As has been written 10 trillion times, China is a land of paradox.
On one hand it is a culture that values, treasures and celebrates the family, but on the other, there is very much the attitude it’s each to their own.
Of course, you could say that sounds quite similar to the beliefs that permeate much of America, given there is the view that if you work hard, you will prosper and if you don’t, then no one should help because it’s your own fault and America doesn’t do socialism.
The irony is, neither does China – the home of [alleged] communism.
That aside, given the amount of prejudice that China faces from the Western press, I feel I need to point out that when natural tragedy hits, the people – like those in America and countless other nations – are incredibly generous and compassionate because they believe if something happens that is out of your control, then you should be helped to the point where you can start to help yourself. But not a penny more.
That might sound harsh, but it’s just the way it is.
It doesn’t mean the people aren’t kind, warm, helpful or funny, it just means there’s a different value system to that of other nations … driven by the fact that it’s not that long ago that the difference [literally] between life and death was down to what you could get before someone else could get it.
Think about it.
Imagine coming from a culture where in the lifetime of your grandparents – or even your parents – survival was literally of the fittest.
Not what you earned.
Not who you knew.
But what you could find … with hundreds of millions of other people all trying to do the same.
That’s what happened here and for all the abundance that now exists in many cities [though not as many as many people think], years of tragic experiences and memories have shaped attitude and values in relation to others.
The reason I say all this is that I recently saw this:
Yep, it’s a donation jar, but if you look closely, you’ll see it’s not for a particular charity or a cause … it appears to be to simply allow you to practice being generous.
OK, so they say practice makes perfect, but I’m not quite sure that works for this.
To be honest, I think it’s probably a massive scam.
Not just because the shopkeeper didn’t know where the money would be going when I asked him, but because in a nation that has been ‘trained’ to believe benevolent generosity can come back and bite you on the ass, I doubt a nation is going to suddenly change their ways because a donation jar tells them to … especially a donation jar that doesn’t give you any idea where the cash is going.
Hey, maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe this will change attitudes and behaviour and make a cheeky shop owner very, very rich … but while the joy of giving can be a wonderful thing, I believe it’s going to take a bit more than that and if it doesn’t, then all that behavioural economic stuff that adland has been spouting like they invented it, is all a pile of shite.
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