The fear in chinese society


#1

:cry: i think there is a lot of fear in chinese society. fear of god(s) , fear of ghosts, fear of ansenstors, fear for the future. as long as i live here , i realize the hidden fear in chinese people. the most terrible result of this is the luck of love. for if ther is fear the love can not be perfect. living in fear has the result of deep psychological problems in personal relations creativity, etc.
we can exchange ideas about this. for example how come our ansentors can become hungry ghosts if we do not give them sucrifice? for western society this is impossible, indeed there souls we believe care for us. may be , here, chinese parents are when still alive ghosts, hungry for power, pressing there children to do what they want.
how to explain that there are temples dedicated even to dogs?

plese join this discussion
lee liang


#2

[quote=“lee liang”]:how come our ancestors can become hungry ghosts if we do not give them sacrifice? for western society this is impossible, indeed there souls we believe care for us. may be , here, chinese parents are when still alive ghosts, hungry for power, pressing their children to do what they want.
[/quote]

Come on, it’s more guilt than fear that makes Taiwanese (even the most independent souls) adhere to their parent’s/family’s wishes more than (in my opinion) is necessary.

Malarky to “ghosts”!
It’s a form of brainwashing!

Being forced to live at home until you’re in your thirties and beyond evidentally extends childhood and places family before self, in this collectivist culture.
How unfilial and selfish to do what you’d like to do with your life!
Besides, it’s much more difficult to make your own decisions than to do what is expected of you. There won’t be any repercussions that way, your family will find you dutiful, and you’ll always be taken care of.
When it’s your turn to be head of the family, of course you’ll expect the same respect in turn, and the guilt is then perpetuated to the future generations.


#3

However, the guy starting this thread still has a valid viewpoint to make. People here are afraid of ghosts. I recall when I told the former assistant that I wanted to drive the mountain road from Taipei to Ilan at night. She told me that the ghosts would come after me…

Fright of teachers and other authorities? Well, they still beat them here… At least you can get the cudgels everywhere. (Including: yes… Tesco).

Perhaps a mixture of fear and shame? There are some similarities between Taiwan and Japan in that matter. (For the japanese situation, try: “The chrysantemum and the sword”. That book defined Japan as a shame society, implying that youy didn’t feel guild like in the west, but shame instead). However, that’s a different situation, touched upon by Richard Hartzell in “harmony in Conflict”: People who aren’t readily placed into the framework of the 5 relationship does not exixt and you can behave the way you want toward them. If someone jumps the queue in the local 7-11, then you know what I mean. They don’t do it against you as a person. They just don’t recognize your existence.


#4

[quote]If someone jumps the queue in the local 7-11, then you know what I mean. They don’t do it against you as a person. They just don’t recognize your existence.[/quote] Oh that’s it, and I thought it was just because they were selfish pricks. :wink:


#5

This looks like an interesting paper. Too bad this is only the abstract.


#6

Amos makes a great point.

Most people of Western values have been brought up with what we like to call “manners.” These manners reflect many of our social mores, if you transgress them you get the standard responce “Selfish Arsehole” And our attitude: If you don’t respond you feel no shame. In Chinese society people feel little shame for incidents which occur outside their “relationship” circles. These circles whilst seemingly incongruous to a Western mind are so real to the Chinese that they are almost never transgressed as it would be immoral to do so.

Simple example, a Chinese friend has a close relative die. Other Chinese friends outside the appropriate circle of relations will not visit that person for fear of some of their bad luck brushing off onto them. For the friends outside the “circle” it is immoral for them to visit this person for fear of their luck brushing off on to their circle. These people feel no shame and would probably feel guilty if they did visit that person’s family and for some reason somebody within their circle died in a car accident. On the contrary, those people within the appropriate circle would be subject to a great deal of shame if they didn’t show up and offer the appropriate degree of support to their troubled relatives.

All that seems ludicous to a Western mind. Even when we can understand it perfectly we are still unlikely to accept it. Infact, it is a serious point of conflict between most Western and Chinese thinking. And it’s held in it’s most stark relief when some old bat pushes infront of you in a 7/11 and you think areshole and she’s thinking there’s another point for the Chin’s, because somewhere along the line when she was a littlin’ old grandma Chin said, “Don’t be the last one. Push in if ya have to.”—No Shame and No Guilt way to go Mrs Chin.


#7

Chinese spiritual beliefs are more “folksy” in nature. There are few authorities capable of reforming them, or (failing that) giving them some socially useful outlet. Though the Buddhists have had some success (for example Tzu Che, the Compassion Society.)

Religion in the West is relatively institutionalized. Our religious people mostly follow churches which say their authority is supreme, arrogating to themselves power over spiritual matters. Unlike the Chinese we divide believers from non-believers, those who worship one way from those who worship another way. Our churches can’t survive without these artificial boundaries–or fear as an enforcement mechanism.

Whatever our theologians may say about perfect love casting out fear, fear and shame are definitely a part of the major Christian traditions. And yet we continue to patronize these spiritual brothels, pledging our children into bondage before the Moloch of tradition. There are better churches, better religions, but these are not the ones which are growing through some unspeakable co-dependent magic.

