Sunday, 23 October 2011

Foshan Hit-and-run toddler and Mencius

Recently a tragic incident involving a toddler in Foshan being knocked over by two vehicles has caused an outraged in China. The incident has been caught on CCTV camera that shocked many viewers. The outrageous thing was 18 passersby did nothing to help the toddler until a rubbish collector moved her to the side.The two year old girl Yueyue is now confirmed to be dead after battling for her life the last several days under intensive care in hospital. This incident has got many people talking on the internet about the lack of  morals in modern Chinese society and how to encourage good Samaritans in society. Also consider that similar incidents are frequent China.

Read more here

We can refer to the virtue of ancient Confucius philosopher Mencius' Four Beginnings of human nature. He used an example of a child falling down the well to show that humans are born with the tendency to be good.

“If people witness a child about to fall down a well, they would experience a feeling of fear and sorrow instantaneously without an exception. This feeling is generated not because they want to gain friendship with the child’s parents, nor because they look for the praise of their neighbors and friends, nor because they don’t like to hear the child’s scream of seeking help. Therefore, it can be suggested that without a mind of commiseration is not human, that a person without a mind of mortification is not human, that a person without a mind of conciliation is not human, and that a person without a mind of discernment is not human. The mind of commiseration is the driving force of benevolence. The mind of mortification is the driving force of righteousness. The mind of conciliation is the driving force of propriety. The mind of discernment is the driving force of wisdom. A person has these four driving forces, just the same as he has four limbs.”

Unfortunately the sage's words have little relevance to the passersby when the poor little girl got ran over. However Mencius also mentioned that although all human contain the the four virtues it requires the nourishment through education and upbringing in decent environment where human goodness can be achieved. If the saying is right then that not only says something about those 18 people but also the current state of China.

RIP Yueyue

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