Normalcy, a Square and Governance

By Holden White & Moammar AlHammad

Today we visited the second largest square in the world, Tiananmen square, and we saw and learned a lot there. One of the things that we learned is that Mao was the first leader of the People’s Republic of China but was not the first person who created the communist party.  He was the one who was in power when the communist party became the government in China.

Mao went in public on October 1st and said the people that today marks the day of the People’s Republic of China. While we were there we saw the building where he stood in front of everyone and we imagined ourselves being at that time listening to him almost 70 years ago.

We also went in a government building, sort of like the Congress, and visited all the different rooms in the building. Each room represented a different province in China; if the province is an important one then the room would be designed to look better than a room that represents a less important province. There different rooms shows how in Chinese culture showing off power is considered important, from the emperors all the way to where a person is from.

The whole place was guarded by police officers and some who looked like army soldiers with heavy rifles to secure the place, that shows how significant the square is to the people of China. This made me feel a little out of my comfort zone but we quickly adapted to it and felt it was normal in very little time, which makes me wonder how long does it take to feel that something is normal.

After the square we went on a shopping trip and experienced the life of a Chinese person in the night market and learning the ways in which we could bargain with people and sometimes buy things only using 50% of the original price. I think the whole day was full of great experiences and learning.

Also today we went and ate McDonalds and it was very interesting because we were in a McDonalds, an American company, except if you looked out of the window you could see the Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People.

I am looking forward to the rest of the trip and what there is to learn and experience.

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