Religious (superstitious) Chinese are slaves to family and social expectations, clothed in myth and ritual; religious (superstitious) Westerners are slaves to inherited dogma and institutions. But true spirituality needs neither priest nor tao-shih, neither eucharist nor the sacrifice of paper money. It laughs at ghost lore and church creeds alike. It holds this in common with the atheism which is increasingly prevalent, and yet is so much more.

There is a light which is older than the world–older even than God (or what we can know of God). It is all-powerful, all-loving, all-wise. And extremely dangerous. It is fearsome–but only to those whose treasure is in the world. Some things can withstand even death and hell. Or wandering ghosts!


#8

Well, it sure don’t scare me bub. I’ll kick its ass if’n it comes around here and messes with my stuff.

Seriously, it sounds like you’re just replacing one form of superstition with another – a light that’s all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, fearsome – that’s just god all over again, isn’t it?

Or are you talking about the sun? If so, I take it all back, but then, how can you describe a ball of flaming gas as all-knowing or wise?


#9

Yeah, right. ~yawn~
Says you. :unamused:


#10

We have a gnostic in the house!


#11

Not just Chinese people are fear of lots of things cause it


#12

Qoo, if you use too many cliches together, you start to sound confusing. I don’t really want to get into a slanging match, but well, if you make a list of things western people fear, and I make a list of things chinese people fear, we’ll see what the result is. I think it’s quite valid to say the chinese fear quite a lot more.

If I told my mother that I going to spend the first day of the ghost month “drinking cans and swimming in the river all day” she’d tell me, “we’ll don’t drink too much”. Now for a chinese person’s mother to even consider letting her child touch water, let alone swim around in it during open ghost day, well, that’d have to be a major cultural breakthrough.

I could go on forever. I consider myself an honest person, and I’m pretty sure I don’t fear myself. Cheers Amos.


#13

Amos fears salties, but only because it takes too much effort to wrestle 'em onto the barbie.


#14

Some of that fear is dictated by customs. My wife went to her parents last Friday, however she would happily swim at this time of year(if she could swim, that is).


#15

Really, i don’t know whether to laugh or cry when these armchair sociologists wheel out their “thousands of years of refining Chinese culture” bullshit. I don’t need to explain to anyone here the principle of Occam’s Razor …
Selfishness is the obvious explanation, whether the person be Chinese, Nigerian, Italian or Inuit. Marry a Chinese girl by all means, but you don’t have marry the cultural baggage.


#16

What do I fear? Hmmm,

I fear sending my future kids to America on a student exchange program, only to discover that their host family will be none other than ABCguy.

I fear my dog is getting to fat, and the immigration guy said in order to send him back to Aus with us, we’d have to pay $NT500/kg.

It’s simply a cultural thing.


#17

Monkey living up to his name…

The explanatinion given by me is hopefully wrong. Hovewer my accumulated 4 years here in Taiwan has taught me that those cultural traits are pretty deeply engrained in them. A complex set of rules rule relations in your “in-group”, however outside of that group, wher eyou are known, no rules behave, so you can be at your worst. No-one knows you and you don’t know any. Therefore you can pretty much be at your worst without any consequence. If you sidesweep someone and ride away, cut into lines cheat your way out of a bad situation, you won’t brng shame on yourself and your family. Therefore you can be as bad as you want. Trust me monkey. That’s the way it is.

You might disagree with them and blame them on egoism. However, how do you explain that the apparent level of egoism is so much higher here than in the west?


#18

:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: thanks , friends , for your contribution. every day i realize more and more how much fear is hidden in taiwanise society. even educated people , indeed, feel the fear, even they do not want to admit. of course there are so brilliant exceprions, like our fellows here, we do not afraid anything , only one think, that the sky will fall to our heads, who tald this… aha. yes asterix and ovelix.
i think the more we become persons the more we do not have fear, but this is anather subject. chinese culture generaly has not the person. we afraid gods , nature etc. because we do not love.
if we love god or people , we do not afraid them
lee liang


#19

[quote=“amos”]What do I fear? Hmmm,

I fear sending my future kids to America on a student exchange program, only to discover that their host family will be none other than ABCguy.

I fear my dog is getting to fat, and the immigration guy said in order to send him back to Aus with us, we’d have to pay $NT500/kg.

It’s simply a cultural thing.[/quote]

I am someone who has been caught between east and west all my life–a Catholic Christian, but also someone who does believe in ghosts, demons roaming the earth, and ancestral spirits (there must be similar beliefs in NZ/Australia?).

But sometimes I wonder if Westerners are just out of touch with their surroundings.

I do think that the Chinese are way too superstitious, but I also think there are some superstitions that have some truth to them.

Some Americans/Europeans really believe in the existence of fairies, some even claim to have seen them; some women wear fertility pendants or have images of the fertility goddess, whoever that is. Even though I do believe there is one God above all other gods (can’t help it–no evidence, just unquestioning faith on that one), I can understand why some would question His/Her existence.

Okay, I have more thoughts on this but at the moment, they’re have a hard time getting from my brain to my fingertips. Interesting topic; we could go on and on about this one.

Jennifer


#20

So how would this fear affect relationships between Taiwanese and foreigners?

The extension of childhood due to living at home so long seems valid to me. If the parents take care of everything until you’re 30, then you would still have childhood fears even at that age, right?