From the ReadersThink beyond Big Culture(China Daily)Updated: 2010-08-24 09:57Large Medium SmallComment on “Cultural Well-Being” (China Daily, Aug 20)
I read with interest your editorial on investing in culture as a “barometer of civilization”, something that the worlds second largest economy should ponder upon soon as befits its status. But the focus was on culture with a capital “C” or “Big Culture”. I think it is equally important to stress “small culture”, which reflects peoples everyday habits, behaviors and attitudes.
I am thinking of quite small things here: cutting queues, screaming ones lungs out over the phone on buses, placing wet umbrellas on bus seats (rendering them unserviceable), eating out half naked (which many men do), disrespecting traffic rules (especially treating pedestrians as mere nuisance), smoking in lifts, throwing banana skins on the pavements – the list can go on. I think that the Ministry of Education may want to look into courtesy and consideration; nowadays many only children are inward looking without regard to others, especially in public.
Art, film, music and literature do indeed nourish the mind and cultivate the soul, but they will remain empty platitudes when these common courtesies are not in place. I have frequently wondered about the apparent mismatch between the worlds oldest continuing civilization and what happens on the ground.
Thomas David Chavez, via e-mail
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