The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Amateur Generosity …
October 15, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Chinese Culture, Comment

As has been written 10 trillion times, China is a land of paradox.

On one hand it is a culture that values, treasures and celebrates the family, but on the other, there is very much the attitude it’s each to their own.

Of course, you could say that sounds quite similar to the beliefs that permeate much of America, given there is the view that if you work hard, you will prosper and if you don’t, then no one should help because it’s your own fault and America doesn’t do socialism.

The irony is, neither does China – the home of [alleged] communism.

That aside, given the amount of prejudice that China faces from the Western press, I feel I need to point out that when natural tragedy hits, the people – like those in America and countless other nations – are incredibly generous and compassionate because they believe if something happens that is out of your control, then you should be helped to the point where you can start to help yourself. But not a penny more.

That might sound harsh, but it’s just the way it is.

It doesn’t mean the people aren’t kind, warm, helpful or funny, it just means there’s a different value system to that of other nations … driven by the fact that it’s not that long ago that the difference [literally] between life and death was down to what you could get before someone else could get it.

Think about it.

Imagine coming from a culture where in the lifetime of your grandparents – or even your parents – survival was literally of the fittest.

Not what you earned.

Not who you knew.

But what you could find … with hundreds of millions of other people all trying to do the same.

That’s what happened here and for all the abundance that now exists in many cities [though not as many as many people think], years of tragic experiences and memories have shaped attitude and values in relation to others.

The reason I say all this is that I recently saw this:

Yep, it’s a donation jar, but if you look closely, you’ll see it’s not for a particular charity or a cause … it appears to be to simply allow you to practice being generous.

OK, so they say practice makes perfect, but I’m not quite sure that works for this.

To be honest, I think it’s probably a massive scam.

Not just because the shopkeeper didn’t know where the money would be going when I asked him, but because in a nation that has been ‘trained’ to believe benevolent generosity can come back and bite you on the ass, I doubt a nation is going to suddenly change their ways because a donation jar tells them to … especially a donation jar that doesn’t give you any idea where the cash is going.

Hey, maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe this will change attitudes and behaviour and make a cheeky shop owner very, very rich … but while the joy of giving can be a wonderful thing, I believe it’s going to take a bit more than that and if it doesn’t, then all that behavioural economic stuff that adland has been spouting like they invented it, is all a pile of shite.

33 Comments so far
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Brilliant, informative read Robert. You’re on fire at the moment. Maybe you should go on holiday more often. If that is possible.

Comment by George

I was never going to go on holiday again. But if you insist …

Comment by Rob

Are you serious?

Comment by Pete

This must appeal to you because you’re great at handing money over for stupid reasons. It’s the good reasons where yo become a fucking tightass.

Comment by Bially Whizz

And I spelt my name wrong. Deal with it.
Fucking new iphone. I’m suing you Baz.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Don’t be hard on yourself, you’ve been spelling it wrong on credit card slips for years. Everytime it’s your round.

Comment by DH

dyslexic twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

The keyboard is weird Billy … I’ll give you that. But maybe it’s just the difference in size that is screwing us up. Or you could be what Andy said. Ha.

Comment by Rob

China isn’t the only place that’s experienced extreme hardship Rob. Last night I had to drink cat piss budweiser because we had nothing else in the fridge.

Comment by DH

i once ate shop brand tortilla chips. ive fucking suffered, wheres my fucking charity box?

Comment by andy@cynic

In Canada?

Comment by John

no. but the effect of living there is the fucking same.

Comment by andy@cynic

More of a massive scam than the cost of doing a focus group?

Comment by DH

what about a planner who got a reputation off the back of all the hard work by talented fucking creatives and scammed a job at wieden and fucking kennedy where he gets paid a fucking fortune to always be on fucking holiday or business trips and never does any fucking work. thats the fucking definition of a giant con. blagging bastard. and im fucking jealous.

Comment by andy@cynic

I might be wrong, but is this aimed at me?

Comment by Rob

whatever gave you that fucking idea. paranoid bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

and i bet you were a fucking dick and put all your shitty, low value notes that youve blagged on your fucking million freebie business trip holidays in there. bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

More likely he negotiated a percentage deal in return for “amplification” on this blog.

Comment by John

or he just nicked it. he is from stealngham.

Comment by andy@cynic

Shanghai police are looking for a slow-moving man wearing indescribable footwear last seen moving in the direction of an asthma attack.

Comment by John


Comment by DH

An excellent read Robert. It is too easy to let the extraordinary growth of China to overshadow our appreciation of the dramatic and challenging periods of their recent history. It should come to no surprise that these events would affect how the modern culture operates, but too often it does. Well done on putting that right.

Comment by Lee Hill

Thanks Lee. It’s super-superficial obviously, but I do get frustrated when other cultures judge other cultures without any appreciation of what they have gone through to get to that point.

Comment by Rob

Does this attitude prevail among the hundreds of millions who have yet to benefit from prosperity and what is the attitude of the middle classes (for want of a better word) to those people?

Comment by John

I’m mainly talking about them John. The super-wealthy – like many in the West – tend to be the worst at offering compassion & generosity when it is needed, unless they can look good to many while they do it.

Comment by Rob

Yes, just like that guy. Though he is the exception rather than the rule.

Comment by Rob

Great read Rob, though the potentially fake charity collection jar undermines all the good things you are saying somewhat.

Comment by Pete

“Hey, I may be wrong …”
You are.

The collecting box is for the Shanghai Charity Foundation. Which is legit.

I grant you it is poorly communicated. To paraphrase Ronseal, It doesn’t say what it does on the tin …

Comment by Ian Gee

Well in that case that’s awesome, except for the fact that if no one knows what it’s for and who it’s for, the chances of sizeable donations are going to be buggered.

But given you just fucked my whole post – or at least the 2nd part of it – I will just pack my bags and shut up, ha.

PS: Thank you for the info, I’m glad it’s for a good cause.

Comment by Rob

Really enjoyed this. I don’t know what happened to you on holiday, but you’re on tremendous form.
Great example of not a ‘what insight’ but a ‘why’.

Comment by Northern

You know it’s all going to go horribly wrong any day now. Possibly about my best friends appendage or something.

Comment by Rob

Keep it up
Not the appendage, the standard I mean

Comment by Northern

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