Friday, 9 July 2010
Before arriving in China several years ago I could not play Ping Pong. If I did play, I lost. Now I rarely lose. I can spin the ball like a New Labour government minister talking about the benefits of Multiculturalism. So what has happened? Well, it was not exactly a gradual improvement. Practice may make perfect but almost instantly I began to beat the Chinese at their own game. This is no boast. Simply, a fact. I can hardly kick a ball anymore. But, Ping Pong, give me a bat and call me Chester Barnes. So how to explain it? I appreciate that both genes and the environment are factors that shape much of our lives. I used to be of the opinion that genetics was perhaps an even more powerful explanation (although at the age of Sixteen in 1975 I swiftly came to the conclusion that it was about 50/50) in the continuing nature nurture debate. However, it now appears that the environmental factor has eclipsed the genetic. Or, is this necessarily the case?