Close to Christ's teachings

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 1995, 12:00am

I REFER to Christine Loh's column headlined, 'Dangers of the Confucian doctrine', which appeared in the South China Morning Post, on December 4.

In the article, Ms Loh said, 'Historically, Confucianism established an ethical code and a political philosophy which tended to maintain a patriarchal society where women were devalued, and there was strict social order in the state. In a Confucian state people would keep their allotted places in the society.' All that was written in the above paragraph would be correct, if Ms Loh had inserted the following words, 'Historically, Chinese emperors and governments and male heads of families had incorrectly used Confucianism to establish . . . '.

Confucius' thoughts about government were stated in one of his two greatest works, Great Learning: 'For a country to become great, it must have its family units thinking and acting correctly, for a family unit to think and act correctly, each family member must think and act correctly.' In Great Learning and his other greatest work, The Analects, Confucius described what 'thinking and acting correctly' means.

This code of actions and thinking suggested to us by Confucius, is remarkably similar to the teachings of Jesus Christ. All self-respecting persons would agree with Confucius' idea of how one should conduct oneself: 'Do not do to others what you do not wish them to do unto you.' Starting with this central point, it would be easy to find the meaning of 'thinking and acting correctly'.

Unfortunately for China, Chinese emperors in China's history and even to this day, some Chinese leaders in Asia, choose to interpret 'thinking and acting correctly' as meaning 'blind following of a blind agreement with the top man/lady'.

Nowhere in Confucius' works can such a statement be found. In fact, Confucius said, 'If your parent(s) or your superior is acting or thinking incorrectly, it is your duty to inform them politely of their mistake.' This is how I understand the way democracy works, except a lot of democrats nowadays choose to neglect the 'politely' part.

Ms Loh is one of the few democrats who practices the Confucian way of telling the Government politely that it is wrong at times.

I am very disappointed that Ms Loh chooses to inform us that the Confucian way of government has dangers. Is she confused by some of our Asian leaders who are misinterpreting the Confucian way for us? ALEX WOO Central