Monday, November 12, 2012

"The most memorable day I’ve had yet at HNC"

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco sends an update about watching the US presidential election from Nanjing:

Natalie (center) and classmates at the HNC Election Watch
"November 7th was the most memorable day I’ve had yet at HNC. We celebrated the US Presidential Election the 'day after', technically, since Nanjing is at least 12 hours time difference ahead of Eastern Standard Time. This was more exciting for us, though. When we woke up here, the polls were just closing in the US and we could spend the whole morning watching the CNN coverage in our big auditorium. We didn’t have to wait up late at night wondering who won; we could see it for ourselves, and then have a late lunch!

The Consulate General in Shanghai gave us an amazing spread of snacks, coffee, tea, and MANY different kinds of election paraphernalia (signs, stickers, buttons, red/white/blue cookies). The excitement was in the air. Nearly all the international students turned out to watch the display.

Our Chinese classmates seemed a bit confused by all the whooping and hollering going on about which candidate won which states. Many people, myself included, had our laptops out, watching the live updates from three different websites to make sure we had the most accurate data.

One of my Chinese classmates asked me and a friend if this sort of excitement was usual for a US election. We said, 'Yes, give or take a couple elections. It’s usually very heated.' She noted that, even though the Chinese election is happening at this moment, no one really followed it too much except news stations because 'China already knows who will be in power next.' It is an interesting dichotomy between the two countries who claim to elect their officials.

The 18th Party Congress is also going on right now in Beijing. It kicked off with the opening ceremony on November 8th. It’s almost too much political excitement for one week. Honestly, everyone is really tired from being so excited about what is going on. If you ask me, the most fun part about the 18th Party Congress is discovering what type of regulations are going on in Beijing to ‘protect social harmony’. One bird keeper said he is not allowed to let his 40 pigeons out of their coop for the entirety that congress is in session (7+days) for fear that they could be used as a way to subvert the government (one time an anti-government group tied messages to the feet of pigeons and let them loose in Beijing).

Never a dull moment in China!"