Archive for August, 2012

The differences of politeness in East and West.

August 17, 2012

Chinese always call ourselves as the country of politeness, which is actually incorrect, because there are quite a difference between rites and politeness.

We are a country of rites and rituals. Rites and rituals are vertical, it’s like a pyramid or a stair case, it demands that whoever at the lower rank has to be submissive and be obedient to the higher rank without questioning, otherwise you  will be accused as insubordinate , unruly , impolite etc.

The  emperor  never has to say please to anyone, the boss never say please to his employees, the teacher never say thanks or please to his students, neither the parents to the children, to do so would be consider incorrect behavior. On the other hand, three kneels and nine kowtows ( head touching ground) must be performed when one sees the king , how low to bow depends on how important and how much senior in rank is the person we meet, and there’s a whole different vocabulary for talking to different levels of people, to properly address the other becomes extremely complicated, there’s no plane level words such  as hello and hi.

As for close friends, because we are in the same level of social standing,  there’s no need to stand on ceremony, so we don’t have to say thanks or please  to the others, rites don’t apply here. And if you treat your friend with rites, then it means you are not treating him as close friend.

On the other hand, western politeness means there is no class distinctions, you treat everyone as your equal horizontally, hi and hello are common and acceptable greetings, you don’t have to bow and kowtow to your prime minster, and you use the same words and manner no matter who you talk to. The boss always says please to the employees, the teacher and parents thank  the students and children, and friends say thanks and please to the others.

So from the western point of view,  Chinese are actually very impolite.

Democracy cannot flourish if we cannot treat everyone equally, that’s why true democracy can never take root in Japan, Korea and Vietnam that have strong Chinese cultural and ritual influences. True democracy can only happen when  we can treat everyone as equal not only in politics but also in daily life behavior.

Lap Lam


August 13, 2012

我問: 茉莉花革命在中國為何未能如中東阿拉伯開花結果?

是中共控制得力? 還是中國人民不想推翻中共?


 王小華說: 一是中国人固有的民族特性即:“奴性”!(当然与中国文化有关)。二是中共控制严密。>

 愚見認為:儒家的仁, 孝,中庸, 道家的順應自然, 佛家的慈悲忍讓, 正面是造就了中國人溫厚和平的性格, 負面則成了逆來順受的奴才性.

 加上我們沒有國家宗教state religion, 不能以宗教號召凝聚民眾力量, 各地區的抗爭各自為政, 不能團結一起, 遂易被中共一一化解. 反觀中東阿拉伯回教國家, 不是什葉派就是遜尼派號召起義推翻另一掌權教派, 教徒們又有以身殉教殉道的熱情與激情, 前赴后繼, 終能成事.

外國一言堂宗教糾紛歷來引發無數戰亂, 死人以千万計. 中國有幸沒有加入其中, 但同時導致茉莉花革命在中國不能開花結果, 此正是針無兩頭利也.