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Filial Piety Revisited

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Postby tyianchang » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 7:34 pm

tyianchang wrote:
Wind In My Hair wrote:
anneteoh wrote:I mean, imagine getting such returns from your children - all of which goes without saying. A good culture to continue?

Lastly, I've been trying to stay out of this but I'm getting sick of so many posters making Anneteoh / Tyianchang a punching bag. .

It's because of the personal nature of fights on other threads that her original post was taken in a more negative light than need have been. Just my view.

While Anne / Tyianchang has done her share of lashing out, I'm sure I would have been equally combative if I felt attacked by so many posters all at once. At the same time, if the lady feels inclined to accept some unsolicited advice, I suggest retreating a little and ceasing the personal attacks. You make many good points and once the swords and shields are laid down and the clanging quietens, perhaps everyone will hear better what you are saying.

Let's just blame Confucius for filial piety in the first place, and let him try to make amends with some of his other writings:

"The heart of a wise man should resemble a mirror, which reflects every object without being sullied by any."

"Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."


Sigh, another long post. I must be getting old.


Ah... this feels like being in Confucius' prosecution court!
WIMH and SMS, you make my participation in this forum worthwhile. I'm truly sorry the need to defend me rests in your just hands and erudite words; which, after a few attempts, I personally found to be a pointless chore as those posters are hell bent on distortions and rudeness. I can just imagine the audacity of someone who doesn't fully understand the subtleties of a language to start blackening another poster with her inane excuses to strut her own ego trips.
On a more serious note, as SMS had pointed out before, is the need to accept differences of opinions or ideologies and open up discussions rather than resorting to uncalled for provocations.
It was getting tedious to deal with intentional misconceptions and extreme rudeness from the same few posters. But I take such bizzare posts pragmatically as that involves me in character study as well. I thought people in this distinctive forum know that greatness does not come from scheming diatribes, that are personalised attacks; that rather throw a reflection back on their own inadequacies of character. Much said.

Yes, I do enjoy some bantering drollery and witticisms with the old hands which is what makes this forum sparkle; still one has to watch the arrogance and the poor efforts of those who just resort to plain insults e.g. for Plavt who issued me a warning before I'd like to pose this batch for his platitude -
drole, drolled, drollery in discussions
or jokes, jests and rubbish.

WIMH, thank you for quoting the sentences with " getting such returns ..." I had previously pointed out that the word 'returns' is meant in the context of parents being taken out on holidays, weekend dinners and even given monthly allowances as a statement of love from their grown up children which is unanimously recognised in our family as FP. I would treat 'honour and respect' as less than love. I used 'returns' as a befitting word for children rewarding their parents with the earlier sacrifices and love given to them when they were children. Some misread that as a purely financial term to do with banks. But one would expect a free and open forum like this SG one to have posters ranging from a wide range of abilities and skills.

My personal attacks ? That was indeed retaliations to unprovoked rudeness and insults. That's the British side of me that do not equivocate and turn a deaf ear to the assault of bullies. They were, at most, meant to be funny, a little lampooning and nothing serious, except for developing a thicker skin and a greater sense of humour.

I hope I'm not making you feel old! How about dressing up as a bionic woman to hand over a statment from me to Confucius ,
" Dear Sir,
I have a protest about your teaching that virtuous women obey their husbands and parents -in- law unconditionally, implying that women should repress their creativity and capability to please the ordained superiors in your family structure.
And I have a suggestion that you make amendments in ..."?
I'd love a series of photoshots on this!

BTW, when I 'm in SG in April, dare I take you out for iced tehtarik in the kopitiam? Have a great day.
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Postby x9200 » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 7:37 pm

Eau2011 wrote:That's great to know that I don't have to open a new Paypal account. :)

I guess it's like iTune store that you just can buy things with an account with a local address and a local credit card.

That's why I went to ebay to buy some coupons so that I can buy films from US iTune store, using my local German account and CC it does not work.

Paypal verifies CC on individual CC bases so they typically charge the card with few bucks and in the card statement a code is included. You enter it later in your paypal account, get the money back and have the card so called verified. I see no reason why it should matter DE paypal or SG paypal.

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Postby Eau2011 » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 7:43 pm

x9200 wrote:
Eau2011 wrote:That's great to know that I don't have to open a new Paypal account. :)

I guess it's like iTune store that you just can buy things with an account with a local address and a local credit card.

That's why I went to ebay to buy some coupons so that I can buy films from US iTune store, using my local German account and CC it does not work.

Paypal verifies CC on individual CC bases so they typically charge the card with few bucks and in the card statement a code is included. You enter it later in your paypal account, get the money back and have the card so called verified. I see no reason why it should matter DE paypal or SG paypal.


I thought it's like iTune account. :oops: e.g. An American resident has access to US iTune, but a UK resident does not.

