The concept of dictates that everybody should showrespect to his or her parents, grandparents, and ancestors (Zeng etal, 2013). The tradition is deep-rooted in the communities of Chinaand the surrounding regions of the South East subcontinent. Theconcept has been passed down from one generation to the next.Although Western civilization has taken its toll on the traditionalChinese practice, modern Chinese traditions and customs have elementsof . Even in the current Chinese system of governance,more emphasis is placed on taking care of the elderly. The discussionherein explores a Chinese value- and its impact on theChinese Cultural practices. The paper also compares and contraststhis ancient Chinese practice to the Values and cultural practices ofthe Western society.
The concept of traces its origin to the period beforethe introduction of Buddhism to the Chinese society (Knapp, 2005).The Chinese society was not amused by the Buddhist practices thatrequired male Buddhists to leave their families in order to be monks.The monks left their parents, wives and children to join the path toSainthood. However, with time, the Chinese denomination of Buddhismwas altered to accommodate the concept of taking care of one’sparents.
In the layman’s language, the concept specificallyrefers to respecting and taking care of one’s parents. Thetradition specifically calls on children to take care of theirparents in sickness, make them happy, and show sorrow over theirdeath. However, the tradition of does not in any waywhatsoever imply that a son or a daughter should always agree withhis or her parents always.
shaped the Chinese culture in a number of ways. For one,it made it a necessity for Children to live close to their parents(Chao, 2006). According to Chao (2006), this was to take care of themduring their old age. Children always ensured that they were employedin nearby towns where they could regularly visit their parents. Insome instances, sons did not move out at all.
While daughters were married off to far away households, sons optedto live under the same roof with their parents (Chao, 2006). In othercases, up to four generations of Chinese people could be living underone roof or in the same compound. In cases where the children had tomove away to other towns in search of better opportunities, theywould leave with their parents.
has also shaped the Chinese Culture through children.This is because it trained them to show respect to adults, includingthose that one is not related to. The requirement to show respect toone’s parents somehow metamorphosed to incorporate behavingrespectfully to all adults, their relations notwithstanding. In thegeneral Chinese culture, it is very disrespectful to talk back atelders even if they are not one’s parents or grandparents. FilialPiety has also influenced the Chinese culture of respect towardspeers and refraining from confrontation by all means possible.
In the Western culture, is not as deep rooted as in theChinese Culture (Dai & Diamond, 2000). It is one of the Chinesecultures that are not pronounced in the western world. The commonnotion between the two values lies in the moral obligation ofchildren to take care of their parents during old age.
However, in the Western culture children do not often stay close totheir parents in order to take care of them. Family ties are oftenbroken when children hit the age of 18 years. Actually, the Westernsociety frowns upon the practice of living in one’s parents afterattaining maturity age. People that fail to move out after theyattain legal age, their peers and the society often refer to them aslosers. The weakening family ties as children move out to always denyparents the attention that they require in their old age.
The Western society also differs in the manner that people take careof their old parents through its overreliance of institutionalizedcare. The capitalist society has driven people in the western to bemore concerned about their livelihood than taking care of theirparents. It is for this reason that they prefer to register theirparents in homes for older, citing commitments in their jobs andbusinesses. Inviting one’s parents to live under the same roof ashis spouse and children is an alien concept in the Western culture.
Both the Western and Eastern hold the virtue of respect in highregard. They hold this virtue because of the universal nature ofpeople to respect their elders. For instance, in the Western world,able-bodied people are expected to give up their seat for thedisabled, elderly, and expectant mothers. However, contrary toChinese culture, people in the Western culture are not afraid to loseface in public. They are not afraid of confrontation if they believethat someone else is trampling on their rights.
In fact, in the Western world, people are encouraged to stand up forthemselves when they feel they are right. The Western people believethat no one should let an injustice slide past just because they wantto avoid a confrontation. This disparity in cultures, explains whymost people in the western world will prefer to solve their disputesin court rather than coming to a local agreement.
Modernization has taken a toll on . With the increasedrural to urban migration in China, many children are finding itdifficult to stay in the same locality with their parents. Takingpersonal care of one’s parents in their old age has also proven tobe an uphill task with the encroachment of modernity in the Chineseculture. The modernity is mostly a result of the influence of thewestern culture as well as the changes in the economic environment.Capitalistic instincts are driving young Chinese away from the ruralareas into the cities in the search of greener pastures.
One of the new ways of taking care of the old is throughinstitutional caregivers. Institutionalized care for the old isslowly becoming a norm in several parts of China especially in theurban centers. The migration of Chinese people into other countrieshas also disrupted the traditional family unit. It is now commonplaceto find a Chinese immigrant in Western countries, while his wife,children, and parents back home in China.
In conclusion, the disparity in Western and Chinese culture shouldnot be a source of conflict. Instead, each society could borrow aleaf or two from the cultural practices and values of the other. Forinstance, the Western society could learn how to maintain family tiesfrom their Chinese counterparts. Currently in the Western world, fewadults keep in touch with their parents. The Chinese society shouldlearn from the western world that confrontation is not always evil.Sometimes avoidance could motivate the perpetrators of an injusticeto enhance their efforts. Speaking out for oneself should come beforesaving face in public. Both societies have a lot to learn from eachother if they decide to embrace diversity.
Chow, N., (2006). The practice of filial piety and its impact onlong-term care policies formelderly people in Asian ChineseCommunities. Asian Journal of Gerontology & Geriatrics 1(1).
Dai, Y, and Diamond, M. F., (2000). Filial piety. A cross-culturalcomparison and its implications for the well-being of olderparents.Journal of Gerontol Nursing 24(3):13-8.
Knapp, K. N. (2005). Selfless offspring: Filial children and socialorder in medieval China. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press,c2005. 連結.
Zeng, Y., George, L., Sereny, M., Gu, D., & Vaupel, J. W. (2015).Older parents enjoy better filial piety and care from daughtersthan sons in China (No. WP-2015-012). Max Planck Institute forDemographic Research, Rostock, Germany.