Thursday, November 27, 2014

Good News Journal (1)

Some time ago I said I wanted to start a 'good news newspaper'. I'm sure others have already done that. So, here is a story that warmed my heart. Except that that there is often more to good stories. Some years down the road, we may learn that all is not what it appears to be.

Never mind. For now let us just enjoy:

Chinese millionaire builds free luxury homes for entire village where he grew up

The timing was also serendipitous as I had watched on 'catch-up' TV a programme about Tatler. This programme featured rich Nigerians in the UK, multi-millionaires. My meandering thoughts were just going: if only these multi-millionaires could spare a million or two for their fellow countrymen, how different would Nigeria be?

Extrapolating this argument I think of all the ultra-rich Chinese and Russians which are flooding the west, buying up land and homes. What if -- WHAT IF -- each of these would just spare a million each for their fellow countrymen. What a huge difference would that make?

This Chinese millionaire story is, I believe, not isolated. I have read previously about Chinese migrants who had done well and returned to their ancestral villages to rebuild village halls and so forth. It is just that this one man was able to do this on a much larger scale.

“I earned more money than I knew what to do with and I didn't want to forget my roots,” he said.

Zinging around in the air also were the accusations of rape against Bill Cosby. The singer Pharrell Williams -- commenting on the shooting in Ferguson -- implied that he was very much inspired by Cosby. He is entitled to that opinion.

I have long wondered why it is that there are not many more 'Cliff Huxtables' on TV and in real life. It seems to me that some people 'get it', worked hard, made good, and then move out of the area where they lived and that is that.

Pharrell said something else (apparently at a previous interview with Oprah Winfrey) that 'the new black doesn't blame others [sic] races for our issues'.

Talking to a Christian leader from the Caribbean some years back, he alluded to how some black people blamed their plight (of whatever nature) on their history of slavery. Growing up Chinese my world was full of folk tales of how diligence will always triumph over adversity.

If there is a will, there is a way. We can turn a block of iron into a fine needle (只要功夫深,铁杵磨成针). Or there was the 'foolish man' who moved a mountain that caused him great inconvenience (愚公移山).

That was my privileged heritage. It taught me the 'can do' attitude.

I wonder what the young people in Ferguson and similar towns learn of their own heritage. Is there any cultural capital from which they could draw to think the Pharrell way?

And when people in Ferguson do become successful and wealthy -- as surely at least some of them do -- how many would move away, or how many would return like the Chinese millionaire to make a difference?

Recalling the ostentatious wealth of some of the newly rich, what could you do with ten million which you cannot do with nine million?

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