Saturday, July 07, 2007

A matter of sincerity

Sincerity is a highly regarded virtue by the ancients who taught humanity since it comes from the heart of a person. Words and actions spring from the heart and mind. And go together. By discerning subsequent actions of man, we can often come to know if sincerity really exists in the heart of that person at the time the words were spoken. By their very actions we can also learn how to differentiate if they are Da Ren, Junzi, or a Xiao Ren. (Refer to the ‘three types of man’.)

In our national The Star newspaper today, one notices various examples of the insincerity and sincerity of man in action. Perhaps readers can discern for themselves the insincere and sincere actions of man in these few examples.

The StarBiz – Hong Kong stocks column:
"The index was also supported by rotational interest in property stocks, which had lagged the market’s recent rally. ‘Everybody knows that Li Ka-Shing has been buying up shares of (his flagship companies) Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa in the past month or so.

The same is true of the Kwok brothers,’ said Eugene law, head of research at Celestial Asia Securities Holdings, referring to the family that controls Sun Hung Kai Properties. Interest in Cheung Kong was also bolstered by news that Deutsche Bank has raised its stake in the firm by buying additional shares on the market last week."

Remember one reason for the sudden diversion of institutional funds from China stock markets in May?

In the article on the ‘auspicious’ date of today:
‘In Yijing, everything is regulated in a seven-day circle. So 07.07.07 can be described as a perfectly regulated cycle,’ said Dr Chuah Chong Cheng, who has studied the Yijing for the past 30 years. Dr Chuah also noted that today’s numbers added up to 21, ‘the perfect marrying age for both men and women.’ He said even in Christianity, the number seven was ‘good’.

In the same article:
Indian numerologist S. S. Mano, however, said it was not advisable for couples to get married on 07.07.07. ‘For us, it is inauspicious but if couples still insist on marrying on the date, they should do it before 11.30 am to avoid bad luck.’

‘Many of couples want to marry on this day because it is unique, only once in a hundred years. Although it is the norm for the Chinese community to choose a good day for marriage, the younger generation is not that superstitious,’ said a Thean Hou temple marriage registration department officer.

Where did this expert learn and draw the conclusion that everything is regulated in a seven-day circle in the Yijing? In line with the Great Learning, did he thoroughly investigate things? And do Yi studies really require something foreign or derivative to augment our learning?

According to my 2007 Yi chart, the date is indeed inauspicious. Perhaps the two specialists know something too that the Yijing expert doesn’t?

In another article in The Star paper:
‘Yes, today I am happy,’ declares Mr. Sandwich, as Sirivat is known. ‘Because of the crisis (Thailand’s 1997 economic meltdown on July 2, a decade ago) I found a new business – although it is selling sandwiches for 40 Baht apiece versus selling a condominium for 5 million Baht a unit – I am happier,’ he said.

In early 1997, Sirirvat was in the ‘bubble business’, borrowing heavily from finance companies to bankroll his property projects including a one billion Baht condominium development and to dabble in the stock market. It was a ‘big business’ which, on hindsight, the US-educated Chinese Thai businessman says, was beyond his financial capacity.

Depression hit Sirivat but he did not commit suicide, which was the option of many who lost their fortune during the Asian financial crisis. ‘If I killed myself the problem would not be solved, and the burden would be on my wife and children,’ said the man whose motto is ‘I’d rather be bankrupt than dead’.

To eke out a living, Sirivat strung a 12kg yellow foam box around his neck and began peddling sandwiches on the streets of Bangkok. On his first day, Sirivat had to put on a brave face as many people asked him: ‘You are a multi-millionaire, why are you selling sandwiches?’

He sold about 40 sandwiches on that day. He sold more when local and international media zoomed in on the compelling story of insolvent multi-millionaire peddling sandwiches. Now he sells about 800 sandwiches a day. And he plans to list his food and beverage business on the Thai stock market in 2009.

At present, Sirivat is not optimistic about the Thai economy, saying Thais have not learnt the lesson of 1997. ‘Thai people forget easily. They are over borrowing again,’ he notes.

Many of the multi-millionaires and millionaires like Sirivat who had lost everything in the Asian Financial Crisis and have persevered through this difficult decade would now have a chance to rebuild their fortunes if they have not given up their lives or hopes already.

The real dragons can once again fly in the heavens! It is just a matter of timing and the right actions.

The sincerity and other virtues of Sirivat provide a shining example of perseverance which led to success through hard times, the crossing of the great waters. Think of the Zhouyi, the various chapters in the Tao Te Ching, and the fourteen years of travel by Confucius.

For the sake of fame and fortune, people have given up their lives or sacrifice others down the millennia. Such insincere and unjust actions would have caused a lot of grief and suffering to those affected.

If only man can learn how to be sincere like the great sages, heaven and earth, in their every thought and action, then there will be less grief and suffering around in the world.


Luis Andrade said...

Hi Allan,

Funny, you wrote about that "expert" and I was reading about him in that newspaper this morning. I was also scratching my head about his take on the number 7 and the Yi...

I always find something new to learn here. Thanks.



Allan said...

Luis, in our search for excellence, learning never stops.

While one may not know much about the Yijing, just wanted to do my part in making sure what is provided for public and Yi students’ consumption is correct and stands under scrutiny.