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Postby tyianchang » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 8:19 pm

earthfriendly wrote:
It is not limited to Chinese. Respect for parents is a universal value but practices vary between countries, cultures and each individual family. Cultural practices evolved from the unique geograhical, socio-economical and circumstantial situations each group faces. In modern SG, do people equate respect for parents and caring in terms of taking care of their financial needs by offering pocket $ ? Do they try to take time out of their busy schedule and spent it with their elders. My sister leads a very busy life but will tag her whole family to mom's on the weekend to saviour and praise her home cooking. If I were living in SG, would I do the same? Maybe not as I tend to be more into doing my own things. And I will also factor in if my kids will enjoy spending time at grandma's. I believe in freedom to choose and not be bounded in life. Always has been this way as a kid. So not all chinese think alike.

In USA where it is so spread out, a weekly visit to the grandparents may not be feasible for most people and that's where skype comes in. My parents are computer illiterat so skype is not a possibility. Different geopgrahy, different practices. I am not saying one way is better than the other. It is just different.


You have opened up the discussion, taking into accounts the geophysical side of life one encounters today in a bigger yet shrinking world. I did say somewhere, no two Chinese think alike.
Of course, FP is not limited to Chinese. We were referring mainly to the origin of the terminology and the understanding of its concepts and practice. I mean, if one asks anyone in the streets in the west, Do you practice FP, they wouldn't have the context in their cultural norms to udnerstand what is being asked, unless they're acquainted with Confucianism, or Latin.
Actually, I think the Italians, French, Spanish and Portuguese - of the Latin countries have very close family bonds too.
Your examples reflect the way we live nowadays, and it reflects more influence from the western way of life we're used to. It's perfectly fine to have a practical approach towards your parents and opt to rather 'do your own thing' rather than spend time which you'll have very little of in today's working life situation. In Confucius' time, all women, esp the middle classes, were just housewives and needn't have to work ( like some rich wives everywhere today, too).
One should never feel guilty of neglecting one's parents if one's conscience is clear that the parents are perfectly able to manage on their own. Some modern parents would probably want to have their own time rather than be lumbered with children and grandkids around them all the time. Your sister is more family oriented while you like your privacy. It's all fine, quite balanced in fact.
Regarding the money issue, I stress again, my use of the word 'returns' involve the whole package - regular visits, lunches, holidays and pocket money. The parents needn't have to ask for anything - they're all though of and practiced through the understanding of FP - and obviously, if they can afford it too. In the end, it's all about the thought and caring, though having too much of that can be smothering too.
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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 8:30 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:Why is this an exclusively Chinese issue? As I recall, the ten commandments in the Christian bible (which are actually a lot more, depending where you look) says, "Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

So, what's the difference?

SE, my post is not directed at you, but a general comment on this thread. Just that your post is one I find worth responding to :)

I am a Chinese cradle Catholic, and am therefore familiar with both the Christian concept of honoring parents and the Confucian concept of filial piety. I have never once used the concepts inter-changeably as to me they are different. Tyianchang is actually correct that piety has a much stronger element of duty, even obligation, than honor or respect. And not just the money aspect.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it's hard to explain the difference in English as any English words I use will be words the "West" knows and therefore a Westerner will say "See we have it too". Something gets lost in translation. It's like saying "panache" is the same as "flair". It is, but it isn't. It's different enough for the English language to import the French word to say what all the English words can't. If 'honor' and 'respect' were enough to explain 'filial piety', then the latter term wouldn't even be necessary.

What I don't understand is why people can't just accept that filial piety is different from honor / respect. As has been pointed out, piety isn't all-wonderful. It weighs heavily sometimes, in a way that honor / respect doesn't. Many have wished themselves free of the burden of piety, whereas honor / respect is not something people wish away. It's okay to not live with piety. It doesn't make the culture that doesn't practise it inferior. I'm tempted to say this thread almost smacks of kiasu-ism, as in "You have it, we must have it too!"

Sorry for the long post. And now... let the arrows fly!


Thanks for the insights. We should debate this over lunch. 8-)

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 8:56 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Thanks for the insights. We should debate this over lunch. 8-)

Or over a teh tarik with Tyianchang :devil:

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Postby Eau2011 » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 10:02 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Frankly, I haven't seen anything that resembled an attack at all, I have seen responses that resembled counter-attacks though. Each of us should look into a mirror and be honest with ourselves to find out the problems here. I warrant, if one gives an honest appraisal to what they have seen and said, then the entire thread might just have taken a different tone. I personally find all here are a bit antagonistic and enjoy trying to "outdo" the other in their counter-attacks, especially when none are really warranted at all. Is it so difficult for adults to have adult discussions without resorting to childish taunts when we do not have a readily available response? :-|


Sorry, SMS, I cannot shut up if I see no fairness. If being rude and personal insulting does not count to be attacks, then I'm speechless.

