Self-Examination and Soul-Searching (1): The Story of a Young Fighting Cock

Wang Hua

PureInsight | January 31, 2005

[] My son is almost ten years old. Lately he was becoming more and more surly and belligerent. We often have argument every morning about what he is going to wear to school. The following is a typical dialogue at our home every morning:

"Mom! I am not going to wear this shirt!" I could hear his shouting from miles away.

"Why? This shirt looks nice. It fits you well and it is warm." I tried to patiently communicate with him.

"I won't wear it! I won't! I won't! I won't! I will only wear that one!"

"But you have been wearing the same old shirt for days. Aren't you worried that other kids might tease you?"

"I don't care! I am going to wear that shirt!" He then grabbed all the outfits I laid out on the bed for him to choose from, and threw them all over the floor.

I became furious and shouted: "You are not going to wear that dirty old shirt to school!"

"Then I won't eat! And I won't go to school!" He shouted those words as he ran downstairs to the living room, and refused to come back to his bedroom to get dressed.

My husband also became angry too. He shouted on top of his lungs, "Look at you! You are like a young fighting cock! Always fighting! You start each day by shouting! You are such a brat! You are becoming unruly each day! One of these days I am going to give you a darned good spanking! Then I will see if you will behave like a fighting cock!"

Children are like a piece of blank paper. It's the family and the society that stain the blank paper with colors. It is we that change our children into us.

Why is my son becoming so belligerent and always fighting with us like a young fighting cock? After a little soul-searching, I have to admit that he has had bad influences from my husband and me. Instead of patiently communicating with him and guiding him, I often lose my temper with my son and berate him. My husband also goes into tantrums and punishes my son a lot. As we try to discipline our son with shouting and punishment, we are polluting his mind. My husband and I reproach our son for his bad temper, but the truth is that we teach him to solve things by losing his temper.

People in China lose their tempers very easily. They fight each other all the time like fighting cocks. A trivial thing can cause boisterous bickering or even a brawl. Whether it is on the bus, on the streets, in the stores, in the schools, in the offices, in the factories, or even in rice paddies, people are fighting each other one way or another. When they don't fight with you directly, they stab you in the back. No one wants to cooperate with other people. In fact, today's Chinese people are notorious for arguing and fighting with each other constantly. I cannot help wondering: Why do today's people in China fight so much? Where do we get our bad tempers?

I remember there was one thing that my mom nagged about all the time when I was young: "Look how accomplished Mrs. X's daughter is! Why can't you be more like her?" One thing that my schoolteacher lectured us most often was: "You have to be really competitive to become an honor student. To start with, you must learn from our honor student of the year." Consequently, since I was little I was taught to compete with others as though there were only two kinds of people in this world. Either you are the winner or you are the loser. Either the honor goes to you or it goes to someone else. I had no concept what tolerance or equality meant. Driven by competition, I felt as if everyone around me was a fierce competitor. I had no friends but many imaginary enemies.

Competitiveness, the mentality of comparing, and jealousy are like cousins. In each society and in each country, there are people who are overcome with these. But why is it so common in modern China? I learned the philosophy behind it in my political science class in school. A philosophy rooted in fighting with others is the most cherished legacy of the Communist party. Only through inciting people to fight and conducting numerous bloody military campaigns did the Communist Party gain power. Growing up, we were taught that "survival of the fittest" means that people should fight with each other, since only then can you beat your competitors and gain things for yourself. How can generations of people who grew up with such teachings not behave like fighting cocks? Regardless of whether a matter is important or trivial, people from Mainland China argue and fight fiercely over everything. Chairman Mao once said, "Fighting with heaven, fighting with earth, and fighting with human beings, what a great pleasure!" We all learned to fight with heaven, earth and other human beings. Whether those are truly pleasurable activities, who knows?

In the early 1980s, when I went to college, I came to know about traditional Chinese culture for the first time in my life. I was shocked and amazed by the ancient Chinese teachings of "one should be calm, kind, polite, modest and giving" and "we speak of charity of heart and of duty towards one's neighbor, of propriety, of wisdom, and of truth." I was overwhelmed by the peaceful and tranquil state of mind that it tried to instill in people. As I was growing up, all I ever learned was about fighting with heaven and earth, and holding fervent revolutionary activities. Once I came face to face with a peaceful and tranquil world, I felt lost. From then on, I often thought to myself, "Which one is more advanced, the ancient Chinese philosophy of heaven and the people being one, or the philosophy of class struggle of the Communist Party? Which one is right, the Taoist teaching of 'Man follows the earth, the earth follows heaven, heaven follows the Tao, and the Tao follows what is natural' or the Communist teaching of 'man should turn heaven and earth upside down and change everything?'"

After I read the "Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party," everything suddenly became clear to me. The Chinese people, including those who dislike the Communist party intensely, have been poisoned by the Communist Party, to the point where we have learned to accept warped behavior as the norm and can't change it overnight. Let's go back to the story about my son. In the West, parents are told that when a child misbehaves, you should neither beat him nor yell at him on the spot. Instead you should call a "time out" and ignore him until the child calms down. Only in Mainland China are parents told to beat or yell at their children on the spot when the children misbehave.

The moral of the story is: In order to completely eliminate the residual poison that the Chinese Communist Party instilled in us, we must start by purging it from our own speech and actions. We must rectify and cleanse ourselves with what's good and traditional in the Chinese culture to completely purge the unkind, unforgiving and demonic values installed by the Chinese Communist Party.

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