A Ku Indeed!

New Years Wishes, Chinese Style

Posted in Analects, China, Chinese Philosophy, Life by Chris on February 25, 2008

Let’s continue the “east-west” difference theme for another post. I was reading Austin Ramzy’s entry at Time Magazine’s “China Blog” and found his last entry interesting. Ramzy held a party at his Beijing apartment for Chinese New Year and had everyone at the party say, to his handheld camera, what they hoped for the new year.

The differences struck me pretty quickly between the typical Chinese response and what you typically hear from an American when asked the same questions. As you’ll see if you play the video, the Chinese responses are very “non-me” and mostly related to the health of others, or their country, or even the Beijing Olympics. It’s really interesting to watch .

It makes me think that although most people seem to agree that China is not a particularly Confucian society (when compared to other Eastern countries, say, like Taiwan or South Korea), they still do harbor some fundamentally Confucian dispositions, particularly here with respect to thinking of others before thinking of the self. Here, when watching the video, what comes to mind is Analects 4.16,

“The gentleman understands what is moral, whereas the small person understands what is profitable.”

Cultural differences indeed!


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