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Old 07-11-2015, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Land of the Free*
139 posts, read 224,699 times
Reputation: 116

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Disclaimer: I've lived and worked in SZ, GZ, and HK for several years. I don't profess to know everything/anything. I'm just trying to get a better understanding by kickstarting a debate where I hope people who know more than I do will contribute their knowledge. If you want to start a flame war or turn this topic into something about race, kindly Moderator cut: -

The Role of Religion

I had a pretty smart professor in college who liked to say that we all eventually become British Protestant (we, of course, referring to Americans). He himself was a Jewish immigrant who was married to a Buddhist (also an immigrant) who's two kids grew up, more or less, British Protestant. It's no secret that the religion plays a huge role in American culture, regardless of whether we believe or not. But the way we interact with one another each day...and the way we feel and emote can really all be whittled down to British Protestant values that affect us all in some way at a subconscious level.

We feel pity for the weak. We believe that being born privileged means you owe something to society. We feel a sense of pride in purchasing from socially-conscious companies and, even while battling our enemies, we feel a sense of responsibility for the people we take as prisoners and patch up enemy combatants who are injured. These are all British Protestant values, and I only belabor this point in order to hold it up in stark contrast to the Chinese people.

Now, I could be completely wrong (please correct me if I am), but I believe that the main reason why we have such a difficult time identifying with the Chinese and understanding how they think is because the Chinese don't have this underlying religious foundation behind their mentality that we as Americans can connect with.

This next part is slightly off-topic, but I also learned recently that contrary to Hollywood's depictions of the Middle Ages, nobles in Europe rarely engaged in wars with one another. And if they did, they rarely killed each other. The main reason? They saw each other as Christian brothers and honestly believed it to be a something of a sin to strike down a fellow man of God. (The peasants who did all the actual fighting however, were treated as nothing more than cannon fodder...that much is still true.)

So again, I could be totally wrong here, but I believe that when we say that shared cultural values helps strengthen the bond between two countries, what we're really referring to are the common religious values at the root. And the fact that China and the US don't share any of these means, to me at least, that the two will never truly be able to see eye-to-eye on a whole range of matters, as opposed to the US' relatively close-knit relationship with the EU and former countries of the British Commonwealth who are all "Christian" nations. The question over whether Turkey should be admitted to the EU is another example. Although lots of "good points" have been raised on both sides of the debate, the simple truth of the matter is that the the EU is pretty much entirely a Christian "boy's club" and, aside from it's geographical ties to Asia, it's really Turkey's Islamic culture that's causing the EU doubts of whether it'll be able to fit in.

The Lack of Guilt

So while I myself identify as agnostic, I was raised Christian and eventually came to see religion as a tool to control the masses. My parents are both very religious and I respect them and anybody else who practices their faith. So while I don't believe in most organized religions, I can definitely see the value they have in instilling certain morals in us. These morals (and I guess the legal punishments that come with breaking some of them!) are what prevent us from engaging in such activities. And the collection of these morals is what makes things socially acceptable or unacceptable and makes us feel guilty when we doing something that goes against these morals.

So I imagine the Chinese as a group of people who don't have these morals and therefore sense of guilt. Now, that's not to say that they are an amoral people, unable to know the difference between right and wrong, or that they never feel guilty. It's just that their culture doesn't necessarily define what is good/bad the same way we might.

Again, I could be TOTALLY wrong about any of this. Please correct me if I am.

But I believe that this lack of guilt flows through everything they do...every decision they make. I have a friend who used to teach and decided to get into import/export who had manufacturers try to sell him on their blatantly shoddy wares, telling him, while looking him straight in the eye, "Don't worry about it." I can't imagine a vendor in the US saying that without feeling at least a little bit of guilt or trying to come up with at least some sort of excuse or explanation.

At the government level, they feel absolutely justified in everything they do. Want to claim all the waters in Asia for yourself? Done. Want to build a military base that you KNOW will unsettle countries like Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines? Sure, but why not go ahead and build a completely new island out of nothing while you're at it.

