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Published: December 23rd 2011
盼星星盼月亮, Pan xīngxīng pan yuèliang
The above is a chinese proverb and my title is its translation. This proverb is said to be the inspiration for the Chinese flag, a symbol of state and people. The flag is a field of red and in the top left corner sits a large gold star representing saviour state and sitting pretty around the largest star are four smaller stars. The four smaller stars are said to symbolize the four classes 'the peasants', 'the workers', 'the petty bourgeoise' and 'the patriotic capitolists'.
Now you're wondering why I'm rambling about the Chinese national flag aren't you? Well National Day has passed with a pride and patriotism I have never experienced before. We Brits are not a vocal bunch when it comes to expressing love of our country, we are not brash and bold like our American cousins nor colourfully celebrated like our Irish in-laws. There is a stoic solidity to English pride. England has more to be ashamed of than boast about and rooted deep inside most English people is a sense of National shame, the only time we truly go crazy for England is in the sporting world, football, rugby and cricket inspire the only nationalism I
have ever known.
So here in China I find myself swept up in the romanticism of it all. Children carry small flags on little sticks, people are in high-spirits despite the rain, food stalls, shops and markets are crammed with people. Everywhere there is a sea of red and I feel proud to be a part of China in a small way.
National Day is quite obviously a national holiday and we are given a week off to celebrate, for me an excuse to travel. I opt for Shanghai to catch up with old friends and a little shopping, western food. Shanghai is adorned with red and gold, flags dance in the wind and we explore with a fresh enthusiasm for the country.
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