I came here 4 weeks ago. I have been debating when I did not agree with others, I had a great time :) . But I have seen enough rudeness and personal insulting from the OP in her posts to many people (Vaucluse, JR8, me, Plavt and Strong Eagle etc.) in different threads. And I don't wonder why she got isolated.

At the end I did my own justice, I'm that kind of Robin Hood, if no one helps, I will stand out (You may already have noticed in another thread. ftopic76892.html ). This time it might not be mature, it might be rude, but one should also ask why people do this. I deleted my agressive words and went back to my usual style after this incident. Debating without attacking, that's what I always did until I encountered OP.

Yes EACH OF US should look into a mirror and be honest with ourselves to find out the problems here.

But as I said, this forum is poisoned if somebody keeps going with personal insulting. And if this is allowed, in my opinion, it is not fair.

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Postby ksl » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 11:35 pm

My 2 cents is, that perception is really a very difficult thing if you do not know the people personally.

It's actually a minefield, due to not fully understand the characters in play. What are sarcasm's and humor to one can be insulting to another on the grounds of culture. Also the levels of communication and, experience.
plays a major role.

It is quite easy to become critical on anybody, if we see fit to do it, and always helps to post source links of information, to limit the confusion, as lets face it wikileaks is not a reliable source at all.

What we tend to forget is that expats cover many people with poor levels of English too, which some do find annoying rather than being understanding. The forum can also be an outlet for some including myself, when I'm pissed and feeling sorry for myself, I feel the shock and remorse the next day, but i felt pretty good pushing all my heavy baggage onto a forum, though now i have met quite a few, I have to be careful what i write.

Basically avoiding conflict is less stressful, than competing for the last word, does it really matter what others opinions are, of course it doesn't.

Learning to all sleep in the same bed, speaking foreign languages is much more fun according to a Fish Called Wanda:lol: 8-)

Peace & Love at the end of the day

As a businessman we are informed never to discuss, politics, wars, religion and other sensitive issues with overseas clients. Learn the people to know, and respect their culture and mannerisms, even though they are far from our own. :-|

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Postby Eau2011 » Sun, 06 Mar 2011 11:43 pm

ksl wrote:My 2 cents is, that perception is really a very difficult thing if you do not know the people personally.

It's actually a minefield, due to not fully understand the characters in play. What are sarcasm's and humor to one can be insulting to another on the grounds of culture. Also the levels of communication and, experience.
plays a major role.
But somebody has to think over if he/she makes many (not only one) feel insulted, including moderator (in this case, Plavt)

What we tend to forget is that expats cover many people with poor levels of English too, which some do find annoying rather than being understanding. The forum can also be an outlet for some including myself, when I'm pissed and feeling sorry for myself, I feel the shock and remorse the next day, but i felt pretty good pushing all my heavy baggage onto a forum, though now i have met quite a few, I have to be careful what i write.
Wow, outlet? I never thought it can be such a function. :o Now I understand why some people behave.... :lol:

Basically avoiding conflict is less stressful, than competing for the last word, does it really matter what others opinions are, of course it doesn't.
I do agree. It should apply for everyone. :cool:

Learning to all sleep in the same bed, speaking foreign languages is much more fun according to a Fish Called Wanda:lol: 8-)

Peace & Love at the end of the day

Peace & Love at the end of the day

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Postby ksl » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 2:19 am

It's actually a minefield, due to not fully understand the characters in play. What are sarcasm's and humor to one can be insulting to another on the grounds of culture. Also the levels of communication and, experience.
plays a major role.
If you study the posts long enough you will see a character pattern that forms.

Of course at weekends some people go out or drink at home, and either post on their return from a night in the town. You should really check it out on a full moon Ha ha!

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 4:58 am

ksl wrote:
It's actually a minefield, due to not fully understand the characters in play. What are sarcasm's and humor to one can be insulting to another on the grounds of culture. Also the levels of communication and, experience.
plays a major role.
If you study the posts long enough you will see a character pattern that forms.

Of course at weekends some people go out or drink at home, and either post on their return from a night in the town. You should really check it out on a full moon Ha ha!

I do not really think this is a case of misperception and communication problems (from one point on at least). It is also hard not to classify it as insults but I rather see it as some kind of act of desperation for someone who do not know how to handle simplest discussion disagreements. Personally I would not get offended but then I also could not take it all too seriously. It disqualifies someone as a partner in such discussions even if the person is a pure sweetness when it comes to face to face interactions.

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Postby ksl » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:11 am

x9200 wrote:
ksl wrote:
It's actually a minefield, due to not fully understand the characters in play. What are sarcasm's and humor to one can be insulting to another on the grounds of culture. Also the levels of communication and, experience.
plays a major role.
If you study the posts long enough you will see a character pattern that forms.

