Sunday, May 25, 2008

Overcoming superstition in developing China

Early this morning, I went to yam char with my friend Beng Ching and his family in downtown Kuala Lumpur and the earthquake in Sichuan naturally became a hot topic of our conversation. According to Beng Ching's 85-year old father, now that New China has progressed - as compared to the yesteryears in Old China when he was born as a poor boy in a peasant's family - in science and techonology, the post-quake people over there should be much less susceptible or psychologically vulnerable to "attacks" of superstitious ideas and rumours as well as fatalistic 'teachings' that thrive on fear, sadness, helplessness and loneliness as well as the refusal to believe or inability to explain the abrupt, surreal and devastating changes in the living environments. He also opined that besides the scientific and technological budgets, instruments and personnel, the drastic reduction of illiteracy rate and also popularisation of science-based modern education at all levels in China have also contributed to the progressive improvement of the systems of psychological defence against superstition and fatalism. Uncle Ng has not forgotten how one of his male relatives during his childhood days in Old China became an opium addict to escape from unbearable realities after a flood had destroyed his house and farm.

No looting reported so far in quake-hit China


Blogger Monsterball said...

Interesting topic. I think it is more true for the more remote interior regions of China.

My visitors from the developed east coast regions have remarked that many Malaysian Chinese have in fact retained more of the traditional folk practices and beliefs than Mainland Chinese.

8:43 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

In China, the tenure of top leaders like President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao is limited only to two terms or ten years like the President and VP of the United States.In Malaysia, many holders of public offices, including Chinese politcal leaders, still remain to think and act like Tang and Han emperors whose terms are lifelong.

9:03 PM  

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