Online Comic: Great Anny’s Parents Visit Her in Beijing

GreatAnny's parents visit he


Online comics by post-’90s generation Chinese artist Chen Anni (aka “Great Anny”) have appeared on chinaSMACK multiple times in the past. With over 8 million followers on Sina Weibo, her comics regularly rank among the day’s, week’s, and month’s most popular microblog posts on the popular Chinese social network.

From Sina Weibo:

@伟大的安妮: My parents came to visit me in Beijing.







Comments from Sina Weibo:


Anny, post ads, I won’t unfollow, smooches.


( ¯ ¨̯ ¯̥̥ ) It’s my turn, to be the one you depend on!


Why is Anny dear so popular? It’s precisely because Anny’s “Three Views” [views on the world, life, and values] are very proper.


Anny, accept advertising…so uncle and auntie [her parents] can stay in a large hotel. [可怜] This is what is what you and they deserve for moving all of us [with your work]. [心]


[泪] Now I know why you don’t buy shoes, love u.


Anny, hurry and put out merchandise. We are all willing to let you make money.


Which is why when you buy mobile phones or anything for your parents you never tell them the price…


About Chapter 5, what I want to say is actually your mom watching that upper-class lady for so long wasn’t because she envied her clothes but because she wanted to see why that woman was sitting there for so long without anyone with her, while she herself was so fortunate to have her daughter and husband beside her~


Actually they’re probably just anxious for a grandchild…


My mom also just recently came from Guangdong up to Dongbei [Northeast China] to see me, which is farther than where Anny is. When she was buying clothes for me, she said to me: “There may not be many years left for me to buy you clothes before you’ll be someone else’s [married]. I want to buy you more clothes while you are still mine.” I turned my head around and fell silent. To always love her [my mom], this is the one thing I can do.

Don’t forget your parents this holiday season. We hope you enjoyed this comic that resonated with so many Chinese netizens. Please consider becoming a patron of our translation work. Have a good weekend.
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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Luke the Duke

    Yeah, because old people are so naive and inexperienced that they need the help navigating the world they live in.

    • Kai

      Strange how so many people got that impression from this comic of hers. Where does it suggest that?

      • Luke the Duke

        Final picture, final three sentences.

        • Kai

          She’s saying she grew up relying on her parents for always having the answers and knowing what to do, that they were there for her when she needed them. Now that they’re at an age where they are no longer so seemingly all-powerful and she has grown up, she can be the one who can be there for them, to take care of them. It’s a pretty common feeling grown children have with regards to their aging parents, no?

          The set up is in her mom worrying they won’t always have the physical ability to travel so far just to come see her when they want to. Hearing this, Anny realizes they’re getting old and it’s time for her to be their rock as they were her rock when she was young. It isn’t about accusing them of being naive and inexperienced, it’s about being there for the ones you love.

          • Zappa Frank

            yes, to be her rock, this is in my vision a wrong concept. parents have to stay independent. the story that parents have to rely on child at the old age is typical of a past farmer’s society. if parents of less than 80 have to rely on their children it means they aged in a really bad way and therefore they are at fault in this..

          • Luke the Duke

            It’s about treating her parents as if they are helpless and weak.

          • Kai

            I think that’s a misreading of her sentiment, and not the sentiment the people who upvoted and praised her work identify with.

      • Mihel

        Some parts are very patronising.
        My parents (especially my father) would feel insulted if I were to book an hotel for them, pay their stay/meals and buy them an expensive phone.
        They wouldn’t see me as an adorable daughter, they’d see me as being a presumptuous brat who thinks too highly of herself.

        • Kai

          Interesting, I’m curious if anyone else feels it is common for parents to feel insulted by their grown children ocassionally treating them or buying them gifts, especially for special occassions like a rare visit from faraway.

          I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the impression of this reaction being common in the West or East but I’m open to considering it might be some sort of cultural difference for certain places. Anyone have any input?

          • Mihel

            Ok, “insulted” is an exaggeration as I like (mis)using hyperboles, but really, when it comes to money they won’t easily accept their children paying for them.
            As for gifts, I was specifically referring to expensive gifts (outside occasions like Christmas).
            My dad would be like “Darling I was booking hotels when you were still shitting in your pants, thank you. Also I can have all iPhones I want without your charity, so thank you again for thinking I’m old and retard.”

          • Kai

            As the old saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts.” I think Anny and her parents implicitly understand that Anny has no intention of being patronizing or of insinuating that her parents can’t take care of themselves. I think they understand that she’s being hospitable in booking their hotel and taking them out to eat, probably because she’s way more familiar with Beijing than they are. They understand she’s playing host and that she’s trying to be filial, not condescending. Since I know Westerners do similar stuff all the time for their parents or even friends as a dutiful or friendly gesture, I’m not inclined to interpret it as patronizing.

            To look at it another way, what factors would influence a parent to think their child is “patronizing” them in merely trying to be a good host for their visiting parents in a city they call home but which is largely strange for the parents?

            Now, every person is different, which I think I allude to in my previous paragraph, but I’m not convinced the dynamic represented in this comic is atypical of the world. Hope you understand my position.

            As for expensive gifts, I doubt Anny is buying them expensive gifts all the time. She also explicitly mentioned that her father previously wouldn’t let her or his wife buy one for him, which means her parents have the means but he opted for forgo what he considers a luxury. It is when Anny sees that he actually enjoys using a smartphone that she realizes he’s been obstinately against getting one only because he’s thrifty and self-sacrificing. She unilaterally decides she’s going to get him one or else he’ll never get one for himself on his own. She didn’t have to get him a fancy expensive smartphone, but she opted to, not because she’s patronizing but just because she wants to give him something good, out of love. When he hears the price, he, out of love, wants her to return it, because he doesn’t want her to get him something he considers expensive and may be a financial burden on her. There’s a loving harmony in both reactions that has nothing to do with anyone trying to or thinking the other is patronizing.

            But again, maybe some people would interpret it that way and that’s fine. I just don’t think that’s a terribly common response, unless there were other factors involved.

            I think most parents in the world barring the leeches of society would object to their kids always paying for them, but I think Anny’s parents recognize that this is a rare occasion and there’s no harm in letting Anny show her love in such ways. Love is both give and take, both appreciation and generosity, and the actions that symbolize them.

          • Mihel

            Oh yes, I absolutely understand you position Kai and I don’t think the situation illustrated here is atypical anywhere east or west. Yet some panels portray perfectly capable parents as needy people out of touch with reality with the intent of romanticising filial duty.
            I see my current self a lot in this comic (university student that lives far from parents, parents are not rich, I am not rich etc), but the last three sentences do not resonate with me at all. Parents lived in this world longer than me, were less spoiled in their youth and had to work harder. I just do not presume I am that much ahead of them that they need depend on me.
            Dudes can fend for themselves.

          • Kai

            I’m sure there’s some romanticizing in some of these panels because it is, after all, trying to tell a story and communicate a point so there’s probably some artistic license. I’m just not sure how objectionable they are. Specifically, what panels do you feel portray the parents as “needy people out of touch with reality”? Maybe you are interpreting them in a way unintended?

