Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Letter to CGTN

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a 70-year-old ethnic Chinese calling both Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur “homes”. I know some Chinese but am unable to write well in Chinese. 

I enjoy watching your News and Documentary channels. However, in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, I am dismayed to see you are still not conscious of the need to help educate the masses in cultivating better table habits. Many of the Lunar New Year celebrations shown in your broadcast still depict people using own chopsticks to enjoy common dishes. This surely is a contributing factor in the spread of diseases, isn’t it?

Maybe you want to give a thought to this matter?

Incidentally, below is what I have just posted in Facebook: 

“Bad Habits Die Hard... But High Time To help Stop Them... 

I have been watching Lunar New Year celebrations on CGTN and cannot help feeling concerned. In spite of the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese are still generally not conscious of a bad table habit: using own chopsticks/spoon to dance/swim on shared dishes! I was also surprised to see similar depictions greeting cards that had been extended around. I don’t mean to patronise, but I think it is high time they stop this practice!

They should also stop coveting the consumption of exotic/wild animals’ meat and/or organs. 

A couple of other Don’ts, which are by no means exhaustive: 
1. Spit on the floor and dispose of rubbish indiscriminately. 
2. Dig nostrils, pick ears and pluck facial hair publicly. (Touching mouth, nose and hair unnecessarily should also be avoided.)
3. “Spray” your saliva everywhere when talking! And talk when mouth is chock-full.
4. Mess up public facilities like toilets, tables in food courts and fast food outlets, waiting rooms, in total oblivion to next users’ plight or distress.
5. Wear clothes that exude sour smell due to mildew. 
6. Converse on the top of your voice even though you are just feet apart from one another!

We may have five thousand years of civilization behind us, but when it comes to social graces and etiquette, many are still behaving like infants!”

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Lim Yu Book

Friday, January 17, 2020

I am hooked on Quora!

I am now hooked on Quora, even though I have been blocked from contributing because of a rejoinder I made to a commentator in one of my answers. Quora is a platform that allows anyone to ask any question. I take my hat off to those who have volunteered to answer. The insights and knowledge shared were extraordinary in many cases – on history, geography and even science, technology and engineering. Of course, answers on political and social issues are basically opinions, but good answers do reflect the author’s wisdom and foresight.

However, I didn’t know that world out there is awash with China haters and bashers. Readers of my blog would notice that I have also been bashing China and Chinese a great deal. I do so because I am proud of my Chinese heritage. There is so much in Chinese culture that teaches one to practise good social etiquette, to act with humility, to be caring and benevolent, to keep to our word, and so on and so forth, I naturally take issues if fellow Chinese misbehave. But if people hurl fake news and unnecessary hatred or prejudices about China or Chinese, I also would not want to sit idly by. I am no Xi apologist, but I think he had some a great deal for his nation. So is China as a whole; it is not an evil empire, as many of China haters and bashers want us believe. Many of those who have visited or stayed in China have already testified this fact. I myself have visited China several times. I have seen it transformed. Of course, the rural areas are still poor and lacking in social graces. But urban China is a different world now. I had therefore also attempted to answer some of the questions posted in Quora until I was blocked out. It was in respect of this question “Should the USA pay to clean up China’s pollution?” that got me in trouble with Quora. I wrote that the questioner was too patronizing and said that China was certainly conscious of the need to clean up its own environment without expecting anyone, let alone the USA, to pay for it. A chap chipped in and accused me of not having been to China or the USA at all, since I did not know how polluted China was. I asked if he should do if I furnished proof, and this led to my “suspension”. Strange really! Notwithstanding, I continue to follow Quora.

But I think Quora’s Moderation Team should try to nip fake news and bigotry at their buds.