lakeisha Harris.
[UR] “It was a good experience to travel in a new way, especially since the train was going over 100 mph,” said Bryce Bell.
[KA] Shanghai by itself was just a beautiful thing. By nine o’ clock in the morning, everyone was awake and began to refresh themselves. Even if you did not have access to a shower you still had water, a toothbrush, or at least some gum. After refreshing, we put collected all of our belongings and by the time everyone had all of their belongings the train had stopped. Train rides are not as bad as they seem.