            Anny’s situation is a little different from yours. She’s already working and making money. Whether she is more financially successful than her parents is unknown but perhaps reasonably assumed. If you’re unfamiliar with her, you perhaps can’t be faulted for not having this contextual awareness so no worries about that, just be aware of it now.

            THAT SAID, the last three sentences are not about her thinking she’s “that much ahead of” her parents and thus they need to “depend” on her in any sort of financial/practical fashion. I suspect you’re interpreting this out of proper context. Yes, a lot of the comic shows instances of her “providing for” her parents during their trip, but the immediate context those lines are connected to is that last sequence where she realizes her parents are getting old, love her so much that they were happy just to see her again, and that she depended on them so much in her youth. Not in terms of food and basic survival, but in terms of emotional support (“I always felt they knew what to do” when “I had done bad on a test, was picked on, or had made some mistake”). She’s saying she grew up feeling her parents always had the answers, always knew what to do, and were there for her. She’s saying she’s grown up now and she wants to be there for them in their waning years. It’s a sentiment of loving reciprocation, not of thinking oneself so superior to her parents.

            Look over that last series and see if you can see what I’m saying here. I don’t think the English translations are bad and thus misleading. Also consider if you think this comic would be so popular if your interpretation was accurate. Do you think all these Chinese netizens are upvoting the sentiment of a child thinking they’re so much ahead of their parents that the latter needs to depend on them? Unless you have some really cynical views about Chinese people, that wouldn’t seem likely, right? Cheers.

          • Mihel

            Let me preface this post by saying I have not really commented on this comic after a deep analysis but just after a quick read and some superficial analogies between the protagonist’s situation and my own.
            I indeed was not aware she was more financially successful than her parents (which I am certainly not *sniff*), having only read this five chapters I got the impression she was just a student with good grades and a probably decent job. She seems to be in her early twenties, this is not an age I presume most people to already be more financially successful than their parents.
            I don’t believe the comic would have been this popular were it not for the fact that filial duty has an intrinsic appeal in China (so I am told) or that my interpretation is accurate/representative of anything other than my limited experience with parents-daughter relationship. It’s the embellishment of those noble feelings that made me and lots of other netizens shed virtual tears.
            Kai, I don’t know if I have to read your last question as a veiled insinuation that I am looking chinese people in a negative way, as I was not really focusing my comments on their reactions. I rarely if ever partake in the usual “let’s criticise chinese people in every possible way ever” game than many users here are so fond of.

            That said, you write a lot, I feel morally obliged to make an equally long response but obscure browser shenanigans already deleted my reply twice >:|

          • Kai

            (which I am certainly not *sniff*)

            LoL, chin up, you’re still young and have plenty of time to reach for that goal if that’s among what you want in life.

            I don’t believe the comic would have been this popular were it not for the fact that filial duty has an intrinsic appeal in China

            I’m of the belief that filial piety (loving and being good to your parents) has an intrinsic appeal with most people around the world so it wouldn’t only be Chinese people who can identify with the figurative circumstances and messages of this comic.

            It’s the embellishment of those noble feelings that made me and lots of other netizens shed virtual tears.

            I didn’t get the impression you shed tears for this comic. Haven’t you been critical of it (due to what I think is a misunderstanding) since the beginning?

            Anyway, I suppose where I differ from you here is that I’m not even inclined to accuse the comic of embellishing. We mentioned “romanticising” but I didn’t find the details or presentation of what Anny claims she experienced to beg belief or are clearly products of her imagination added only to dramatize. I warrant it’s possible, but what do you think are “embellishments”?

            Kai, I don’t know if I have to read your last question as a veiled insinuation that I…

            It’s not a veiled insinuation about you. It’s a response and a point made about your previous remark: “I just do not presume I am that much ahead of them that they need depend on me.”

            I understood you as remarking about your relationship with your parents.

            However, we are also having a discussion in the context of you describing this comic as “patronizing”. Therefore, we can’t avoid the implication of your remark being that this comic is patronizing because Anny presumes she is that much ahead of her parents that they need to depend on her. Since a lot of Chinese netizens identified with and upvoted this comic, the implication extends to them. You follow?

            I wanted to make the point that it is absurd to think these Chinese netizens identify with this comic because the message they saw in Anny’s comic was that her parents depend on her because she is that much ahead of her parents. How arrogant and conceited they must all be if that were the case, right?

            Do we cynically think Chinese people are characterized by arrogance and conceit? If so, then sure, that’s the reason they upvoted Anny’s comic, that’s the message in her comic, and that message is “patronizing”.

            But if we don’t cynically think Chinese people are that way, then we are forced to question our interpretation that the comic is “patronizing”. If it was so obviously insulting and patronizing, how did all these Chinese netizens (and non-Chinese netizens) identify with it and appreciate it so much?

            This is a situation where other people’s differing reactions to something we are beholding ought to prompt us to question if our reaction is founded upon a misunderstanding of what we’re beholding. Your reaction was that this comic is patronizing. I’m asking you to consider how so many other people’s differing reaction should prompt you to reevaluate whether or not your interpretation of the comic as “patronizing” is a misunderstanding.

            To be extra clear, the context and tone of my previous reply to you should reassure you that I didn’t intent to attack you personally, “veiled insinutation” or not. I was trying to articulate the above point (in less words!).

            Yeah, I write a lot. I wish I could feel confident in adequately conveying my specific thoughts with all their nuances in fewer words, but I too often can’t. It miffs me when I do so and people still don’t recognize the nuances, often because they’ve already decided how they want to interpret me. Meh. Cheers.

          • Zappa Frank

            i think the offensive part would be that kid take care of parents, like in the comic where she says ‘it is my turn to be the one you depend on’…(that is even false by the way, just a sentence for making sensitive people cry, how can she be the one her parents depends to if she lives in Beijing and her parents in guandong? nonsense) to say something like that to my parents (and even my granparents) wouldn’t be an act of courtesy, but rather they would reply ‘you have to live your life’..

          • Kai

            I think most people would understand–especially in context–that she is being figurative, not referring to paying for everything in their life or always physically being there to coddle them, but rather that she will be someone they can reach out to when they do need help, just as they were there for her when she was younger and needed their help. Distance in that case doesn’t matter, it’s about consciously making yourself available for someone you love when they might need you.

            Note that she doesn’t actually say that to her parents in the comic. It’s simply a resolution in her own mind. I find it difficult to imagine most parents or grandparents objecting to their grown kids or grandkids feeling some sort of desire to be someone their parents or grandparents can count on. Moreover, taking care of one’s parents doesn’t necessarily mean not living your own life. The two are not mutually exclusive.

            Anny’s obviously living her own life in Beijing, but the point she’s trying to communicate in this comic is the moment a child realizes the roles of dependency between parent and child have to some meaningful degree reversed and there is a passing of the torch. Her parents were the backbone of their family when she was young, but now it is her turn. It’s the circle of life!

          • Zappa Frank

            sincerely I doubt she can be someone to reach when parents need help.. if her mother broke her ankle to take the flight from beijng would take long time, she has to take vacation days just to see them.. what kind of help she could provide? just economic help and here we back to the point discussed in many posts. moral help? well, yeah.. come on, we can be realistic and simply say that she cannot be of any real help, even less be a backbone of anything, in case she may become the backbone of her new family if she marry and have a child. The life is not a circle it goes on. In case she would living in the same city we may discuss about if to help aging parents is something that ruin or not your life (she may be forced to live with them to assist them, clean them, and so on..) but that is not the case, so her words from my point of view are empty.