Of course at weekends some people go out or drink at home, and either post on their return from a night in the town. You should really check it out on a full moon Ha ha!

I do not really think this is a case of misperception and communication problems (from one point on at least). It is also hard not to classify it as insults but I rather see it as some kind of act of desperation for someone who do not know how to handle simplest discussion disagreements. Personally I would not get offended but then I also could not take it all too seriously. It disqualifies someone as a partner in such discussions even if the person is a pure sweetness when it comes to face to face interactions.


Yes I can agree with that too, though I find it more amusing than insulting, though I know from experience with my Chinese wife, that I need to choose my words carefully, otherwise she feels insulted, while in fact it's just my sense of sarcastic humour.

I suppose the Brits can be a little sick when it comes to humour, i'm sure it's not just me...an example would be a crowd burst out laughing, because someone walking across the road is hit with a bus, the first remarks could be'

Crikey he was quick wasn't he! (Not)and everyone laughing out loud, though it would turn to embarrassment if the person was seriously injured and we would be sad, with another sarcastic remark, oh Christ, I didn't really mean it, but he should have been quicker, the silly bugger!. I mean people even some Brits would be offended with such chit chat. Insensitivity I suppose it is.

Must tell you this, that actually happend to me, I discovered this guy in a hole a labourer, his mate was next to him, trying to wake him up, I said what's, the guy didn't know. Could be heart attack.

Anyway I gave him CPR and mouth to mouth for a good 20/30 minutes, which wasn't pleasent has he smelled of beer.

Then I couldn't help cracking what I thought to be a funny remark, like Oh god, I think I bloody killed him, as the guys lungs were collapsing and air was coming out, I was breathing in ha!ha! Yeah just a ironic thought at a sad time.

We talk in jest many many times, it's fun, yet some people just do not understand it. Then there is the ' Oh poppy cock' you don't know what you are talking about, like baiting for fun.

I will admit that I have to explain many times to my own wife, when she takes it all the wrong way, because of pride and prejudice, without knowing the facts. I can tell you it can be quite volatile and i quite often say why don't you take off those blinkers.

I guess it's a kind of protectionism, where i look at the bigger picture, I'm not only British, I'm a mixture of different races, with an interest in all of my blood brothers I tend to keep an open mind until I can disprove anything.

I mean everything is in Black & White with China and even many mainland Chinese know Mao had his weaknesses that were unacceptable to some, like his passions. which i will not disclose. Though research should reveal.

Though Taiwanese Chinese insist that they are Chinese and no different, when others can see their is actually a great deal of difference, not in looks, but in character, personalities, the identity is very different.

I avoided picking up on many points in the discussion, for the simple reason you cannot discuss, with someone, that isn't fully open to discussion and when they are, their facts are not correct but one sided.
Last edited by ksl on Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:32 am

KSL, I know perfectly what you mean. I used to have these kind of problems with my wife and she is the same nationality/culture as myself :) but reading some Anne's responses do you really think this is the case and she just tries to be witty/funny?

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Postby ksl » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:55 am

x9200 wrote:KSL, I know perfectly what you mean. I used to have these kind of problems with my wife and she is the same nationality/culture as myself :) but reading some Anne's responses do you really think this is the case and she just tries to be witty/funny?


No Anne is quite serious and feels insulted, though JR8 and the rest are just being funny, and she's biting back, I mean there is a bigger picture with China and you must see the bigger picture and accept the errors, not live in denial.

Though subconsciously or consciously there could be a political motive too, more of a socialistic one, as I too quite often dream, of a societies and take on their burdens only to find out that most are two faced, though only field experience will prove this.

In mainland China, even children were reporting their parents, if they mentioned anything negative about the communist party. So over time these people learn to deceive everyone including the tourist.

It is a survival instinct in such an oppressive society, not to talk badly about the regime, unless you are out in the open and away from others.

Naturally Chinese are Chinese and will defend their heritage, the same as another person, but before you defend your heritage, you must have an idea where you come from to get the bigger picture.

So I see a discussion of one in denial and defensive and the others just getting frustrated.

How I would with my wife, if I couldn't get her to see sense. Some people are just too stubborn for their own good, my wife told me that sometimes she doesn't like herself because she cannot take positive criticism, I know when to leave her alone :)

Anne like my wife, needs to look more closely inside herself, to discover why she cannot listen to what is being said though the wise cracks did come from the others with Anne retaliating.
Last edited by ksl on Mon, 07 Mar 2011 11:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:59 am

x9200 wrote:reading some Anne's responses do you really think this is the case and she just tries to be witty/funny?

SMS and I have both noted that we didn't find her original comments antagonistic, but some responses to her were aggressive, at which point she retaliated and it all went downhill. At this point it's all mudslinging. One side needs to stop, and then the other side will as well. It just depends who is the bigger person.


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