Posts Tagged ‘Filial piety’

A touching story featured in yesterday’s Oriental Daily (a Chinese language newspaper, 不知妈妈去世 “孝顺”猫肉留母自己啃土 ) once again proved that filial piety is not only practice by human beings but by some animals too. In this case, the “good son” was a kitten.

This stray kitten was spotted by some rescue workers wandering along an alley in South Korea. They followed it back to its mother who was lying motionless in a corner. Unaware that its mother had died, the hungry kitten survived by eating mud and twigs and also, drinking water from a puddle nearby.

But what moved the rescue workers to tears was when they saw the hungry kitten carrying a little piece of meat in its mouth back to where its dead mother laid and placed it near her mouth, hoping that she would wake up and eat it.

According to South Korea’s SBS television program which aired a video clip featuring this filial kitten, some plastic bags were found in the mother’s belly. These items were thought to have killed her because she could not digest them. Most probably  people tossed food to her together with the plastic bags. She was too hungry and ate the plastic bags too since they contained the smell and flavor of the food.

But all well ends well – the filial kitten was quickly taken up for adoption. The knowledge that it has found a roof over its head, food and love will bring smiles to those who loves animals.








【国际】不知妈妈去世 “孝顺”猫肉留母自己啃土




Source from:  https://www.facebook.com/OrientalDailyNewsMalaysia/posts/740708432656713

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We are either sons or daughters in the family.

There will come a time when our parents will grow old and become sick. They will required special care. After their deaths, their graves will have to be tended infinitely.

According to Confucian traditions, this is the duty of sons and their wives only. Very clear cut.

Daughters belonged to other families after marriage. Hence, they are not required to come back to care for the sick parents lest they incurred the wrath of their in-laws.

They are also not welcomed at their parent’s graves during Ching Beng or All Soul’s Day for fear of taking away their brother’s good fortune!

What if there is no sons in the family?

Or there is only one son but he did not get married and remained single all his life?

Or he is working in another country and could not come back because he have to earn a living there?

To put it simply, there is not enough males in the family to carry out such duties. In such cases, shouldn’t the daughters step in too?

This question arises last week when my elder brother, the only son in the family, told me that our paternal grandparents’ grave in Batu Gajah had caved in and requires a major repair. Being the only male in the family, the poor guy have to shoulder the responsibility of repairing it. Trust me, such job will require big bucks as Feng Shui is involved. And we also needs a Taoist priest to chant some prayers before work starts.

I thought it is fair for the daughters to help him out but I am not sure if my sisters or their husbands will agree.

What do you think? Is this the job of the son only or the daughter’s as well? Do you think it is okay to go against tradition?

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Written by IpohBornKid

This article on Xiao (Filial Piety) is written by IpohBornKid in response to my article An unfulfilled dream…….

September 26, 2012 by Ipohgal

Filial piety (Chinese: 孝, xiào) is part of the Confucian philosophy which describes the virtue of respect for the parents and ancestors. It is well documented in Xiao Jin (Classics of Xiao) written around 470 BC using the tenets of Xiao to be a good society in ancient times.

According to Wikipedia, the term filial piety has been described as follows:

In more general terms, filial piety means to be good to one’s parents; to take care of one’s parents; to engage in good conduct not just towards parents but also outside the home so as to bring a good name to one’s parents and ancestors; to perform the duties of one’s job well so as to obtain the material means to support parents as well as carry out sacrifices to the ancestors; not be rebellious; show love, respect and support; display courtesy; ensure male heirs, uphold fraternity among brothers; wisely advise one’s parents, including dissuading them from moral unrighteousness; display sorrow for their sickness and death; and carry out sacrifices after their death.

From the information given above, filial piety is a Confucian moral philosophy written more than 2500 years ago.  It was a model for social political order in China. It has a pyramidal hierarchy, starting with the head of the family, village head, district head, etc. and leading up to the Emperor. Filial piety is widely practiced in Asian countries for more than 2,000 years.