          • Kai

            Remember what I said about “figurative”. Her mom isn’t stupid. She’s not going to fly to Beijing because she broke her ankle, but she can have faith that her daughter will come see her for any serious injuries or illnesses. She can have faith that her daughter will help with any medical bills if they can’t afford them on their own. They can count on her to care.

            “Backbone” is also figurative, as in being the “pillar” of a family, just like working-age people are the “pillar/backbone” of society in general.

            The “circle” of life refers to cycles, that people are born, grow up, get old, and die. It “goes on” in cycles. Her parents reached their peak and now necessarily give way to their children, as Anny will have to when she gets old.

            I don’t think it is useful to interpret “being somone others can depend on” as that person being physically proximate. I would hope people understand it figuratively as a person you can depend on to care about you.

          • Zappa Frank

            So in the end is just an economic help if they need..that would be better having a welfare state. To come to see her for a sickness will likely be something in a while, nothing that we can call a not that she can really gives any care. I still don’t understand what kind of care she can offer except “moral”..this is the reason why I think her words are empty, good for easily move sensitive people, like a Disney movie.
            If people born, grow, get old and die I don’t understand how can be a circle, it is a progression from a being to an end, a line. It can be a circle of we, from outside, see the life of humans and consider every life to be equivalent from another, than a human die and a human born, a circle (not really considering that numbers are growing fast) but as human I wouldn’t call it a circle.

          • Kai

            I’ve tried to explain the meaning of her resolve to be someone her parents can depend on and unfortuntely, it isn’t coming across. Since I can’t think of another way, I’ll leave it here for now. I just don’t think it is hard to empathize with a child’s desire to care for her parents and be there for them as she feels they have cared for her and been there for her.

            Next, about the “circle of life”, maybe you can approach it by considering why other humans call it a circle? I think we all saw the Lion King, and as much as you may denigrate Disney movies, you can’t deny that they resonate with a lot of people. Why do all these people intuitively understand the concept of a “circle” of life?

          • Zappa Frank

            Things like “they resonate with a lot of people” don’t have any value, were just children’s cartoons, some simple emotions to move children, nothing deep behind. Even berlusconi “resonated” with many people, this is bad thing for people, not a demonstration of how good is berlusconi. Again circle can be called if you would be an outsider, how can your life be a circle, explain me that…
            About the comic, you’ve tried to explain, but if I have to be sincere I don’t think you made any point. Can you tell me exactly how can she be someone her parents depend on? Because this is the point, else are just empty words. After that we can even discuss whether to “modify” your life in order to help parents is a value or is an indoctrination of an old society that now is out of time (and again, is not a matter of west or east, it was present in the very same way before and somewhere is still present in west as well).

          • Kai

            I respectfully disagree. Things that resonate with people have IMMENSE value. Populism is an EXTREMELY important phenomenon to study and be mindful of. I never said things that resonate with people are “good”.

            The “circle of life” refers to life in general, not an individual’s life.

            I’m going to answer your question in a second but want to say I understand I haven’t fully gotten through to you about the comic. I’ve tried and I’ve failed. I’m content to let it stand because I know others understand and I don’t need every last person to see things as readily as I see them.

            She can be someone her parents can depend on by simply being someone who will look out for their interests, who will consider their feelings, comforts, aspirations, desires, needs, etc. We can’t depend on just anyone to care about us so much, but we do tend to depend on loved ones to care about us so much.

            Next, if someone has to “modify” their life to become someone who cares about their parents and whom their parents can rely upon to care about them, you’re probably “doing it wrong”.

            If you have the value of caring for your parents/elders/family/loved ones/etc., you generally live your life in a way where you already express concern for those people and they already know they can rely on you to have concern for them.

            This value is necessarily indoctrinated and I don’t think it is a value that is part of “old society”. It’s a very prevalent value in modern society as well, everywhere. Contrary to what someone like tomoe has carelessly generalized, Westerners care about their parents plenty, and there are plenty of dutiful Western sons and daughters.

            I think you may be thinking of a very extreme form of dependency and filial piety, and that’s confusing the discussion between us. Anny isn’t promoting any such extremity.

          • Zappa Frank

            IMMENSE value? well yes, from the point of view of the person that can take advantage of this it is. Sell easy emotion to irrational people.
            It’s not that I’ve never hear the ‘circle of life’ is that it doesn’t have any sense, else please explain it to me because from my point of view it remains a line.
            About the comic I think you are irrational and this is the reason why you cannot explain it. Again she takes care of their interest (how?, calling once in a while when she remembers?) consider their feeling aspiration desire and needs (from Beijing more likely she would not been even aware of what they really think or need unless they call to tell her, even that case what can she do? little at best). Simply there is no way she can do anything to take care of them, that’s reality, that’s why her words are pneumatic empty.
            Say you take care of your olds is another matter, first thing, that here seems not clear, we should clearly decide what we mean with ‘taking care of them’, because taking care of them like the comic is an easy task….you don’t do anything. taking care of them living in the same city and going to visit them every week is another thing, live in the same home another and if they are sick another one again. Each time what we miss of our lives increase more and more, and we can even say that we do out of love, and it doesn’t weight on us, but is not true, I would like to see someone who have to assist sick old parents says that it doesn’t weight.

          • Kai

            I worry that our different fluency in English is contributing to misunderstandings. You come across to me as being dismissive of things that resonate with people because you feel that resonating is based on emotion, thus irrational, thus exploitive and perhaps dangerous. I understand that, but the basic thing I am saying is that I find things that resonate with many to be worth attention. I think understanding what resonates with people helps us navigate our world and empathize with those we share it with.

            The “circle of life” is like “history repeats itself”. From a macroscopic view, we see life going through time in cycles (circles). Life is born, grows up, grows old, and dies…while its offspring carries life foreward with every generation repeating that same “cycle”. It’s a cycle of death and rebirth. Individually we come from the ground and we return to it. As a species, we collectively go through the same “life cycle” with every generation.

            About the comic, I’m offput by you equating my inability to explain the comic to you with me being “irrational”. That said, I think you misinterpret “being someone others can depend on” as having to be be physical availability instead of also emotional availability.

            My siblings and I are separated by a long distance, but I know if something is bothering me, even if my siblings aren’t nearby to notice it themselves or can’t do anything about it, I can rely on them to be concerned for me and to help in whatever way they can. Maybe they actually can do something that helps solve my problem, or maybe my problem can’t be “solved” (by them or anyone else) but they can listen to me, comfort me, or reassure me. Same with friends. This is a form of being there for people, of being someone others can depend on. There is no requirement that being someone others can depend on means being all-powerful and able to immediately solve any and all problems for that person. Being someone others can depend on just means having their confidence that you will make yourself available to them as best you can when necessary.

            Likewise, when Anny was young, her parents couldn’t literally solve all her problems. They weren’t physically present all the time to be aware of everything she needed, but she knew she could depend on them to be there for her. That’s the figurative meaning that you seem to be missing or dismissing as meaningless.

