It seems, these days, that it's not P.C. to praise Western culture- or worse, 'Western Civilization'. While it is true that Europeans and their progeny (Australians, Americans, Canadian, white South Africans, New Zealanders) have done some horrible things in recent history, and imposed their culture- often brutally- on others, it does not mean that Western culture is without its redeeming virtues. In fact, to anyone who has lived in the Third World (or 'The South' as academics now refer to it), its obvious that there are many good things about Western culture that people of other cultures could learn from.
Besides the obvious big advantages of Western culture: democracy, the rule of law, human rights, there are other, often overlooked ones. Here, I'll name just a few.
1. Charity. Surprise: it's not a universal value. In Asian cultures, the family comes first, then friends. Strangers are 'not my problem'. The idea that anyone would go out of his or her way to care for a total stranger, or offer him aid, is completely alien and incomprehensible to most Asians. That's part of the reason orphans are not well taken care of in China and Korea. If it's not my child, why should I care for it? It's only national pride and embarrassment which has prompted Koreans recently to encourage adoption within their country.
2. Courtesy to strangers. In Canada, if you walk through a door behind someone else, you expect the person in front of you to at least make sure that it doesn't swing shut in your face. In China or Korea, you can't assume that. And when I hold the door open for strangers in China or Korea, they are dumbfounded. In China, if you want to get off a crowded bus, you just push and elbow aside anyone in your way. Nobody is offended or surprised. Also, lying to or cheating a customer (as long as he's a stranger) is considered in no way immoral.
3. Waiting in line. Yes, believe it or not, queuing is not a universal practice. If you've ever seen Chinese at a bus stop or train station, you'll realize this. The result is absolute chaos, and occasional injury.
4. The honour system. Corruption in Africa, Latin America and Asia is staggering. In many countries it is impossible to get any business done without bribing someone. Cheating at many Asian universities is so bad that a degree is virtually meaningless. Even driver's licenses and (probably) pilot's licenses can simply be bought. Forget about getting justice in court, if your adversary is richer than you.
5. Civic responsibility. Oddly enough, in a supposedly socialist country like China, there is no sense of civic or communal responsibility. People just throw garbage in any communal space, and no-one thinks of cleaning it up, except the paid street sweepers. Even in apartment buildings, the common areas (stairwells, etc.) are often filthy and in terrible disrepair, and no-one seems to bother about it, because it's not their own private space.
6. Addresses. This is a small thing, but surprisingly in many parts of the world they haven't figured out how to do street addresses. In China, they don't commonly have street signs- except perhaps for major thoroughfares. In Korea, building numbers are chronological, not geographical. In other words, the first building erected on a street is 'one', the second is 'two'- so on a typical street the addresses would be: 1, 42, 105, 3, 14, 7, 189.
7. Planning ahead. One of the infuriating things about working in China, and to a lesser extent Korea, is that they are incapable (it seems) of forethought. If I'm teaching university classes on Monday, no matter how much I beg them to give me my timetable on Friday, they won't. Because it hasn't been composed yet. When I handed a syllabus to my students at the beginning of the semester, telling them what I would be teaching everyday for that semester, they were astounded. How could anyone plan so far ahead? (Actually, I was bluffing: since no-one had determined when the semester would end, I just guessed how many classes I would be teaching).
There are other virtues: sanitation, punctuality, etc., but that's enough for now. I think you get my point: Western culture ain't so bad. In fact, compared to other cultures, it's really quite good. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
hi,before i go to us,i think it's my last time to comment you artical in my home
yes ,we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.but if they didn't come to china they will never know.
so their as a chinese ,i will say
it's a old saying :"if you never go to the hell,you will never where is the heaven
What does that even mean? That I base my opinions on my own experience and observations and not what I've read or heard other people say?
If I said bad things about western culture, you'd have no problem with that, would you? So who is biased?
Many people are so brainwashed into thinking "Western culture bad; all other culture good!" that they don't see that there is good and bad in every culture, and western culture, on balance, is as good as any other.