"What a docile child!"

I am sorry to say that my own culture is one of those that Tina Seelig mentioned in the above quote taken from her book What I Wish I Knew When I was 20. I can testify, with my childhood experience, to the observation that people from a young age are taught to follow a prescribed path and not to try anything that might lead to disappointment. I remember well how, both at home and at school, my attempts to express myself were brutally suppressed. I also remember how, every time I displayed behaviours that aligned with the expectations of adults, I would be rewarded with the remark: “What a docile child!” As I was to realize as I grew up, “docile”, a word which literally means easy to manage or handle, is a curse rather than a blessing. What it praises is nothing more than obedience. What good does it do to encouraging a child to be independent, creative and adventurous?

In our culture, the “prescribed path with a well-defined chance of success” Tina Seelig talked about is this total obedience and submission to authority. It is not difficult to see its application in the workplace and in politics. China has never managed to exorcise the feudal ghost.

No comments: