Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am teaching a couple of Chinese Phds (in engineering) at the moment, here in Japan.
About 25/26 years old, on an exchange trip, extremely nice.

What would you do  if you were rich, was the question. All of them said travel and not work. One said he would immediately give up his boring studies. I feigned shock.

I told them that in the west we have this thing we like to call "the Asian work ethic", the idea that Chinese, Korean and Japanese people have some greater commitment to....well, perhaps just even the notion of work itself than soft and decadent western workers. Don`t people work so much out of loyalty to the state, the company, the nation, the Confucian code, some idelogical zeal?

"It's because we have to."

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