In China,we have an old saying that goes: Jin Zhu Zhe Chi,Jin Mo Zhe Hei(近朱者赤,近墨者黑).Literally translated,it roughly means something like: Get close to The color red,you'd become red;Get close to the Color Black,there's pretty good chance you'd turn Dark.
The environment could go a long way toward transforming your character traits,it seems to enlighten,or rather,warn.
Like any other theory put forward,old or new,it encounters no shortage of disagreement,rebuttals and examples readily cited to the contrary.Some argue,the environment sure counts;but it's not everything.An intrinsically upright man would never be found doing things illegit even if he spends days and nights among thieves.Only those weak-willed,erro-prone and morally unreliable people would succumb to the evil temptations once induced to do so.
I know one guy would definitely take exception to this integrity-in-your-DNA argument and make strong cases for environment-holding-huge-sway point of view.He should know,Cuz he spoke from experience.He is the veteran journalist with Atlantic Monthly,James Fallows.And not coincidentally,his experience transpired in China.
In his article on this issue of AM,titled "how China is making me into a worse person",James talked and lamented about the "mistreatment" he encountered in China,the supposed "friendly,politely minded,tradition-conscious" nation,that proved notoriously unsavory and disillusioning,especially in terms of public manners."The one that makes me want to scream is when the first person onto an elevator starts rapidly pushing the Close button, to get moving before too many others pile on",wrote Fallows.
He also mentioned, in a comic fashion though not without a ring of truth,how he all but turned into a Japnese custom stickler during his stint there."After a previous stint in Japan, I realized that I had started bowing while talking on the phone, like the locals, and beginning the typical utterance with sumimasen ga, or “Excuse me, but.”"Then by an abrupt twist of pen,he pointed out what his chinese experience has managed to blunt him and well,to borrow his title,"make him into a worse person"."You think you can shove past me in the line at the airport or at the bank? Think again, buster.",Fallows swears.He now re-use his elbows as a sort of weapon which he learned to drop back in High school,he said.
Pathetic?Well,as a Chinese person myself,I feel shameful.We Chinese always despise the Japanese,mostly for the reason that they once invaded us,tormented us and now they denied everything.Despicably chicken.Japanese customs,as so highly lauded by Fallows,actually derives from China.Why the remnant of our traditions in a coward land could still serve to nourish,while the very source of that acclaimed customs is suffering from the lack of laudable virtues?What is it with China that has corrupted so imperceptibly our most valued traditions?What have made Chinese people worse people which so alarms the visiting foreigners?What should we do to revive it and incorporate it back into our everyday life,so that ten years from now foreingers like James Fallows would not refuse to be "exposed" to us for fear of the "Unprincipled Contagion"?
For this,May I have your attention?