Romanticize; Plug The Hole

There is a line in the movie Iron and Silk where Mark Salzman says, “I think people are looking for something in China that they feel they can’t get back in America.”  Actually, there a lot of great messages contained in that book and the screenplay.

I’ve felt this way and perhaps this is just romanticizing about something that is very far removed from the truth.  Growing up watching Kung-Fu movies will do that to a teenager.

Kung-Fu started an interest in Chinese culture.  I read about Taoism and Buddhism and burned incense in my room.  I visited Chinatown and gathered sculptures.  And perhaps, as it is with human nature, I thought that I was doing everything I could to try and understand a culture so different than mine.  I felt like I didn’t have a culture, a way of being – so I grabbed onto something else in hopes that it would…fill a void, plug a hole.

In both the book and movie, Mark asks a Chinese gentleman, “What are two things that you think about all the time?”  “Eating and sleeping.”  “That’s funny,” Mark replies.  “What about you?”

Mark says, “Well, I want to be really good at something.  And I want to be liked, especially by women.”

“That’s easy.  Just work really hard at what you want to be good at and be nice to people.”

The Chinese gentleman then laments over the fact that the food they are fed at the teaching institution is crap and how his sleep is disturbed – two things he can’t control as easily as Mark’s problems.



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