The practice today still consist of the core Confucian values of blind obedience to parents, ancestral reverence, and caring of the age parents (and elders). However, the modernization of Asia brought about by the change in political structure and the introduction of the welfare state, had put tremendous pressure in the strict maintenance of the practice. This pressure is more apparent with Asian families living in Western countries. Western industrialization, labor practices, urbanization and transfer of responsibility of the aged from the family members to the State, also weighted down heavily on the old concept.

Other factors which make the parents more independent and less relying on their children include (1) Increased health services for the aged (nursing homes, residential retirement  homes, free medical services, respite care and other services which allow ambulatory aged to stay at home comfortably and safely).  (2)  Increased wealth of the aged population signifying financial independence.  (3)  Two income families on the rise meaning less time available for their aged parents.  (4)  The nuclear family is getting smaller.  (5)  Modern parents have no wish to burden their children with their old age problems.

There are 2 types of aged parents, (1) the financially self-sufficient and independent aged parents and (2) the poor and dependent aged parents.

A good way of showing filial piety to independent (category 1) aged parents is to have commitment in (a) regular visits to their homes & include their grandchildren,  (b) include them in family celebrations or occasional dinners, (c) assist them when in need viz. shopping or visiting the doctor, (d) visit them when they are sick, at home, (e) celebrate their birthdays or anniversaries, (e) pay them regular visits when the aged parents are in residential or nursing homes,.

The dependent aged parents category (2) require more care and compassion;  and  by showing filial piety, you should  (a)  allow them to live with you and your family,(provided they do not required high care nursing assistance),  (b) not treat them as servants while they are living with you, (c) ensure their physical and mental well-being, (d) not gave the parents the impression or perception that they are a burden and a nuisance, (e) not to throw them out of your house, and (f) encourage them to mix with other people in similar age groups and facilitate their opportunity with meet with others in a group belonging to an association or club, (this kills loneliness which is a major cause of depression).

The problems encountered in practicing filial piety may lead to complications in the marriage.  The relationship between the wife and the mother-in-law is well-known and sometimes, no matter what, the relationship gets worse.  Then the husband has to choose between mother and wife!

Some contemporary observations

(1)  Some parents are also very selfish and they will use filial piety as a manipulative weapon to wedge the couple.  That also causes marriage breakdowns.

(2)  Modern parents do not encourage their married children to live with them.

(3)  It is quite the norm that grandparents are used as baby sitters for their married children’s kids. “Grand parenting” is an increasing and welcoming activity among retired parents.

(4) Superficially, Asians perceived European has not sense of filial piety.  They could be so wrong when you look at the older civilizations in Europe, the Greeks and the Italians.  They have almost the same thinking as Confucian filial piety.

(5)  Traditional Confucian principles on filial piety are replaced by “State” piety, meaning the State looks after the aged.  The welfare services for the aged are paid by taxes collected from working aged people.  These social changes were brought about by Westernization and Industrialization.   Hence, the State plays the role of the filial “son or daughter”.  Consequently, the value of responsibility (duties of a son or daughter to parent) emphasized in Chinese traditional culture, has been gradually diminished.

(6) The change of family structure from extended family to nucleus family. Is a consequence of the transformation of our society from rural agricultural to urban one.

(7) All modern developments and social changes explain why the government takes over the role of looking after the elderly through the welfare system. As a result, filial piety is no longer valued by young people and less demanded by our society.

(8)  The trend in (5) in Western countries has peaked and it is now showing decline as shown by budget cuts for the pensioner and welfare recipients.  Consequently, we may have to return to the children to support aging parents.

A current development which showed a leading edge in caring for the aged is the building of village type residential home when retired people can live together in a friendly village environment.  It is a fully integrated complex with amenities and it also provides social inclusion, medical care and recreational activities.  This type of service will downsize the need for the children’s filial piety.  Overall, showing your love, care, compassion to your parents should be the core values of a modern concept for filial piety.

The concept of filial piety will survive but in what form will it have in the future?  What new set of problems will society face in the future?  Have a guess.

(Note:  The article was based on the author’s experience in managing government-funded aged care services).

Acknowledgement – the author wish to thank Mr Peter Wong, a former university lecturer in sociology and expert in aged care in Sydney, for his helpful comments in writing this article.


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