Mo Yan: Only The Arrogant Views Others as Weak and Poor
   2013-07-01 12:17:35    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Jing

Mo Yan laughs during the discussion with young American writer John Randolph Thornton. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Guo Jing]

Related: Interview John Randolph Thornton on his Beautiful Country

Only when we view ourselves objectively, can we make a sensible judgment of others; it is an arrogant person who views others as weak and poor.

This was the view expressed by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, during a dialogue with a young man from the United States titled, 'How the World Imagines and Writes about China' on Sunday.


 

John Randolph Thornton, a 22-year-old Harvard student and author of the book 'Beautiful Country', speaks with 58-year-old Chinese writer Mo Yan on his view of China with regards to the need for empathy.

"I think many friends around me in America all have different and varying levels of understanding China. Without coming here, without studying the language or studying the culture, you can't really have an accurate view of the place. During the time I spent here, my understanding of China, of Beijing and of the culture here really became a lot more complex and a lot deeper. It's really key for my generation of Americans to learn more about China, to come here and develop a fuller understanding."

To experience empathy one must be able to put himself in another person's shoes to try to understand their feelings and the reasons behind their actions. Randolph expresses his sense of empathy towards Chinese people throughout his book.

Thus, compared to many Westerners who believe stereotypes about China, Randolph takes a more comprehensive view towards the country where he had spent a year whilst still a teenager.

Mo Yan praises Thornton's view and says that empathy helps enable smoother communication between people and countries.

"If an American could see things from China's perspective, he would be welcomed by the Chinese. Conversely, if you impose your ideas on others, no one would want to be your friend or neighbor. There is an old Chinese saying -- never impose onto others what you would not choose for yourself. I further believe that even when a practice has been proved successful in your country, you have no right to force other countries to follow it."

Mo Yan supported his view by sharing his experience of entertaining foreign friends abroad. Many friends told him that Westerners prefer going Dutch, whereas he believes that in China people prefer paying the bill when entertaining to demonstrate their hospitality towards their friends. So he insisted on paying the bill and didn't find the foreign friends displeased.

Mo says that through this story we can know that sometimes Chinese people also view foreigners in a Chinese way and mistake their thoughts. From the perspective of human nature, people are not that different.

Through relating to others via empathy, we can begin to view them more objectively. But before that, Mo Yan thinks that we should first try to understand ourselves better and be modest.

"Developing an understanding of yourself, your country and also your school is an essential course of life. Those who can assess themselves correctly will judge the outside world objectively. An arrogant person must view others as weak and poor. So we need to be fair, rational and modest."

Literature provides a good platform for empathy. It gives people access to understanding other countries and people objectively. Randolph says he wrote the book Beautiful Country to introduce the Chinese experience to the United States and promote, even if very little, cultural exchanges between the two countries.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  
Share

                  


CRIENGLISH.com claims the copyright of all material and information produced originally by our staff. All rights reserved. Reproduction of text for non-commercial purposes only is permitted provided that both the source and author are acknowledged and a notifying email is sent to us.

CRIENGLISH.com holds neither liability nor responsibility for materials attributed to any other source. Such information is provided as reportage and dissemination of information but does not necessarily reflect the opinion of or endorsement by CRI.

 
Listen
 
 

 
 
Highlights
Media Scan
Supervisors Hired to Monitor University Recruitment
Renmin University of China has recruited 10 supervisors to monitor undergraduate enrollment this year.
Penalty Enhanced for Killing, Eating Endangered Species
Anyone who eats an endangered species at restaurants could receive criminal punishment, according to a judicial draft that is being reviewed this week by China's top legislature.
CHINATALKS
Video
• C4: Looking at Porn
Join us for the latest episode of CRI's hilarious comedy news show.
• Reel China: The Great Hyponotist
Join us this week for a look at Chinese phychological thriller, "The Great Hypnotist".
In Depth

• China
China News
Chinese Press
Diplomatic
Society
Gallery
• World
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Americas
Middle East
Africa
• Video
Traveller
Culture Heritage
Beyond Stardom
Dynamic China

Life 360
Panoramic Sports
• Radio
Highlights
Livecast
Ways to Listen
• Business
Audio
Markets
Editor's Choice
Biz Photo
Special Coverage
• Travel
Destinations
Editor's Pick
What's in
On the Road
• Showbiz
Chinese Films
Music & Stage
Art & Literature
Video
Photo Gallery
Special Coverage
• Language Learning
Ask Pingping and Jules
Chinese Studio
Elementary Chinese
Pop Charts
English News
English Snippets