            Your last paragraph confirms to me that you are interpreting “taking care” of someone (ex. parents) in too literal and extreme a fashion. I had hoped my previous replies had communicated to you my broader understanding. Maybe this is a language issue or maybe it isn’t, but I hope you can consider this being one of the key points in our failure to understand each other. I hope you understand that “taking care” of someone doesn’t mean giving up your entire life for them, but simply being willing to give up some of your time and energy to help them because you love them. No one is arguing that being there for others out of love or obligation doesn’t impact our own lives and selfish interests. Love is what makes us compromise our interests for the interests of others. It’s a very normal, human thing. No one is saying assisting sick old parents isn’t a weight upon the children. Why do you think I or anyone is arguing that?

          • Zappa Frank

            no, it’s not a language issue, I understand perfectly what you say, but still for me doesn’t make sense, I think it makes sense to you only because you want to, because you like the idea itself…that’s my impression.
            if we consider that taking care of other people is what you mean well, we can say it is really a few… But Anny, when younger, had physical assistance, because she lived always with her parents and yes they solved her problems and took care of her…later probably only economic assistance if she went out of home to study, that’s is what she is grateful for. When she has became independent she didn’t need assistance anymore. Now let’s try to think what would have been for Anny if her parents ‘took care’ of her in your way, from distant, I don’t think she would be that grateful to them. Living far from your family (like you, but also me) makes clear that the “assistance” they can offer is limited or none so much that when you really are in need you don’t look for them but look for close friends… on the opposite, when you have problems probably don’t even tell parents/family that much because in the end you would only bring them discomfort and you know perfectly that they cannot give any help.. Now, if you want to see in ‘worry for them’, ‘knowing that she can find time for them'(a lot of time she needs indeed since she has eventually to come from Beijing, I think is highly unlikely), ‘comfort’ and all the other stuff, something that seems to match with the meaning of “taking care” I can tell you that in my opinion are just illusions. You trick yourself making yourself believe that you can take care of someone while you have absolutely no control and cannot offer them any real help.
            I don’t think has any point to talk again about resonance and life cycle but anyway:
            Life cycle is a subjective point of view, we use the cycle vision to give us a model to interpret what happen in the world. You can keep on telling me examples but it is always a model that we make fit to what happen, the truth is that history doesn’t repeat itself it’s people that look in history and decide that the recurrence of some elements (or the belief that there is a recurrence of some elements) makes of history a cycle. For life as well, we make a model believing that the beginning and the end are the same, because it’s in the same case ‘non-existence’, but the first is a full of potential the other one is completely empty, is entropy. To call it a cycle is in my opinion erroneous, but we are going far away from any topic related now.
            About resonance I think rather the opposite, we should educate people to be more rational so that will less likely be affected by resonance.

          • Kai

            no, it’s not a language issue, I understand perfectly what you say, but still for me doesn’t make sense,

            The reason I suspect there’s a language barrier is because I’ve tried multiple times to explain the figurative aspect of being someone others can “depend” on and each time you’ve replied by arguing about how lack of physical proximity and practical assistance makes that “empty” and nonsensical to you. The only other explanation is that you’re a sociopath lacking the capacity for empathy but I know you aren’t one so I conclude something is lost in our efforts to communicate our point to each other. There’s no shame in this; it’s just a hurdle for us to try overcoming.

            I think it makes sense to you only because you want to, because you like the idea itself…that’s my impression.

            When you say it only makes sense because I want it to simply because I like the idea, I’m not sure how to respond. I believe I’ve interpreted the message of the comic correctly and have articulated how the content of the comic substantiates my interpretation. Are you calling my interpretation incorrect or are you just cynically dismissive of the comic’s message? I’d like to think you’re the latter, but your arguments for WHY you are dismissive relies on inaccurate interpretations of the comic’s content.

            if we consider that […] cannot offer them any real help.

            Your entire second paragraph reaffirms my conclusion that you are not understanding what I’m saying and thus there’s a language issue between us. For example, you are suggesting that my argument has been that Anny’s parents have only “took care” of her “from distant”. I’ve never suggested that at all and I don’t know why you’ve concluded that from what I’ve said. If you want to blame just me for failing to communicate in a way you can understand, that’s fine too, but there’s clearly a lot of misunderstandings between us.

            Anny realized that when she was young, she could always depend on her parents to be there for her when she needed them. That included the tangible (practical) and intangible (emotional). She explicitly cites the INTANGIBLE (comforting her when she did bad on a test, was picked on, or had made a mistake). Her resolution to be there for her parents means she’ll do whatever she can to be there for her parents in return, now that she is grown up and they are getting old, and that implicitly includes both the intangible (loving them, caring for them, being emotionally available for them) and tangible (doing things that symbolize her love, doing things that demonstrate she cares, being physically available to them as necessary).

            This shouldn’t suggest that she’ll be physically around them 24/7. It’s not like her parents were physically around her 24/7 either when she was young. It does mean however that they can expect her to do her best to make herself physically and emotionally available to them based on the necessity of the circumstances. That is a common and WILLING obligation between people who love each other.

            Living far from your family (like you, but also me) makes clear that the “assistance” they can offer is limited or none so much that when you really are in need you don’t look for them but look for close friends…

            Nothing Anny or I am saying contradicts this reality. If you think we are saying something that contradicts this, then it reinforces my conclusion there is a misunderstanding.

            on the opposite, when you have problems probably don’t even tell parents/family that much because in the end you would only bring them discomfort and you know perfectly that they cannot give any help.

            Again, nothing Anny or I am saying is at odds with this.

            Life cycle is a subjective point of view, we use the cycle vision to give us a model to interpret what happen in the world.

            Zappa, one word: figurative. Life “cycle” or “circle” of life is obviously a figurative way to explain a concept.

            About resonance I think rather the opposite, we should educate people to be more rational so that will less likely be affected by resonance.

            I don’t disagree with educating people to be more rational! I’m just saying its important to respect (not declare “good”) things that resonate with people. Resonating by itself is neither evil or good, it just is. It just means something people readily identify with. I think it is important to understand what people identify with and why. That’s all my point is.

            What resonated with a lot of people? This comic. Why? Because it effectively touches upon situations, circumstances, thoughts, AND feelings that many people share.

          • Zappa Frank

            my meaning is that there is nothing like a ‘figurative’ way of taking care of people, or you take care of them or you don’t, else you are just tricking yourself. That’s an illusion. You say in the comic when Anny was child the examples she gives aren’t of physical support, but intangible, however in the comic we see their parents were with her, they were not comfort her by phone, comfort someone with a hug or with presence that if is not 24/24 but is at least 8/24, is completely different than comfort them (or thinking to do so) by phone once in a while, that’s why I said that what parents did and what she will supposedly does are on complete different levels even taking in account that the support have not be something concrete like money, food or similar.

