Lesson 9: We All See Through Tainted Glass

I cannot remember how the conversation started. That was the beauty of the criminal law group, we talked about everything. As the most diverse intern group at Zhicheng, we would often discuss controversial topics such as rape culture, abortion, LGBTQ rights, and religious freedom to gain a better understanding of our countries’ differences and similarities. However, on that day we talked about politics. It started with the recent issues between China and India over a strip of Indian land that was secretly converted to a Chinese road. My Indian colleagues discussed how India has a history of being reasonable and peaceful people and how they could not understand why China suddenly wanted to impede on their territory. My Chinese colleagues didn’t really have a response. The conversation then moved to Taiwan. Recent news headlines wrote how difficult things would be for Taiwan since Panama stopped its support. It did not take long for this conversation to heat up. My Chinese friends were very firm on their belief that Taiwan was a part of China.  Even the phrase “manipulation by western culture” was used. However, as a former resident of Taiwan, I had to disagree with their perspective.

After going back and forth on the issue, I realized how indoctrinated we all were. Just as I had my American perception of what is right and just, they had their own ideas. This wasn’t the only time that opinions clashed during the summer. There were times when we were helping clients or discussing a case that I realized that in all its glory and progress, every organization is restricted to the values of its society. The way we handle issues domestically and internationally is through a glass that has been tainted by tradition, mainstream education, and deep-seeded values. This is not to say it is a bad thing. However, I think it is important to recognize that we are limited in this way. Therefore, comparative research is important. Viewing information from another country’s perspective allows us to see the limitations of our own society and culture. It allows us to question why we value certain legal topics over others and gives solutions on how to tackle those legal questions and issues that are developing or gaining newfound attention.


Low of the Week: There is only one week of work left and some of the interns are already starting to leave. I miss them already.

Delta of the Week: Recognize that what I see is tainted by my culture and upbringing and with that knowledge, allow myself to be open to other perspectives.