May 24

Perspective on History

Why do people view history differently

Historical events such as the SARS virus outbreak in China, may be viewed from different perspectives, which causes thoughts or actions responding to the event of individuals to differ. Using both primary sources such as the interview with my parents, and secondary sources documented, a clear distinction of perspectives can be shown, reflecting of people’s actions in response to the virus outbreak. For example, my mother reaction to the outbreak was to bring me to the suburbs of China to avoid the infection, whereas my father had to stay in Beijing and keep working. In addition, the government’s contrasting point of view of the virus was to avoid terrorizing citizens, so the officials took the precaution of forbidding crucial information. This is all due to their different perspective on this event. And as we historians are trying to understand events, we must consider information from multiple perspectives. The perspective view on a same historical event may differ from people to people. This could be caused by their status as a person, which generates a different point of view.


Researches that I conducted using secondary sources such as online articles, has a factual and unbiased language and tone. From part 1’s background research, China experienced a “form of atypical pneumonia called severe acute respiratory syndrome also known as SARS”,  in November 2002, that began its rapid spread across the globe as claimed by Mr. Huang, Yanzhong from the U.S National Library of Medicine. At the crest of the outbreak was China, where the outbreak of SARS infected more than 5,300 people and killed 349 nationwide according to the Ministry of Health in 2003. The casualty facts are described with authoritative language. And by using a secondary source, history can be view from a non- emotional perspective. Which is an advantage of using secondary sources. Though we must also collect information from primary sources. This tragedy may impact people differently, and from various perspectives, people amy act and response differently as well.


However, researches conducted using primary source such as interviewing my parent, supplies me with emotive language and personal information, with a unique perspective on the SARS viral outbreak, that differs from the secondary sources. My parents described the SARS virus outbreak as quiet an “awkward situation”. Because if you enter into public places with a lot people, there are the potential threat of catching the virus. But my father claimed that he must maintain his attendance to work, in order to earn money. When I was around 1 and a half years old, my mother brought me to live with some of my relatives in the suburb areas to avoid the virus, in the Zhengzhou province, where the the virus is not dangerous, and lived with our relatives. Her protective actions towards me was driven by her own perspective of the virus outbreak; seeing it as an extremely dangerous situation and environment for the infant me to live in. From my mother’s perspective, she thinks with a more emotional affecting way, because she has a child that she must take care of. As it is a reason for why information from her perspective influences my view on SARS viral outbreak differently than information I gained from my father.


Furthermore, information collected from the interview with my father was described with rational language and less emotive tone. According to my father, he had to work in the Guanzhou province during that time of the outbreak, without knowing how dangerous it could have been. From Part 1’s research, Guanzhou is one the first and the most infected areas of the SARS virus. But now realising the potential danger, he is quite concerned that he could have caught the virus. Despite the realisation of such threat of catching the virus, my father’s risky actions are only understandable from his perspective of being a father. He must support the family financially. Thus he must remain work in dangerous environments. In the contrary to my mother, my father has his own perspective on the situation, and because of his status in family as a father. My father has more logical thinking, because he has a different perspective from my mother’s caring thinking towards her child. Which also impacts and changes my understand of the SARS virus outbreak.


Vastly contrasting to my parent’s perspective, the Chinese government reacted differently as well. At first the Chinese government tried to conceal the information of the virus outbreak, in order to avoid the terrorisation of citizens, during the beginning phase of the outbreak. According to my mother, the mayor of Beijing city proclaims that Beijing is completely safe from the virus. But from Part 1’s research, as the spread of virus progresses, the government finally release issues concerning about the danger of SARS virus, along with undertaking safety precautions. Such as quarantine of patients, immediate decrease in public transportation due the droplet infection of the virus. This act of forbidding crucial information to the public, was caused by the government’s consideration from their perspective. They analysed the event and the situation from a different a perceptive than my parents. The government officials had taken in the consideration of preventing terrorizing the citizens, as their first priority. That is why the government officials tried to keep the information hidden. Because their status in society as the government. Again, this is another example of how perceiving a same event from different perspect differ our actions and thoughts. Information hidden by the government caused a lack of knowledge to prevent infection of the virus. This proves that as we try to understand a historical event, information from the government record may not always be trusted. It may be concealed or altered for greater purposes. Thus we must take in information from a variety of sources.


Finally to conclude, our different perspectives makes our view historical events differs. Just like in this interview scenario, it was because my parents different status that varies; my father as the financial support of the family; my mother who must protect her child; and the government officials who is in charge of this nation; that changed their perspectives on the SARS viral outbreak. Which in turn led to differentiation in their actions responding to the event. Because they must take in the consideration of what is the most important thing for their actions. In addition, the implication on how my parents perceive history differently is important because we as individuals must judge and interpret the event base off of our own and unique perspective and our status in the world. Thus responding with the correct reaction that is the most suitable for us individually. Generally, as historical look at history, primary have uses subjective language caused by the emotive aspect of people, whereas secondary sources have objective tone such as the use of facts in news articles. Our world today is able to be so various and colourful is because of this exact reason, of how we perceive and react differently against the same historical event.

Posted May 24, 2016 by 20zhangs in category Humanities

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