“…the world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. – Einstein
Today I went to my very first NGO visit. Since my internship is starting next week I have been assigned to another project, that is working with raising awareness about sustainability in the communities of Hangzhou. So..Maria and I visited the biggest environmental NGO in Hangzhou (and the general regions around the city, covering all in all around 11,5 million people). At the NGO we met Bob – a former salesman and consultant from the U.S., who had given up his “material” belongings and moved to China with his wife in order to somehow impact the society in a constructive and positive way. Basically he has now been living in Hangzhou for 6 months and is planning to live here, and work at the NGO, as long as possible. He was a very nice man with lots of ideas and opinions – and generally with a taste for talking, a lot. He told us that we were the first English people he had talked to, so, he was really happy meeting us. Honestly I must admit that the meeting with Bob was everything but motivating. Bob has been studying the development of NGOs in China (besides lots of environmental studies) – and – it doesn’t look too good. In mainland China it is extremely hard to start up a NGO without having some sort of background in the government. Besides, there are many difficulties related to the establishment of it; restrictive government policies, monopolization of resources by NGOs with government background, and a general lack of trust within the society (could perhaps be explained by the fact that NGOs are a very new phenomenon?). Further in order to organize something in China, one has to register the organization according to a special act. If the organization is not supported by this, it is criminal for the organization to accept ANY outside donations. And did I mention that the law requires that the NGO has a regular location, full-time staff, registration capital not less than a specific amount and more? Which…well, ofcourse is pretty easy to have when you are a dreamy idealist just starting up a new organization.Not..! I wonder how AIESEC even managed to get established in China. Besides – of course this kinda limits the interest of companies to provide funding – cause, lets be honest. Just reading about this gives me a headache. Can’t imagine what it must be giving the companies. And let me just add this (on a roll now :D) – any action step initiated by the NGO has to be approved by the government in advance (simple translation – if I ex. would like to arrange some kind of workshop with children on sustainability I would have to apply for it).
What does all this mean?
That most work is just ending in the great long corridors of bureaucracy – waiting for approval, and probably outdating. This of course leaves us, the people that actually would like to do some stuff, with a great challenge. I am still not completely sure about how we can overcome this challenge, because, of course, when it comes to it, it is a matter of mindset; you have some kind of intellectual ruling elite corrupted by their strive for money and power, and completely non-caring for the long-term sustainable development of their country (or, don’t even think that it is intellectual, just purely greedy, because – if intellectual is defined as a person who is capable of showing some sort of higher mental capacity ( I know that is a truly simple definition), then, based on the fact that actually 85% of the Chinese PHD diplomas are plagiats from abroad (and no, not trying to assault anybody – the Russian diplomas can also be bought for a good price – so no worries, you are not alone 😉 then, we basically don’t have that many intellectual people left). You have the followers. And then, of course, you have a bunch of sparkling people that are eager to change their reality, but simply way too afraid.
How can you actually create something useful or positive when you have to fight against a huge chunk of non-intellectual-narcissistic-power-craving-nitwits? ( and, thank you for the creative suggestions reg. starting revolutions ;)) And no. When I am writing this I am neither depressed, nor am I sitting in a dark room. I am listening to stuff like Chupee/Cocoon;Furr/ Blitzen Trapper; Trashcan/ Delta Spirit/ Suede; Gauntlet Hair etc.
And no. Still did not buy a cam.