The Old and New

The Chinese landscape is constantly switching between magnificent skyscrapers and streets crowded with run-down apartment buildings. I think it’s fascinating that in the same city mere blocks from one another are buildings that light up the night sky with their fluorescent glow and quite neighborhoods with so many drying racks hanging out the window that the sky is completely hidden behind clothes. I think that this juxtaposition truly reflects China’s current culture-a clash between modern and traditional. It seems like aspects of the traditional Chinese lifestyle are slowly being pushed out of the city life. The wet markets where many people would do their shopping for nightly dinner are steadily shrinking and being replaced by supermarkets. The old apartment buildings are even being torn down to build high rise apartments that’ll house hundreds if more people and soon be just another part of the skyline. And even though Chinese medicine is still widely practiced, I know many younger people prefer western treatment. I think that the rapid industrialization and growth of China has propelled it into this transition period where people are conflicted between preserving the old but embracing the new. ​

I enjoyed the fact that on the MMG China trip we were able to see both new and old places in each city. Being able to explore the many different places with my fellow MMGs was a great experience. I think that being put in situations where we felt a little uncomfortable or saw something completely different brought us closer together as a group.

Kelsey Chan-Chin, MMG Class of 2015

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