Author: cheok hong chuan
Date: 02-08-12 13:57
In an interview, Hsu Yu-fang, a political commentator and associate professor at National Dong Hwa University's Department of Sinophone Literatures in Taiwan, commented on the recent uproar in HK - when a Beijing professor called HK people 'dogs' for their recent outcry of discontentment about the behaviour of Mainlanders in HK, for jumping queues at Ocean Park & Disneyland, and for eating on MRT trains, and acting like boorish "Emperors' at boutique shops, as follows - "The Hong Kong clash is both a civic as well as a systematic one. Although China became rich, due to a long-term neglect of civic education, most Chinese aren't very law-abiding and also lack civic-mindedness. This is a very different matter in Hong Kong, which was ruled by Britain for a long time."
There is much to say about the lack of sophistication or 'class' or civic consciousness of Mainlanders. From the perspective of a Western educated Overseas-Chinese, this is both factual and true, particularly in relation to those Mainlanders from the countryside and those new rich who are not tertiary educated. Communism has deprived them of the training that were once the mainstay of traditional Chinese upbringing of 'shame' and 'honour' and 'humility'.
My own parents and grandparents lacked the sophistication of a Western education, but I am glad that they had ingrained in me the concepts of 'shame' and 'honour' and 'humility', and filial piety and assiduousness and most importantly about ‘The Law of Karma’ and future destiny as in the next or after life. Of course certain things were plain silly, like ‘eat up every grain of rice or else you might have an ugly wife’, not peeing on a tree to relieve yourself unless you pray to the tree first or my mother saying I am actually dumb not clever at all, just lucky when relatives congratulated her for a son winning awards at school or calling one of my younger brothers - 'Red Dog' - because of his birth '8 characters'. What do you expect from a continuing antiquity of a 5000+ culture? There will always be remnants of shamanism and broad retention of past superstitions. Do we buy a house with an address starting with the number 4?
So, coming in to defend the Mainlanders, what do you expect from our peasantry who are now affluent through the new found prosperity of socialistic capitalism? Should not we give them time to educate themselves on civic and social etiquette? Did we not accommodate our relatives from the villagers when they came to visit us in the city? Did we not tolerate them when they ate noisily and spat everywhere and not wipe their hands after visiting the toilet?
The Taiwanese can talk, but are not they less sophisticated than the HK people? Are not Penang Chinese less sophisticated than the KL Chinese, and the KL Chinese less sophisticated than the Singapore Chinese?
There is a Chinese saying - "There is Coming and Going" - which in English means "Give and Take" - like the coming in and going out of the tide. It also means to get on with the rhythm of life and not get bogged down or irritated by little things. Also a Chinese saying - "Do not fret if the rent or the price of food do not or unless they go up"
There are more important things to worry in life! Like the enemy in the Western Pacific, for instance!
cheok hong chuan