There is a more recent Chinese saying “Bang Li Bu Bang Ching”, literally translated word-by-word as “support logic, do not support relatives”. This idiom wants to bring out the importance of siding with logic and what is right. Being Asian (or Chinese), we tend to have the culture of siding and helping our own family members first. Everyone else is considered outsiders. This is quite prevalent in Asia and brings about the whole cronyism issue. Cronyism promotes mediocrity and devalues capability. Truly capably, smart and experienced personnel are always second-tier as oppose to kinsmen of the boss/king.

Right at the root of cronyism, is this saying. To be truly rid of it, we have got to practice and live-up to the idiom. If someone is logical and right, we must support him/her. And along the same line, we must stand up and oppose if he/she is wrong, no matter how close they are to us. Even if they are a relative, your father, your husband and even your child. For example, if your father kills someone and he did it out of anger, he is in the wrong. Thus, you cannot side with him even if you love him. Why is that so? Because you have to think about others. If you side with him and try to hide him, what if he kills another person in future? So, at this example, there is no grey area. Once you have found out the truth and you are sure that your father did kill someone out of anger, he is wrong. And you will have no reason to side with him.

That is a drastic example, so let us look at a more suitable example for our day-to-day life. I have a lousy 5th uncle and he borrowed from loan shark. He managed to borrow money from them by telling them that he has an elder brother (my 3rd uncle) that runs a successful restaurant. So, I think before the loan shark gave my 5th uncle the money, the loan shark dropped by my 3rd uncle restaurant and had a quick look to check this. Usually, if you do not have a stable job (like my 5th uncle), loan shark will not easily borrow you money because they know you will not be able to pay them back. So, they need collateral. Borrowing money from the bank has the same process. Anyway, to shorten the long story, my 5th uncle was unable to pay back the money and he ran off to another city. Thus the loan shark came to my 3rd uncle restaurant and demanded money from 3rd uncle. But my 3rd uncle wasn’t planning to pay on 5th uncle behalf so the loan shark had to threaten my 3rd uncle. They pour red paint all over the front porch of his restaurant. And many Chinese people in the community saw and start gossiping about it.

One of them (Ah Boy) posted on facebook stating the obvious. Ah Boy mentioned that this must be the work of loan shark and the owner (my 3rd uncle) must have borrowed money or in some ways associated with the loan shark. Otherwise, they would not have disturbed him. When my 4th auntie read the posting on facebook, she became very angry at Ah Boy. So, my 4th auntie wrote on Ah Boy’s facebook and scolded him. She lied by saying that the loan shark made a mistake and poured red paint at the wrong restaurant. She scolded Ah Boy for being nosy and saying things that he didn’t know, and accusing the good name of others. End of story.

Now think about this example. Who is at fault? Who is wrong? My 4th auntie scolded a stranger to side with my 3rd uncle. The stranger (Ah Boy) had just stated the obvious and made no malicious accusation on 3rd uncle. Although it is none of his concern but he was scolded for stating the fact. And to make it so that she appears right, my 4th auntie lied and say that the red paint has nothing to do with my 3rd uncle. It has because my 3rd uncle is stupid enough not to make a clean break with my 5th uncle. So, it is his own fault to get associated with 5th uncle. If your own brother is doing all the wrong things, you have to advice him and make him stop. But if he never listens, then you will have to get away from him. My 4th auntie obviously pities my 3rd uncle for working so hard but get red paint splashed all over his shop front but she was trying to hide the facts because 3rd uncle is his brother.

So what is a better approach to this? For me, I will comment on Ah Boy’s facebook but I will not scold him for his observation. I will probably say something like “My 3rd uncle worked very hard and he is not the type to borrow money from loan shark. I’m sure there is more to this than just your observation”. Well, this is just one example. I shall list out other examples in life below and you be the judge which side should you side…

–          Your best friend ‘A’ competes with her classmate for the ‘class beauty’ award. ‘A’ lost and she started to say bad words about her classmate, saying that she flirted with the teachers etc.

–          Your mother argues with your neighbor. She claims that your neighbor purposely sweeps all the leaves over to your porch, and then your mum tries to sweep over the leaves to your neighbor porch daily.

–          Your husband was driving and he knocked at someone’s car when he was reversing. You noticed that he was careless and didn’t bother looking over the back mirror when he reversed. Then, your husband got out of the car very mad and started scolding the other driver saying that it’s her fault.

–          Your son got into a fight with his classmate. According to him, the other boy tried to take his food. But according to the other boy’s parents, your son was throwing food at him. You are not sure who is right or wrong.

I think from most of the example, you have to admit that, sometimes, its just grey area and you are unsure who is right or wrong.  You should know your close relatives (best friend, mother, husband & son) best since they are always by your side. Thus, when something happens, you should know intuitively if he/she is lying. You have to judge correctly. Well, what happen after you have determine who is right & wrong? Should you stood up and just scold your husband? No. You have to be tactful and do it at the right time. In most times, your relatives are not stupid. They are just emotional and being in the heat of moment, they took the wrong action. During those heated times, if its not the right time, there is no point for you to stood up or go against him/her even if he is wrong. But you must remember to remind him/her after. This is very very important because if you don’t, you will turn him/her into a monster.

Let’s take the last example about your son. Since you do not know who is right or wrong, you have to take the correct approach for any situation. And that means, you should make your son apologize because no matter what, getting into a fight is bad in the first place. Bang Li Bu Bang Ching is emotion VS rationality. We always try to be on the rational side, and not emotional. There is something about making the correct judgment by being rational + a bit of emotion, and this is call intuition. But I shall elaborate on this the next time.