            You say that her way to show her support will be to be available on demand and talking care of their feeling from distance. And again the part where is wrote “Living far from your family (like you, but also me) makes clear that the “assistance” they can offer is limited or none so much that when you really are in need you don’t look for them but look for close friends..” you said you agree, but to that means likely in presence of problems her parents will not call her at all, will not look for her supposed support but look for other people’s support. Than her claim to take care of them is empty, to pretend to be the backbone is even ridicule . Is an illusion to believe that physical distance does not become with time also an emotional distance.
            About cycle or circle of life, I understand you like to say it is figurative, but the fact is that is a nonsense. I can tell you, figurative is not a strange word to me that you have to explain, we have a word that is exactly the same, “figurativo o metaforico” since it comes from latin, and I perfectly know the meaning I can assure you, but still it’s not that if I say something is ‘figurative’ than even if makes no sense and is illogical than is ok, even if it is a figurative it has to match with the figure and actually the concept ‘life’ and the figure ‘circle’ don’t seem to match for me.
            Back to Anny to say she will ‘figuratively’ take care of her parents doesn’t mean anything in concrete, pure illusion, she will think about them and care about their feeling, maybe even feel bad for them if they have a problem…believing that this is ‘taking care of people’ and ‘being their backbone’ is self-illusive. Even the idea that she could be eventually be there physically con demand is clearly false, she lives in Beijing, how many time she can afford to go there for any problems that come out? a few a best and likely not enough by far… in my opinion would be better if Anny thanks his mother and father for what they did for her and decide to live a full life to make all this effort not wasted instead of claiming something that she would never be able to accomplish.
            about the resonating I think, or better I suspect since I don’t have proves, that is a symptom of irrationality, because rational people usually not resonate or are less likely to do so. Why Lourdes resonate with a lot of people? still doesn’t change that there is nothing.. Why people resonate with that? because oversensitive and irrationals in my opinion..

          • Kai

            my meaning is that there is nothing like a ‘figurative’ way of taking care of people, or you take care of them or you don’t, else you are just tricking yourself.

            Respectfully, I disagree with that. I think there is a lot of significance in knowing you can count on someone to make themselves both emotionally and possibly physically available to you when you need their concern or practical assistance. Even “moral support” is meaningful. Sure, emotional support isn’t going to stop a bullet, but it might give you something to live for if it doesn’t kill you.

            You say in the comic when Anny was child the examples she gives aren’t of physical support, but intangible, however in the comic we see their parents were with her…

            You’re putting too much emphasis on the imagery she drew than the words she wrote which stress the intangible, not the tangible.

            Back to Anny to say she will ‘figuratively’ take care of her parents doesn’t mean anything in concrete, pure illusion, she will think about them and care about their feeling, maybe even feel bad for them if they have a problem…believing that this is ‘taking care of people’ and ‘being their backbone’ is self-illusive. Even the idea that she could be eventually be there physically con demand is clearly false, she lives in Beijing, how many time she can afford to go there for any problems that come out? a few a best and likely not enough by far… in my opinion would be better if Anny thanks his mother and father for what they did for her and decide to live a full life to make all this effort not wasted instead of claiming something that she would never be able to accomplish.

            Her future actions will determine how she AND her parents feel she has lived up to her resolution to be there for them when they need her. What they feel is ultimately what matters.

            I get the feeling you’re resentful of her declaring that she wants to be someone her parents can depend on just as she felt her parents were such people she could depend on earlier in her life. If you can somehow convince others how such a declaration/resolution of hers is “empty”, you can dismiss her.

            My perspective is that regardless of whether or not she lives up to being the person she says she wants to be, her desire to be one is something positive and a good influence on society. It is a sentiment that resonates with people because a lot of people intuitively appreciate their parents and want to be good to their parents just as they feel their parents were good for them. They want to “be there” (figuratively, emotionally, if not necessarily physically) for their parents, just as they felt their parents were for them. They want their parents to know they can be depended on, because it is important for many that the ones you love know you love them. Words can indeed be empty and one can indeed fail to live up to one’s resolutions, but that sentiment is not something I think deserves to be dismissed as “empty”, “nonsense”, or “pure illusion”.

            Last, I’m not sure why you think resonating with something is mutually exclusive with rationality. “Resonate” just means to have an influence or effect on someone. Someone who is rational can also be influenced or affected by something, often by what they consider rational. You seem to think Anny’s sentiment is irrational, but I think it is very rational. Is it irrational for a person who feels loved to want to reciprocate that love? That might be an interesting discussion but I think there’s a very intuitive answer in it that happens to be correct in the context of humans being social creatures.

          • Zappa Frank

            I don’t think her sentiments are irrationals, I think her claims are irrationals. Maybe good for society and all, but still irrationals remains. Even if we suppose she can ‘take care’ of them from distance still I wouldn’t say is revers of roles or that she is the back bone of the relation. You point the support she receives was moral rather than physical and to don’t stress about the imagines, but still was moral with a physical presence, and this is important and cannot be dismissed just saying she reminds intangibles things because if would be the same than anyone would be a good parent rising child from distance, while is not, physical presence is important even for moral support. In my opinion is irrational to think she can turn upside down the relation, first because they are parents and not children and to think to them as people that have to depend on you is wrong to being with and second because moral support from distance is not enough to be a backbone in any relation. Now I think she pushing the custom typical of traditional societies where young people once grow up take care of olds, but that was a different society and same models despite the will cannot be applied, since she lives far away she cannot be like an old time woman that keep taking care of them, this value have to change, parents have to be independent till old age and she has to live her life, of course I don’t mean she shouldn’t love them or give any help, but for sure for one of the thousands problems that an old person will face in life she will not be there for most…. That in my opinion is a contradiction, if she really would like to be the backbone of her family and take really care of them she would back to guangzhong, she doesn’t back so her claim is more like an empty declaration than a true intention. The same goes for you and me… if you or me say ‘we want take care of our parents, be their backbones’ than we wouldn’t live so far from them, I know that for you also ‘moral support’ is ok, but that is a good way to wash our conscience and think we are doing a good job while actually we are not doing anything in real.. As said we are trying to apply old values to a modern society and obviously contradictions come out.

          • Kai

            To be clear, her “claim” of wanting to be someone her parents can depend on is more of a “resolution”. How do we conclude her resolution (a desire) to be someone her parents can depend on is irrational? Why is such a desire irrational? Especially when “being someone her parents can depend on” is in undefined figurative terms rather than concrete terms?

            If she resolved to “always physically be at her parents’ side”, we could argue that is irrational as long as we presume she can’t really live up to that. However, she didn’t make such a resolution with such a specific concrete claim. She merely said figuratively that she wants to be someone her parents can depend on. I think that desire is rational, and until she gives us specific notions of what that resolution entails, we can’t evaluate the rationality of those specific notions and then by extension the rationality of her overall resolution.

            Reading your comment, I still feel you are trying to define what her resolution is in order to shoot down the import of having the resolution itself, while other people intuitively understand the import of the resolution itself. By way of analogy, it sounds a little like arguing that a story’s moral of “honesty is the best policy” is “irrational” by pointing out a myriad of situations where honesty arguably isn’t the “best” policy. I think most readers of her comic intuitively understand there are limits to how much her parents can depend on her, but they appreciate and identify with her sentiments and desire to be someone her parents can rely on when needed similar to how she was able to rely on them when needed earlier in her life.

            Anny has admirable intentions, and it is up to her parents to decide if those intentions and consequence tangible actions qualify her as someone they can depend on. Some parents are more needy than others and have higher or different expectations of what makes someone “dependable”. It’s all very subjective. I understand what you’re saying about “washing our conscience” but I think you’re being too cynical in your dismissal of her sentiment and desires and their inspiration to others.

            I like to think my parents feel I am someone they can depend on even though I am separated from them by a vast distance. I doubt they would think me “undependable” just because I’m not physically present to carry their groceries or personally drive them to the hospital when they suffer an injury. They’d appreciate that of course, but they’re not idiots who think those are the proper measurements for determining a child “dependable”. Instead, for them, the measurements are whether or not I would help carry the groceries or drive them to the hospital when I am physically present. Their measurements are more along the lines of whether or not they can count on me to listen to them when they have something to say, to keep in touch, to maintain an active interest in the lives of our family, to anticipate and be mindful of their needs and wants when I have the opportunity and power to address them (like on a visit!), to drop everything and fly back the minute I hear one of them is on their deathbed.

            I imagine Anny’s parents are similar to mine, would understand Anny’s resolution in such a spirit, and that Anny’s resolution is of that spirit. That spirit to me is reasonable, rational, and not “empty”.

          • Sunandan K

            My my , i could fill up a small notebook with this conversation :P

          • Sunandan K

            Talking sense ( or a different perspective from his own) is not going to resonate with someone closeted ,rigid a condescending.

  • mr.wiener

    Shit…I always tear up when I read these bloody posts.

    • guest

      I am two moods about his, maybe because I have not seen any previous work. While I understand that there maybe some or numerous people from the poorer rural areas that it hits a resonance with, I can’t get this feeling out of my head that there is an underlying message that mirrors the government/socially approved values of family life, i.e. look after you parents when there old.

      • Kai

        It’s not really limited to people from poorer rural areas.

        Chapter 1: Being conflicted by wanting to treat your loved ones well versus what your finances can afford.

        Chapter 2: This is a mix with maybe a twist. There’s parents who are slow to change their ways and adapt to new technology. There’s triumphantly seeing them unable to deny the appeal of something they had previously resisted or shunned. Then there’s the twist of that resistance and shunning having only been a cover because they selflessly didn’t want to “waste” the money on a “luxury”.

        Chapter 3: Being proud of oneself for being able to treat your loved ones to a level of material comfort commeasurate with what you feel they deserve. A child eager to please her parents, to do them justice, when the parents ultimately care only that they get to see their child because they love her.

        Chapter 4: Having your parents see a side of you that they may not have witnessed before, impressing them, getting their approval, even their respect. Then to have them struggle with articulating it, revealing their own vulnerability, their own insecurities, their own disappointments with themselves, but dulled by their overwhelming pride in you.

        Chapter 5: Also the desire to treat your loved ones well, to do right by them, to have them not want, to have them live with dignity and respect. To see your parents reveal their own perhaps childish desires, vanities, even insecurities that may not be so different from our own. To realize they had and have dreams and fantasies about their own lives, that they are not just supporting characters in our movie but people with their own aspirations and perhaps flaws. To connect the fact that they did so much for you that it only behooves you to want to do more for them in return, not out of simple obligation but out of basic human love.

        Ending: Realizing that your parents, whom you once relied on everything, for having all the answers, are not so all-knowing and all-powerful, that they were strong for you when you were young, and now you can be strong for them in their waning years. Again, not out of simple obligation, but out of love.

        Some people might find all of this saccharine and that’s fair enough, but the significance remains that it resonates with a lot of people. I think every society has the value of looking after your parents when they’re old, especially because love is a very real thing that has defined parent-child relationships everywhere throughout time. Despite the unfortunate exceptions, it’s a shared human experience, and every so often, we need a reminder of it to put our daily lives in perspective. Great Anny just happens to be someone who has been deft in illustrating such experiences for Chinese audiences. More power to her. As a Chinese netizen said, her work is generally a positive influence.

      • tomoe723

        Meanwhile, the west continue to shove their elders into nursing homes. Those who can afford can smugly admit to have a clean conscience for properly getting rid of their parents. But for those who cannot, well, too bad folks, you’ll just have to endure sub-par housing conditions, and endure condescending nursing aids who treat you like retards. Yeah, I’d rather have these “government/socially approved values of family life.” =P

        • Zappa Frank

          while is better to ruin your life in order to take care of ageing parents? the concept itself of parents that have to rely on their sons and daughters during the old age is just a old farmer’s society concept.. they have to stay independent.. old woman and men like in the story that “don’t know what to do” are just wasting their life, and would be a shame to waste also other people lives.

          • tomoe723

            It’s only in your perspective that your life is ruined. Nowadays, old folks don’t completely rely on their kid’s support. They have pension plans that can sustain their daily lives just fine even to the day of death. You think old people don’t know what to do? I guess you’ve lost respect for elders altogether. Old people who don’t know what to do are a very small minority. In fact it’s not a minority, it’s a disorder called dementia. Most old folks continue their lives casually either through simple backyard gardening, or taking care of grandchildren, or just about whatever their hobbies are, tai-chi, weekend social gathering, some still fit go outdoors or daily visit to library. The poor ones in rural areas never stop working even they’re past 60. Of course, once bed ridden, it’s only a matter of years (5 at most) till they die, not wishing that they die asap, but the least a child can do is take care of them to their dying days.

            In the west I think most old folks have Alzheimer’s, even when they don’t, they’re quick to diagnose just so they have excuse to send to nursing home immediately.

          • Zappa Frank

            sincerely I was referring to the comic when I said ‘don’t know what to do’, not to all old people. anyway is also your prospective about what happen to old people in western countries, and sincerely is quite risible to think that ‘most’ have Alzheimer’s or they get diagnosed to send them in a nursing home…(actually I would like to see some statistics that say western are more likely to get Alzheimer’s) my granma is 85 and still live by herself, like many others, like most people in western countries. besides I think you even have prejudices and not a real knowledge about what nursing homes are.

        • davilin

          The problem isn’t living or not with your old parents. The problem is 孝, which make chinese sons and daugthers mindless robots without personalities, afraid to speak up to their parents. These comics, aside from boring, are another praise to the “greatfulness” of 孝. It is the tool that selfish parents and family use to manipulate younger people to marry someone they don’t like, to force them to take some job because is better (for the parents), to return to their hometown (to take care of them), etc. In short, it is the cultural tool to create emotional slaves.

          • tomoe723

            Mindless robots… really!!?? You see it as a selfish tool, we kids see it as payback for unconditional love. But you westerners can never comprehend that ideal, coz all you understand is “me, me, me!” I’d rather take care of my aging parents than see them being sent to some nursing home. The values and teachings they can impart to grandchildren are priceless, just like how my grandmother taught me a lot of important things.

          • Zappa Frank

            I think it you that cannot comprehend. what you do now was before present also in our society. there is nothing of cultural in this.

          • Kai

            You do realize that your generalizing of “Westerners” as being “me, me, me” selfish is the same as others generalizing the Chinese using filial piety as a “selfish tool” to make their children “mindless robots”, right?

            I think if you are more measured in your speech, you can occupy the moral high ground.

          • tomoe723

            But that’s not a generalization. It’s a fact. West = individualization = me, me, me.

          • Alex Dương

            Do you find it ironic that it is not uncommon to find Western expats post here and claim that modern Chinese culture is all about “me, me, me”?

          • tomoe723

            I don’t know about that. For one, I’m not Chinese. But I abide by the same ideals for how Asian children take care of their aging parents rather than sending them away.

            I’ve observed Americanized asian families who send their aging parents to nursing homes, and it’s just sick and cold-hearted. Not even a weekend visit anymore. It used to be every weekend for a couple of months, and even that is just a small thing, it doesn’t ruin their whole lives… but it didn’t last.

            On the other hand, I was more forgiving on some black people who were really committed on the weekend visits even after many years. That I can understand, maybe their circumstances are too much, and it had been better if the nursing home takes care of them.

            But for most westerners, unfortunately, it’s too much of a bother. It’s just me, me, me. I’m done using my parents raising me up, now it’s time to get rid of them. -_-;;;

          • Kai

            No, it isn’t a “fact”, it’s a generalization, one that is only useful as a shorthand referring to certain differences in generalized predispositions between generalized “cultures” of people within appropriate contexts of discussion.

            Proper usage is when we’re trying to recognize that “Westerners” may be more “individualistic” in certain situations versus “Easterners” due to certain values being more widely socialized into them in their environment.

            Trying to argue that all Westerners are individualistic or even more individualistic in all situations creating some sort of black and white difference between enormous groups of people with huge diversities of temperment and values is improper and ultimately not helpfully contributing to the discussion.

            Please try to reflect upon how compelling your argument is here. Would you be swayed by someone else responding to your objection about Chinese being “mindless robots” by arguing “But that’s not a generalization. It’s a fact. China = collectivism = mindless robots.” If you wouldn’t accept that argument from others, you shouldn’t use the same sort of argument yourself.

          • Kai

            孝 just means being good to your parents, a concept and value that is not remotely unique to the Chinese or Confucianism.

            Taken to the extreme, it may make children “mindless robots without personalities, afraid to speak up to their parents”, “marry someone they don’t like”, etc., but no one is advocating for extremes, not even Confucius.

          • Alan Dale Brown

            I have seen the difference between what western children and Chinese children are expected to do for their parents; both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. My (typical white, middle class American) parents are rather proud of their independence, and would have to be going through pretty rough times before they’d feel comfortable being dependent on me or my brothers. Classically, in our extended family, the problem is more that the elderly are very resistant to the idea of not being independent; usually it’s a problem of them being resistant to help, rather than the willingness of their children to help. For my elderly relatives, it always seems like they have to reach some major breaking point before seeking assistance on basic matters, usually a little later than it should be.

            My wife’s mother (from Taiwan) effectively has moved in with her brother’s family; this is completely expected for them, but it’s hard to imagine it happening in my family. There’s lower social expectations present in my family, and sometimes people get along better as a result.

            I have seen some single Asian-American people in their 60’s whose whole lives are swallowed by taking care of their 90-something year old mothers. It’s touching, in a way, but there’s a co-dependency that seems unhealthy; they are uncomfortable with leaving the parent more than a few hours.

            I’m not sure which approach is better for society, to be honest.

          • Kai

            Without being flippant, heh, the “better” approach is whichever one better fits the predispositions of the people involved, with the recognition that predispositions can be socialized.

            I think most parents Western or Chinese are generally loathe to be a burden on their children. I want to get that out of the way as something I hope everyone generally agrees with before we discuss specifics. I want to avoid unhelpful exaggerations stereotyping Chinese parents as imperiously expecting their children to serve their every whim. There’s too much malicious othering in that than truth.

            Both Western and Chinese parents have expectations that their children grow up and become independent. Both expect independence to mean the child no longer expecting help from the parents and, over time, becoming an asset to the family as needed rather than a burden on the family. Grown children in both generally feel a responsibility to care for their parents as their parents age and need that help. The responsibility is effectively intuitive, and I dislike how some people try to paint some stark difference between cultures with regard to these dynamics. I don’t think there is a “cultural” difference in the how quickly an individual resorts to seeking help from family.

            I do think however there are differences in certain modern norms. The nuclear family is newer to Asians than it is to Westerners and has a lot to do with things like industrialization, ubranization, and even sexual liberation. There is indeed a traditional notion that the eldest son bears the most responsibility for looking after aging parents (especially since it’s often coupled with the lion’s share of inheritence). This was present and common in Western societies as well in the past.

            I agree with you that people often get along better when they don’t live together. Off the top of my head, I’m reminded of some Hong Kong TVB serial about this very subject (can’t remember the name). I subscribe to living apart personally, but I also reocgnize that living together comes with advantages and benefits too. Different people will value the pros and cons differently and often situationally, heh.

            I don’t think people in their 60s not being comfortable with leaving their 90-something mothers for more than a few hours is particularly unique to Asians. If we don’t know any Western examples ourselves, surely we’ve seen movies about this sort of subject. 90-something is pretty damn old and likely infirm.

            If there’s a single overriding point I want to emphasize, it’s that I don’t believe there’s such a stark difference in general attitudes regarding the dynamics between grown children and their aging parents between “East and West”. There are some differences in norms shaped by how their society developed (rise of nuclear families), but I think most parents don’t want to be a burden on their kids but do expect their kids to care about them enough to care for them when necessary, and grown kids for their part would feel weighed down by a dependent young or old but intuitively balance their selfish interests with the love they genuinely feel.

          • John Hung

            That’s because 孝 is not complete without 順(obedience). Confucius advocates the balanced middle ground 中庸. But his perspective on treating parents with the attitude 孝順 is considered extreme to non-Chinese cultures. Confucius taught us to not challenge our parents and elders even in extreme cases. There was one story in 論語 that says, even if you found out your dad stole a goat, you shouldn’t rat him out cause you need to remember the hand that feeds. It’s this view that you should be grateful towards your parents for everything (as opposed to God, Allah, etc. in non-Chinese cultures). Without your parents, you would not exist. And that’s why filial piety (百善孝為先) trumps everything including honesty, justice, integrity, etc. in Chinese society.

          • vincent_t

            I think it is unfair if you simply take the original context that was preached thousand years ago, plug it into the modern world and sneer at it. Just imagine you do the same thing on Christianity practice, it would be simply ridiculous. My point is, the core value is there and it does bring some good to the society, but you don’t have to do it the way the old generation did it.

          • Kai

            First, 孝 is complete. It is a noun, meaning filial piety. a concept best known for being tied to Confucius but which has analogues in every society and culture.

            When you add 顺 to it, it becomes a verb, meaning to show filial piety. 顺 is also not simply “obedience”, it’s also “order”, “harmony/smoothness”, and “going along with”. By trying to deconstruct the term and extract subtle meanings from its parts, you run the risk of reading too much into things.

            Second, the reason why Confucius’ 孝顺 is considered “extreme” is because of an oversimplified understanding of Confucius’ philosophy, usually leaving out the Rectification of Names. You can look that up but it underpins the following that I’m just going to quote:

            For Confucius, filial piety was not merely blind loyalty to one’s parents. More important than the norms of xiào were the norms of rén (仁; benevolence) and yì (義; righteousness).


            Third, the passage you refer to, which is–charitably–about a paragraph long and says nothing about “remembering the hand that feeds” (I’m guessing someone projected that onto the passage), is certainly (in)famous but, more importantly, also often debated with regards to what point is trying to be made.

