“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
“Virtuous and worthy men are elected to public office, and capable men hold posts of gainful employment in society; peace and trust among all men are the maxims of living. All men love and respect their own parents and children, as well as the parents and children of others. There is caring for the old; there are jobs for the adults; there are nourishments and education for the children. There is a means of support for the windows, and the widowers; for all who find themselves alone in the world; and for the disabled. ”
Confucius, The Chapter of Great Harmony
Dickens’s portrait of the social phenomenon at the peak of the nineteenth century’s industrialization seems to reflect on today’s hesitation of security and trust. Confucius’s prospect of the future two thousand years ago still raises questions for the pursuit and aspiration of security and trust in modern times.
When mainland China faces security issues of food, air, and drinking water, imbalance of housing resources, stagnating social mobility, Taiwan faces the dispute on energy safety, downfall of media authority, widening gaps between the rich and poor, and imbalance of education recourses, while Hong Kong faces government administration crises, shrinking housing space, and conflicts between immigrants and locals… At the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century, the Chinese-speaking society is facing a massive crisis of security and trust.
For a very long time in the past, with diligence, resilience, and spirit, Chinese people endured pressure and plight that lasted from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century and pursued national pride and prosperity under the suppression of imperialism and colonialism. At that time, security is the result of forbearance, and trust is measured by political attitudes.
In the last score of the twentieth century, societies of Greater China stepped onto a new self-guided path. “Development is of overriding importance” and “the only way to success is through struggle” symbolize this period of striving, but, in the meantime, the pursuit of life quality and of fair distribution is sacrificed. At that time, security is the result of risk-taking, and trust is measured by the depth of one’s pocket.
However, in the twenty-first century, there is a multitude of values, attitudes, information, ecologies, and tastes. Who can guarantee the quality? Who can explain a verity? Who can turn water into ice? Who can hold the eternity? A series of question marks is challenging us.
In this situation filled with question marks, can old political attitudes and accumulated wealth remain the major breeding ground of security and trust? That is the starting point of our question of 2013. From here on, we must explore further:
§ Where is the base of security and trust in societies of Greater China?
§ Is security to do or not to do?
§ Does trust come from the past or the future?
§ How do we keep security and trust from being taken advantage of by a single value or emotional focus and from becoming a synonym of a stick in the mud or blind action?
§ If people “thrive in calamity and perish in comfort”, then in what ways can security and trust become a foundation for new visions and actions?
In 2013, CNEX casts “Security and Trust” as a sonar probe to detect mental frontiers of the Chinese societies. We expect responses in the following aspects:
§ Human beings’ Basic Demands: Sun, Air, Water, Food, Energy, House
§ System of Social Security: Policy Making, Impact Evaluation, Civil Servants
§ The Common and the Elite: Self Improvement, Religion and Folk Customs, Support Network
Please respond with non-fiction films and show us the phenomenon, events, people, and depths of emotions you have detected. We look forward to your discoveries and sharing!