Religion, Again

One of my closest friends works for an NGO that works primarily throughout Africa. She worked in a lot of war-torn countries where she would live for months at a time. The most surprising revelation of her experiences was the abundance of "Chinatowns" all throughout Africa due to the massive infrastructure/oil/minerals companies that China has set up all around the continent. She dubbed Africa "a colony of China" sort of as a joke, but I found that there was definitely some truth to that statement.

This made me think that China is definitely thinking ahead to the coming resource wars when our supply of rare earth minerals will be all used up. They (very smartly) invested in governments and countries around Africa in order to secure their supply of these commodities without giving a damn about what was going on in those countries. Civil war? Doesn't matter. Ethnic killings? Not their concern. Country run by a brutal warlord dictator? As long as we get our minerals, you can do whatever you want -Sincerely, China.

Now, compare that to the US and how we would approach the situation. Would we honestly be able to turn a blind eye to the country's politics if they went against our Protestant values? If we knew they were killing babies or mutilating women? Instead of investing in and trading with such countries, we are more likely to enact UN resolutions or just invade. Or whatever. I honestly can't say which method I prefer. All that I wanted to point out here is that while the US takes it upon itself to be the moral leader of the world, China has no such qualms...they are literally only in it for the business. You can see how this would make them more likable to most countries because they won't attempt to throw their moral righteousness in your face.

In Closing

I'm fairly sure I'll be wrong on a lot of this. These are just the observations of someone who has lived in China, studied several Asian cultures in college, and "adopted" it as a second home, but still very much a foreigner on the outside looking in. Your (intelligent) thoughts, please.

Last edited by Oldhag1; 08-11-2015 at 05:23 AM..
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:14 AM
 
9 posts, read 6,323 times
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To sum up, the country and the people are still viewed rather negatively by both Chinese and non-Chinese. Some people even go onto not making friends or ignoring the Chinese.

And in China, the Japanese has the worst reputation, africans and indians are viewed as more backward than the chinese, white people are viewed more neutrally.
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Old 07-12-2015, 02:51 AM
 
9,628 posts, read 5,946,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomadwood86 View Post

But I believe that this lack of guilt flows through everything they do...every decision they make. I have a friend who used to teach and decided to get into import/export who had manufacturers try to sell him on their blatantly shoddy wares, telling him, while looking him straight in the eye, "Don't worry about it." I can't imagine a vendor in the US saying that without feeling at least a little bit of guilt or trying to come up with at least some sort of excuse or explanation.
You're kidding right? Watch some episodes of American Greed and tell me this "guilt free" thing doesn't apply to America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomadwood86 View Post
Now, compare that to the US and how we would approach the situation. Would we honestly be able to turn a blind eye to the country's politics if they went against our Protestant values? If we knew they were killing babies or mutilating women?
You are aware that US has no problem being ally with countries that go against Protestant values right?


To me, your post not only get China wrong. It gets the United States wrong.

.
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Old 07-12-2015, 12:29 PM
 
1,424 posts, read 735,401 times
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I think religion is just a medium to carry some cultural differences, but not necessarily the cause.

Even if westerners (or Germanic peoples) are not Protestants, they would still share a lot of values that are different from other nations/tribes.

However it is true that westerners always want to convert other people, with respect to ideology. Chinese people do not care what other people think.
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Old 07-13-2015, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,165 posts, read 9,106,488 times
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So I imagine the Chinese as a group of people who don't have these morals and therefore sense of guilt. Now, that's not to say that they are an amoral people, unable to know the difference between right and wrong, or that they never feel guilty. It's just that their culture doesn't necessarily define what is good/bad the same way we might.

Sorry but you are so off based on this one.

