UNCIVILIZED PEOPLE FROM THOUSANDS YEARS OF CIVILIZATION


On January 15 a young Chinese Mainland girl ate noodle and littered the carriage on Hong Kong’s East Railway. A Hong Kong passenger told the girl to stop eating as according to the rules, eating was forbidden on the railway, but the girl’s mother did not tell the girl to stop eating and a quarrel occurred. A bystander also from the Mainland joined the quarrel, speaking quite excitedly against the Hong Kong man. The Hong Kong man supported by other Hong Kong passengers, indignantly pushed the emergency button and complained to the driver.

The driver had to stop the train, come to explain to the Mainlanders the rules and admonish them to comply to the rules, but did not fine the Mainlander in accordance with the rules. Lots of passengers suffered some delay in their travel due to the incident.

A heated debate broke out on the Internet over the incident. Hongkongers criticized Mainlanders for habitual failure to follow the rules as they often see violation of rules when they travel in Mainland China; while Mainlanders complained that they had often been discriminated and maltreated in Hong Kong.

Littering, spitting, disobeying traffic and other rules, failure to queue and other uncivilized or rude behaviors are indeed quite common among Chinese tourists abroad and make people outside China wonder why people from a county with five thousand years of civilization lack sense of common decency.

That is first of all resulted from the Cultural Revolution, when people were encouraged to rebel against all rules and good educated manners were regarded as bourgeois in nature. The better one was educated, the worse one was struggled against and discriminated against while the less one was educated, the prouder one became for that. Educated people had even to pretend to be uneducated to avoid the trouble. The practice of acting in an uncivilized manner has become in vogue since then.

However, Chinese tourists now are from the newly emerged middle class. Most of them have become rich because they have received college and even post-graduate education. Their poor manners are one of the most serious problems in China’s education system. In people’s pursuit of wealth, education on ethics, etiquette and good manners is neglected and emphasis is entirely placed on passing the examination for entering colleges. As a result the tremendous increase in college education has not brought about improvement in the manners and moral quality of Chinese people.

The latest Party Central Committee’s plenary session focused on development of culture to enhance China’s soft strength, but we still have to wait and see whether it will greatly improve educated people’s quality.

Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”.


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