I find it difficult to identify the first moments of my encounter with China, the crucial point at which I made, succumbed or arbitrarily happened upon the decision to study this culture and its official, national language of Mandarin. That moment a product of the last, delivered from the one preceding. I can’t get a hold of the one loose end with which this story commenced, the original beginning from which this particular hybridity was formed. There must have been a day when I ticked a box to enrol to study Chinese, a day that I finally decided against other options, but unable now to identify this moment, I can’t help querying just how significant it could have been. My memories of China the idea, or story, extend to the vanishing point of earliest childhood, through celestial stereotypes in storybooks, through the smell of incense in Chinatown, through stories of ‘The Orient ... almost a European invention’, culminating in a myriad of stimuli.
China; Mandarin; Western philosphy; Beijing