The late Bo Yang, a famous Taiwanese writer, wrote a book called ‘The ugly Chinese”. While what he said is true for certain groups of the Chinese people, it is actually wrong to profile all Chinese as ugly..
I would say that only a small portion fits the ‘ugliness’ described by Bo Yang. Many of the more educated ones ( by education, I do not mean University or college degree, but rather home upbringing, since true education starts from home) are compassionate, since the central teaching of Confucianism is about “REN” or Compassion.
But there are certain old Chinese “Wisdom” passed down from common folks that actually helped shaped the ugliness of certain Chinese people which may have even influenced other Asians, including Malaysians.
For example, there is this saying that ‘ sweep away the snow in front of your house, but do not bother to clean the ice from others’ roofs’. Because of this saying, there are many people who would teach their children not to bother about the affairs of other people, and just to keep to themselves. What they fail to realise is bad happenings can occur to anyone, and if ever they need help, they sure would not want others to practice what they have taught their children.
The recent case of an old lady who fell after being the victim of a snatch thief was a clear cut case of this saying. CCTV showed that 5 persons actually walked past without even rendering any help.
It was the 6th person, a very old Chinese Ah Pek with a walking stick that tried to wave and stop passers-by for help. Eventually 4 person from the nearby flats came to help, but it was too late. The lady died.
This is really apathetic. Some may argue that even with instant help, the lady might still die, but that is actually besides the point here. The point is it could easily be a case that with early and instant help, the victim might survive. And it could be anyone of us (or our loved ones) who could have been the victim, given that this type of snatch and run business is now so rampant and common.
As a doctor, I have treated umpteen cases of such victims. Many , in fact, would choose not to make police reports, since to them it would be it would be an exercise in futility, since we seldom hear of any snatch thieves being caught.
Increasingly, people are now more self centered and selfish. It is now not common to see youngsters standing up and giving their seats to more needy ones, in all forms of public transportation. Sometimes, it is the old chilvarous Ah Pek who would stand up and give his place to a more needy one, and what shameful culture is that!
This apathy apart, we have some conflicting news about crime rate. While the authority maintains that crime rate has come down, we have increasingly come across or heard about robberies. Even areas with security cameras and patrols, such as parking areas of shopping complexes, are no more safe.
While we do not doubt the figures given by the authority, it may be that many victims do not report to police. In other words, there is a gross under-reporting that is happening, resulting in a lower official crime rate.
If that is the case, then we must find out the reason why people do not report such crimes.
Safety to move about is one of the most basic right of a citizen. If we cannot feel safe to go shopping, or we have to worry about the safety of our loved ones who go shopping, then something is really very wrong.
Telling us that crime rate has come down would not make us feel safer. In order for feel safe, we must actually see for ourselves that there is a real reduction of stories about robberies in the streets, in the malls, in our own neighbourhood. We must see for ourselves that there are robbers and thieves being caught, charged and jailed.
It would not do to ask newspapers not to report crime happenings, since the primary duty of any news organisation is to report news, whether good or bad.
It would be a case of the proverbial ostrich which bury its head in the sand.
(This article is also available in TMI here.)