Whom would you rescue first? Your mon or your wife?
This has been a very difficult question to answer for many Chinese married men.
Well, someone did. He saved his mom but “lost” his wife and kids.
A man named Kao lives with his wife, two kids, and his father in a house in a village in Xintai, Hebei province. His mom lives in another house in the village. On July 19, 2016, flood waters began inundating the village. The man immediately rushed to his mom’s house and carried her onto the roof. Then he returned to his own house to rescue his wife, two kids, and his dad. But by that time, his wife, two kids and his dad had already climbed onto the roof.
The wife, seeing that her husband went to rescue his mom first, abandoning her, her two kids, and his dad, got angry and promptly took her two kids and left home.
The husband’s point of view is that mom is old and may die in the flood, so the first choice is to rescue mom first.
What is the bases for the husband’s point of view? In primitive society, the wife and the kids were protected first among cave dwellers and the old were often abandoned.
The wife’s point of view is that she and her kids are more important than an old woman who is going to die anyway, whether the old lady happens to be his mom and her mother-in-law.
The wife’s point of view is biologically based in primitive social behavior.
There is a Chinese folktale about a little kingdom and its demise. The kingdom was facing attack by fierce barbarians. The king ordered all the young men to confront the enemy and fight to protect the old. The young men all died in battle, so the king ordered the kingdom’s young women to fight the enemy. All the young women died, leaving the old to fend for themselves. The barbarians came, saw that only weak old men and women were left, so they slaughtered them all since they were useless.
There is a counter Chinese folktale about a little kingdom and its survival. The kingdom was facing attack by fierce barbarians. The king ordered all the old men to confront the enemy and fight to protect the young. The old men all died in battle, so the king ordered all the older women to fight the enemy. All the old women died, leaving the young to fend for themselves. The attacking barbarians were so exhausted by the fighting that they were too weakened to launch another attack.
The difference is this: In the first story, the young were inexperienced fighters and they were slaughtered. They fought out of honor to protect their old aged parents. In the second story, the old men and old women had a lot of experience, and because of their advanced age, they had no fear of dying. They fought as fiercely as the attacking barbarians. Their goal of protecting their children was noble.
The first story illustrates the concept of fighting for honor and glory. The second story illustrates the concept of fighting for a noble cause for the continued propagation of a people. It illustrates the concept of fighting for the survival and perpetuation of a people.
During Taiwan’s 38-year long martial law period from 1949 to July 15, 1987, Taiwan held bravely onto its confrontational stance against the Chinese Communists. And during that time, Taiwan achieved its economic miracle as one of the Four Little Asian Economic Dragons and a high income country in 1987. But since 2000, none of Taiwan’s two governments, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government of Chen Shui-bian (2000-2008) and the Kuomintang government of Ma Ying-jeou (2008-2016) was able to recover from economic decline and exhaustive political infighting.
It seems that President Tsai Ing-wen and her DPP government have turned away and abandoned the previous president Ma Ying-jeou’s version of “trustpolitik” he called the “1992 consensus”. In reality, both Park Geun-hye’s “trustpolitik” and Ma Ying-jeou’s version of “trustpolitik” have failed. Both North Korea and the Chinese Communist regime have become more belligerent and bellicose.
In dealing with bullies like North Korea and the Chinese Communist regime, “trustpolitik” has been shortsighted. As I have said many times, the only way to deal with bullies is to bully them back and maintain a confrontational stance to deter further bullying.
Taiwan’s motto from 1949 to 1987 was “destroy the Communists and recover the mainland” and “defend the Three Principles of the People”. Since 1992, the motto of the Democratic Progressive Party has been “Taiwan independence”.
Sadly, the staunch anti-Communist stance of the days of the Cold War has given way to rapprochement and appeasement. The staunch anti-Communist stance of the Kuomintang from 1949 to 1987 has been replaced by Ma Ying-jeou’s appeasement and his version of “trustpolitik”, and the Democratic Progressive Party has risen politically to take upon itself an anti-China stance and a turnabout of Ma’s “trustpolitik”.