Re-defining Politics

David, our tour guide in Hangzhou, is a fiercely patriotic Chinese citizen. At times, he would share stories about Chinese traditions, sayings and histories. At times, he would become frustrated at our ignorance of the Chinese culture – ignorance shown by both Chinese Singaporeans and Chinese nationals alike.

Chinese, he likes to say, should be aware of their roots.

Yet, from one joke that David said, we could deduce that he wasn't an unthinking patriot parroting the beliefs fed to him. Here’s one joke that he told our tour group:

“Daddy, daddy, what’s the meaning of politics?”

His dad thought for a while and tried to use terms that the little boy would understand. “I’m the Capitalist as I earn money to feed the family. Your mother is the Government as she controls the expenses. The nanny for your one-year old brother is the Working Class because, erm, she works.”

“What about my brother and I?” The little boy piped.

“Your brother is the Future and you… you’re the People.”

The little boy couldn’t quite get it. Politics could be rather confusing.

That night, the little boy woke up to the cries of his brother. To the boy’s horror, his brother has soiled his clothes with poop. He quickly slid into his parents’ room. His mother was sleeping, oblivious to his tugging fingers. His dad was not in bed. He then pattered to his nanny’s room. The room was locked and light shone through the keyhole. The little boy peeped through the keyhole and saw his father lying above his nanny.

He didn’t know what to think and how to react. So, like the little boy that he was, he went to sleep, befuddled.

The next day, the little boy tried to make sense of the word ‘politics’ again. “Daddy, I think I know what ‘politics’ is. It’s when the Capitalist is screwing the Working Class, the Government is sleeping, the People are ignored and the Future is in deep shit!”