“Rich is a Silicon Valley based author, IT infrastructure architect, software developer and home gardener who escaped the east coast and is married to Billy’s niece, Yu Meng. Rich and Yu have three awesome mixed ancestry daughters.”
Dear Uncle Billy,
After many years of our conversations about how to build lasting connections of friendship among people of different cultures and views, I am happy to contribute some of my own thoughts in writing. I agree with Tsing that the definition of friendship you seek is important. In my view, friendship can overcome many differences and challenges but true friendship can only sit atop a foundation of strong mutual trust and mutual respect for each other’s core values and aspirations.
Shared values are an essential requirement for true friendship. Individuals or entities holding values and aspirations that are a direct threat to your own fundamental principals, life and goals can never be a true friend. In our own conversations, the Confucian idea of a middle way – a ‘Switzerland’ approach to conflict is often suggested. Former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who favored a “middle way” in appeasing the Third Reich, taught one of the great lessons of the 20th century. Chamberlain’s naiveté resulted in the bombing of his country and his removal from office so Winston Churchill could face the reality of irreconcilable differences with pure evil. There is no middle way available when values and aspirations are in total conflict.
So what can be done? To overcome these challenges and forge friendship, it must start with two parties willing to be vulnerable to each other by directly surfacing and talking through real differences in values and visions for the future and how they might be reconciled if possible. At one point the global adoption of the Internet offered the best hope for allowing these essential frank conversations among people. Unfortunately, totalitarian regimes from Iran to the People’s Republic of China started building walls and tools of repression to prevent the open communication from happening. Sadly, we now see President Trump attempting to copy and push some of the same harmful policies here in the United States in attempting to “ban” Tik-Tok and WeChat.
The first obvious step to improve opportunities to talk is a greatly increased supply of freely available Virtual Private Networks and Proxies that will allow people to circumvent their governments’ barriers. Some governments like the PRC may view these conversations as “criminal behavior”. Throughout history from Jesus to John Lewis or MLK and beyond – sometimes the best place for a person to be “good” is in jail…
Hope this fits for the content you want,
Billy’s Comments : Rich is a very dear nephew-in-law. We are always honest and forthright with each other. I think we share most core values, but I personally do not like to absolutely define others when we do not totally understand their hardships.