American greed plays a huge part in what you reference with import/export issue.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:01 PM
 
1,378 posts, read 1,814,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomadwood86 View Post
At the government level, they feel absolutely justified in everything they do. Want to claim all the waters in Asia for yourself? Done. Want to build a military base that you KNOW will unsettle countries like Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines? Sure, but why not go ahead and build a completely new island out of nothing while you're at it..
This has absolutely nothing to do with Chinese culture/mindset and everything to do with strategy. China would be stupid NOT to press these claims when it can do so at the present. While those countries are unsettled by the military bases, other countries such as South Korea (a close US ally) do not care at all about what China is doing there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomadwood86 View Post
Now, compare that to the US and how we would approach the situation. Would we honestly be able to turn a blind eye to the country's politics if they went against our Protestant values? If we knew they were killing babies or mutilating women? Instead of investing in and trading with such countries, we are more likely to enact UN resolutions or just invade. Or whatever. I honestly can't say which method I prefer. All that I wanted to point out here is that while the US takes it upon itself to be the moral leader of the world, China has no such qualms...they are literally only in it for the business. You can see how this would make them more likable to most countries because they won't attempt to throw their moral righteousness in your face
This is incredibly selective since the US generally ignores human rights when it suits its interest. The US turns a blind eye to Saudi Arabia right? The US listens to Turkey and denies the Armenian Genocide right? The US supported South Africa during apartheid right? Mobutu Seko was a close Cold War ally right? No one cares about human rights not even the US. The US only presses on human rights when it needs to do so.
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Old 07-14-2015, 04:19 AM
 
919 posts, read 602,846 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yueng-ling View Post
However it is true that westerners always want to convert other people, with respect to ideology. Chinese people do not care what other people think.
Chinese people tend to be more interested in politics, or power.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,164,246 times
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...and then there is this...

Woman spotted pooping in public to Hong Kong netizens

I can't tell if that is intentional or just being completely oblivious.

For those not familiar with Hong Kong/Chinese relations, there is a netizen group trying to publicly shame mainlander Chinese into proper social etiquette - i.e. no ****ting in the streets.

Since HK, is officially 'China' now, this is one of many issues for HK to try to resolve.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:41 AM
 
1,424 posts, read 735,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
...and then there is this...

Woman spotted pooping in public to Hong Kong netizens

I can't tell if that is intentional or just being completely oblivious.

For those not familiar with Hong Kong/Chinese relations, there is a netizen group trying to publicly shame mainlander Chinese into proper social etiquette - i.e. no ****ting in the streets.

Since HK, is officially 'China' now, this is one of many issues for HK to try to resolve.
Such things are extremely rare in mainland cities. How many times have you seen anyone pooping on busy Beijing streets? I have never.
So there might be something wrong in Hong Kong.
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:08 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,262,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yueng-ling View Post
Such things are extremely rare in mainland cities. How many times have you seen anyone pooping on busy Beijing streets? I have never.
So there might be something wrong in Hong Kong.
these anecdotal incidents really prove nothing. I lived in Shanghai for ten years and have seen people defecating outside for probably 3 times, and all of them are babies/toddlers (I guess their parents simply couldn't find, or didn't have time to find toilets for that).

On the other hand, I saw a homeless guy pooping right in front of the building next to my apartment in Toronto two years ago. I literally caught him on the spot, which was disgusting. Does that mean Toronto is filthy?

In the end, people choose to see what they want to see when it comes to stuff like this. The Chinese people definitely don't have the best manners much to my disappointment, but public pooping is by no means one of their sins. It is more of an image smearing campaign, the Chinese are nasty, the Chinese have no manners, we HKers are so superior.

And I don't doubt for a second that most HKers actively involved in this kind of campaign are those in the lower education/lower income group, much like back in the days Shanghainese, especially the low income folks despised Chinese from smaller cities. Well-educated people judge people from their individual behavior, not based on where they are from.

With regard to the Chinese lacking in morals, I would say it is a more recent development, more like in the past 20 years. The country grows so fast and everything is evolving so dramatically that I believe many people have completely lost themselves, with nothing but money in mind. That's partly the reason I decided to leave 7/8 years ago. I hardly make more money than I did in Shanghai, but life is a lot simpler because people are generally simpler. You don't have to assume every stranger is a scammer.

I don't think it has anything to do with religion. To think Christianity makes people "kinder" is absolutely laughable. It does often make people hypothetically kinder on the surface, but deep inside, I don't think so.
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