“…it remains the first and foremost task to help the Chinese people acquire an independent mind, keen awareness, and sound mentality to become ‘new people’ based on which a promising ‘nation of people could be built.”Lu Xun (1881-1936)
Building a nation is not only about facilities, science, and technology. People are highly important as they are nurtured, trained, and modelled concurrently with the system. Walking through the skyscraper city of shanghai and the boulevards of the solemn streets of the ancient towns of shanghai inspired this article, where the spirit of patriotism is not solely viewed as the love for devotion to a country— but also demonstrated in the importance of building a resilient system and people on which the love is radically showcased.
Going on a foot tour to the roots of a country’s proudest moments must have been intriguing. This country is China; calm, versatile, but immutable in culture and traditions. Starting the journey, a famous queen mother fought against British imperialism- Queen Yaa Asantewaa of the Ashanti Empire (present-day Ghana), whom the writer greatly admires. This queenled the troops of the Ashantis, using ammunitions to conquer the British. On the other hand, Lu Xun, a calm but succinct person used his writing as a tool to instill individual awareness and independence. He was nonetheless a believer in the collective building of a nation.
To Lu Xun, revitalizing a ‘nation’s spirit’ can be awakened and disseminated by giving the people the opportunity to find who they are, what they are made of, and what they could contribute to their society. Finding oneself in Lu Xun’s context could be related to Mencius’ assertion that “the basic moral virtues originated in innate human tendencies and that with proper education anyone will develop them” (Lewis 2003, p.308) This was applied in pre-republican China, where teachers allowed students to reflect on their learning and guided them to find their purposes. This pivots Lu Xun’s keen efforts to putting the people at the center of nation-building and development. On his shoulders, although he had other disciples, Lu Xun inspired many ardent readers and writers to express the nation’s proud culture, traditions, and history through literary works. These literary works reached many and had an impact in the transformation of the people in self-enlightenment through embracing the scholarly lifestyle. Lu Xun refers to this transformation as “people being led into light.”
Furthermore, in his quest to build a resilient nation, Lu Xun demanded the liberation of his beloved countrymates by cultivating the habit of defending their faith and ideals, better put as “fighters of faith and ideals.” As a staunch example, a fighter of conviction and standards, he held to the Chinese people’s core principles, doctrines and beliefs. He spent every droplet of his blood to instill discipline in the young ones to find themselves, and to cultivate that foundation to contribute excellently to nation-building. As learned, Lu Xun and his colleagues boldly showcased their relentless disposition that, of course, the Chinese are capable of resisting any orientally related mindset and, in defiance, showcase their traditions and culture in grandeur.
Gallivanting along the Suzhou river places the mind’s eye on how present-day Shanghai forms an integral and significant part of Chinese history. A city along the coast, could today have been abandoned or preserved due to wars . The latter corresponds. However, protecting these landmarks host one of the economic braces of the Chinese economy. This, to the writer, depicts ‘building up strongly through the pain of a war zone’. The preservation culture displayed by the Shanghainese will at all times instill patriotism in the hearts of its people as a pictorial time capsule. Although some areas affected by the war have been modernised with buildings, the solemnity in the bustling billows of the river, singing the praises of the martyrs, lifts the hope of the heroes and heroines that their contributions to defending and building the nation are not left unnoticed. While people cast their minds on these heroic scenic areas, defending and dying for such a cause will not be difficult if the need arises.
‘Luxunism’, which I define as a call for the cultivation and exhibition of national spirit principally through helping individuals find themselves within the context of the national culture and traditions, this time, was not displayed through literary works – but through ammunitions to resist the oppressor, such as a walk through the Sihang warehouse. Patriotic, radical, barbaric, and worthy of emulation, men of their youth laid their lives by leaving their families and loved ones to defend their nation. Would it be called the practicum of Luxunism? That seems so! Reminiscing on the first time the name Sihang warehouse crossed my path, it was envisaged to be a company for the packaging and shipping of goods. as Although it was established asa warehouse in the pre-Shanghai times to be a backbone of the economy, it housed the excruciating times of a warring state.
The warring scenes on display in this warehouse could be the production of resilience and patriotism, packaging zealous and radical citizens, and exporting the spirit of defending and guarding the faith and ideals of their motherland as Lu Xun lived and died forAlthough in present-day it is unlikely to see nations war against each other, citizens are adapted to develop a fighting spirit with their knowledge , to dismantle any hegemonic ideas forced on them outside what they represent.
Vividly, an act depicted in the warehouse, where men help to their burning feet, fading souls, and crying hearts to save a nation, held high their desire to protect their fellowmen. Other sites were where soldiers were allowed to write their wills and letters to their families as they put their lives on the edge. What a sad moment! Should they leave the war scene and join their families to live under the oppressor’s rule? The future of the nation was the focus. That is a huge lesson taken at this moment.
Men of today may amass wealth and enrich themselves at the expense of their fellow compatriots using their knowledge and positions. Here, patriotism is not only loving and defending a nation when it’s at war but defending your fellowmen in quest of rising together in riches,leaving no one in poverty. This has been a major achievement of China, as poverty has been defeated in its entirety. A great lesson to emulate as we forge on in depicting resilience and patriotism. As a result, it will empower fellow compatriots to believe and trust leadership whenever there is a collective call to fight a common problem.
To extend, there is a special discourse, which to the author, falls under the showmanship of Luxunism in present-day China- culminating and protecting a country’s sovereignty. This typifies that the seeds planted during Lu Xun’s time yielded results through his efforts. However, it may not be a done deal as other sects may prefer to dance to the soothing voices of betrayal. Nonetheless, a call for re-deepening, rejuvenating and sensitizing a nation’s ideals and beliefs as the forebears chartered could work. Nevertheless, to their dismay, these forebears faced opposition in the context of internationalization and globalization, but within this school of thought, a nation with differences and boundaries exist. Therefore, it must be sovereign, undisturbed, and its affairs respected. This could only happen if a nation’s citizens are patriotic and resilient.
In conclusion, the essayist Lu Xun proved overall odds to enrich his fellow compatriots with his gift of literature. He wrote in his native language (Chinese) to achieve the aim of people finding themselves, enhancing their intellectuality, and being able to fight for their faith and the ideals of their nation. As this is achieved, acculturation and sycophancy will be minimized in such a globalized world. The brave men and women who laid their lives toward present-day China- building, depict patriotism and resilience. Alluding to this moment, patriotism could be expressed through fighting toward a common goal to grow together as a nation and defending culture, beliefs, and traditions.
About the Author
David Kyei-Nuamah is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) candidate at the Department of Education of the Faculty of Education at East China Normal University, Shanghai-China. His research areas include education policy, leadership, modern philosophy, and international organization governance. He is also a reporter, writer, and poet.
Lewis P., (2003). Custom and Human Nature in Early China, Philosophy East and West, July 2003, Vol.53, No.3, pp.308-322, University of Hawaii Press.
Lu Xun Memorial Hall Monuments, Translated Inscriptions of Lu Xun. Shanghai.