            The literalist reading is what you’ve shown, but which is rightfully criticized as not considering the context afforded by the rest of the work detailing Confucius’ philosophy, including passages that make clear that people do not blindly obey or submit to those who are nominally higher in the hierarchy of relationships. So the question has always been about how to reconcile this passage with the rest of what Confucius says. I’ve seen everything from this being Confucius advocating that a matter involving family be handled without a knee-jerk appeal to outside authority to Confucius being ironic juxtaposing the misappropriation of “uprightness” by the Duke’s people and his own people.

            What I think everyone who has more than a cursory understanding of Confucianism recognizes is that Confucius is not likely suggesting filial piety demands blind acceptance much less encouragement of wrongs or crimes committed by family. No one fails to recognize the superficial incongruence between this passage and other passages, so Confucius’s point is not likely so simple as the literalist interpretation unless we’re fine with Confucius simply being contradictory and inconsistent, in which case we still can’t suggest that Confucius advocates filial piety trumping everything else because other passages contradict such a notion.

            Are you following me here? Even if we adopt a literalist approach–which I think is wrong–we can’t cite this as the definition of Confucius’ filial piety. It has to be reconciled with other things he has said about filial piety that no one can deny as being in contradiction. Using just this as the basis for understanding his notion of filial piety is building an argument in a vacuum, of divorcing it from proper context.

            Also, while 百善孝为先 says filial piety “is first” or “most important” among all virtues/good, it doesn’t say the others aren’t important or are to be disregarded. More importantly, it doesn’t say there are no limits or exceptions, because Confucius very obviously articulated some and had an entire consequent framework to address them in the Rectification of Names.

            Confucius does make filial piety the foundation of his philosophy for self-cultivation and social harmony, but any reading of him that suggests blind subservience or loyalty to nominal superiors in his hierarchy of relationships (ex. children to parents) clearly betrays at least an inadequate consideration of his philosphy as a whole.

          • Sunandan K

            “It is the tool that selfish parents and family use to manipulate younger
            people to marry someone they don’t like, to force them to take some job
            because is better (for the parents), to return to their hometown (to
            take care of them), etc. In short, it is the cultural tool to create
            emotional slaves.”

            My folks have been trying to get me married for 4 years ,hasn’t worked( not from China, another country very similar to it).
            My parents worked their asses off to bring up my brother and I,even in conditions where plenty of folks would have given up their kids. My brother lives with our parents , not because he needs to, but because he wants to.No one forced him to stay with them ( precisely the reason why i have been out of my country for half a decade).

            Since we are all busy judging cultures we do not understand, folks from this part of the world ( mind you, i am talking about half the population of the bloody world agreeing with me) would say that your lot ( i am assuming you are from the North Americas or Europe) are sick b!@#tards for leaving your folks to rot in nursing homes, old and away from the people they cared about their whole lives.

        • Dennis Robinson

          Not all people are the same, parents get back what they give out.

      • Strangerland

        I prefer these old confucian custom- looking after their parents and grandparents- than the communism customs ala Mao era that basically destroyed Chinese’ bits of humanity. The Cultural Revolution era- which basically happened twice, had destroyed a lot of families. Just look at North Korea today- it’s the same kind of system where basically the younger generations are brainwashed to think/cherish/kowtow-ing to the country(AKA the “Emperor” himself be it Mao or the current Kim) above everything else, including parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. As result you don’t know whom to trust and everyone could be your downfall- sometimes even your own children.

        So, if CHinese people want to start valuing their elders I say let them be- it is a good value to have in any society, and once you have that value restored back in a society it’s going to be easier for a society to advance further, developing away from barbaric notion that your “Emperor” should be loved above everything else.

  • MonkeyMouth

    drivel….pure drivel

  • 42

    fresh graduates in China often are miles apart from their hometown to work and live in big cities, since being their only child, parents from poor famiies living in the countryside, some often illiterate or at least uneducated, often depends on their kid to have a better life and job and to some extent support the family. where they only able to visit home once a year or so, because they just cannot afford the travel expenses. this comic is so successful is probably because that it is very recognizable for many young chinese men and women who packed their things and left home all by themselves working in big cities trying hard to build a better life.

    • veinedthickness

      Pictures of turds floating in toilet bowls would also be recognisable to most netzens. Doesn’t mean it’s worth looking at though.

      • 42

        you never know, try to make a cartoon out of it and present it to Disney studios to make a full featured movie, you’ll be rich.
        or did you forgut about Mr. Hankey the christmas poo? (smartass)

  • NeverMind

    Is the ‘Chinese couple rage on Thai Airplane’ topic not trending in China? On Yahoo (USA) it’s caused quite a roar. Everyone and their grandmother are posting comments there on how all Chinese are rude, cheap etc etc. Would like to see what the Chinese netizens are saying about it.

  • 42

    your parents must be so proud of you……… tough guy.
    oh come on, you shed a little tear while reading this, dont deny it, you cried out like a little girl, i know you did.

  • Mihel

    Thanks for translating this comic without erasing the original chinese text!
    It’s very useful for someone who’s learning han zi (and that is too lazy to look them up on a dictionary…).

  • Foreign Devil

    Most people I know, from China or otherwise.. It is the parents who are wealthier and they pay their own hotel and even try to pay all the meals.

    • Mihel

      I think my dad is gonna spit in my eye if I only try to suggest I’m gonna pay for his meal.

    • 42

      Probably most chinese you know have the money to live abroad. I think in this case we are talking about chinese who are working in China, and don’t have means to go abroad.

    • Ken Morgan

      A lot of the overseas Chinese from the 60s and 70s are boomers.

      Their children are mostly generation X when it all went a bit sour.

    • Kai

      I think that’s just a function of the relative disparity of financial security between the parents and the grown child. It isn’t atypical for a lot of grown children to still be starting out on or building their careers while their parents are more comfortably set (often true for the middle-class to upper-class demographics). It also isn’t atypical for some kids to be doing better than their parents because they went to college and came out with a better job than their parents were ever able to get (poorer demographics, a lot of immigrant families and people with humbler backgrounds).

  • ddd

    The people here who grew up with highly educated and financially secure parents won’t get the comic.

    • Kai

      You think so? My parents are highly educated (and more so than me in terms of academic credentials!) and financially secure but I get the comic just fine.

      • Sam

        I agree with you, I was lucky enough to grow up in a privileged household with parents who both held degrees but I can understand the comic. It’s not like it’s a complicated idea and also I think all of us as children, unless you’re an asshole, have to understand the basic idea of the commentary because we’re all going to have to do things for our parents when they get older even if they’re financially secure. Burden from parents being placed on kids eventually isn’t limited to poorer households.

  • Zappa Frank

    zzzz…nonsense and patosensibility..

  • Kai

    I claim I have experienced racist slurs and discrimination allowing me to empathize significantly if not absolutely and utterly completely with a black person who is called a “nigger”. It shouldn’t be hard for anyone to put themselves in other people’s shoes.

  • Kai

    Right, I am being rational, realistic, and I recognize that society sometimes has something meaningful to listen to.

  • Kai

    Sorry, I don’t agree with that. You’re generalizing and stereotyping to make a point that doesn’t need such generalizing or stereotyping. Even Confucius understood that life is about compromises and being filial doesn’t have to get in the way of happiness. Anything taken to an extreme is retarded and most people intuitively understand that.

  • Dennis Robinson

    I wept.