In the book, ‘Confucius Lives Next Door’, Reid attempts to prove that Asian cultures and way of life are significantly better than in the Western nations. There are various statements he makes to drive his point home and these statements have a significant pull on the reader to look upon Asia more favorably than the Western world.
Reid points out that ‘Japan still has the largest foreign currency reserves in the world even after years of recession.’ This is an important fact as it was used throughout the book to explain how every Japanese had a substantial amount of cash and that it was more equitably distributed than in the Western countries.
‘Stealing was very shameful so a mountain bike that was not locked would be considered very safe in the streets.’ This quote emphasizes how the Japanese had very high standards and respect for other people’s property. This respect for other people’s property has led to very many successes in Japan both politically and economically (Reid, 2000).
‘There is no original sin in the Confucian cosmology. All humans are good, and thus any person has the potential to become a member of ruling elite.’ This quote from the book demonstrates how the Japanese give everyone a fair chance at redemption. There are very few if any cases of discrimination in Japanese culture.
‘Confucius came up with Five Basic Loyalties that should be entrusted onto everyone.’ The quote explains how relationships between the people and their rulers came about. Confucius taught that the leader should accord his people the same amount of respect that his position commands of them. It also explains the loyalty between parents and their children, between siblings, and between the elders and the juniors in the community. The loyalty and respect within these familial structures has led to a level of social cohesiveness that is not present in many Western nations.
In the book ‘Children of Dust’ by Ali Eteraz, the young Muslim attempts to portray some of the differences and similarities between growing up in a culture dominated by religion and one where religion has been pushed to the periphery. ‘Because Saleem was louder about Islam than I was, he was considered more of a man.’ The quote aptly demonstrates the universal truth of religion. The louder one is in professing his religion, the more the crowd is convinced that he is pious and zealous about his religion. This truth is universal because it holds true in both the Islamic culture and the Western civilizations.
‘Muslim girls were my immediate “target,” because there were certain in-built advantages I could exploit. First, my aura as a “pious brother” was still intact. That reputation allowed me to…initiate conversations with girls without having them think that I was hitting on them’ (Eteraz, 2009). Despite his ‘pious’ nature Eteraz is like every other red-blooded man in the world as this quote demonstrates. One would expect that his pious nature and his reverent following of the tenets of his religion would make him abhor treating women in this manner. In fact, his aim was to deflower them, which would have made them instant outcasts according to the Quran.
From this quote, we see that Islam is not very different to Christianity and Western (American) civilization in regards to how both these cultures view and treat women. Men from both cultures view women as mere objects to be taken advantage of at the slightest opportunity. Christina men also use their faith to get the attention of young devout females in a bid to deflower them despite the fact that Christians are supposed to save themselves for marriage.
Eteraz, A. (2009). Children of Dust: A Portrait of a Muslim as a Young Man. Broadway, NY: HarperOne Publishers.
Reid, T.R. (2000). Confucius lives next door: what living in the East teaches us about living in the West. New York, NY: Vintage Books.