A college classmate, five years after graduation, at the age of XNUMX, served as the mayor of a town with a population of nearly XNUMX. Three years later, he was promoted to the county's propaganda minister, and then the deputy head of the county, with a special car and a dedicated driver. His political ambitions are not small, and he is like a fish in water in officialdom. One year when I returned to China, I went to see him. The first question he asked was;Why don't you return home? China should have more suitable professional positions and opportunities for you.

I replied without even thinking: To live with dignity.

The classmate looked at me very puzzled for a while. But he did not continue to ask questions. Instead, he asked his driver to stand by at any time, personally drove me to the area where he worked and managed, and joked: I have not driven for many years, but today, I will be your driver! I understand what he meant. I am his guest of honor today, but what he said so deliberately also made me realize that he is deferring to his honor today. The driver, in his eyes, is an inferior servant.

Everywhere we went, we were always surrounded by a group of people, greeted us with a smile and flattery, and even when we went to a restaurant, the boss personally came out and prepared. I followed him for a while, and experienced the dignity and dignity like the emperor's outing. This is an experience I don't have in America.

After the meal, my classmates reiterated the old sayings and touted that I would definitely be better than him in China. Why would there be the idea of ​​living without dignity in China? I didn't answer his question, but asked him, if one day he becomes a commoner, would he still have such courtesy everywhere? He said that he had never thought that he would become a commoner in the future, but if he were, he probably wouldn't be welcomed in this way. That's it. In fact, there is no need to become a civilian in China to appreciate the difference in dignity. Just change the angle. Can you respect your driver like your superior? They are just different occupations. The classmate honestly admitted that he couldn't, and suddenly understood what I meant, and sighed that although he looks like a person here, if he goes to the provincial capital or Beijing, he will definitely be a pug, and even be regarded as a stray dog. Yes, in China, whether a person is respected and how much is respected depends on the size of your social identity or wealth.

In the United States, I am a typical civilian. Although I speak not fluent and accented English, and I have a face that is not mainstream, I rarely feel disrespectful everywhere I go, only a few times. It still comes from my compatriots and new immigrants. Whether it is a place of study or work, or a place of life and consumption, whether it is beautiful clothes or rags, my personal experience has not been publicly discriminated against.

But in China, I always feel disrespectful and discriminated against, either because of my clothes that are not too high-end, or because of my not-mainstream or superior accent, or because I am not rich or expensive. It is good to say that Americans are different hypocrites or hypocritical hypocrites, but they are at least civilized enough that they will not blatantly discriminate against people, belittle people or even humiliate people.

I also told my classmates that I proudly drive myself and my family every day, and sometimes drive my colleagues and friends. When dining out for work lunch, it is often the boss or the boss’s boss who will act as drivers for us. The mayors of the cities where I live in the United States, and even most of the secretary of state, congressmen, or governors drive their own cars to and from get off work. Even if you hire a driver, you will be polite to them, because on the one hand, respect for people is the basic value of the West, and on the other hand, the driver holds a vote of these people.

Like a powerful classmate, a rich classmate doesn't quite understand that dignity is a problem in China. When China’s economy and justice were still ubiquitous, this student found his position as a rich man in the real estate industry, which only made no losses, by virtue of his special relationship with the government. The morality in China began to degenerate to When he was proud to renew his wife and raise a mistress, he not only changed with the times to a beautiful young wife, but also never concealed his lover among his classmates and friends. Now his family employs two nanny and a full-time driver, these are also part of his display of his property. In short, he always stepped on the pace of the times, and he often sighed that being born as a man is only worth living in China. For such a chance, dignity is certainly not a problem with him.

The topic of dignity was also brought up because he didn't understand why I didn't go back to China. It was at a gathering of old classmates. This rich classmate was in a restaurant for a treat. When it was time to order, the wealthy classmate waved, and the four waiters swiftly stepped forward at the same time. It is a special private room, with four waiters standing in the corners of the room. The classmates thought they were obstructing the private conversation among the classmates and drove them out the door. Every time there is a request, he only needs to beckon or shout: waiter, get another menu! Waiter, drink! Waiter, light the cigarette! and many more. The tone of ordering is even more sonorous.

When he buried his head and waved to beckoning, he did not notice that a waiter behind him was holding a glass of wine and was about to pass it to him. As a result, the glass was knocked to the ground and some wine was spilled on him. The classmates stared wide-eyed, and the waiter was so scared that he apologized repeatedly. I sat aside, admiring the classmate’s aloft, like commanding thousands of horses. I couldn’t imagine that this was a big boy whose face turned red when he saw a girl, and even when his first love was taken away, he cried helplessly. . Money is so capable of turning a coward into a strong man and a venerable man.

When he finally finished ordering, I told him that when I was studying in the United States, I had served dishes and washed dishes in restaurants, but no one had ever yelled at me. At that time, English was very bad, and from time to time I made mistakes and took the wrong dishes, but most of the guests politely asked for a change of dishes with a smile of understanding. Thank you with humor for letting them taste a new dish. And if they are satisfied with my service, they will give me extra tips. The classmate choked and did not speak for a long time. I thought he was deeply ashamed of his impropriety just now. Unexpectedly, he said, "It's so uncomfortable in America, why not come back?"

This time it was my turn to choke up. It turns out that the rich are still insisting that the restaurant waiter is a few levels below him, and even his old classmates who sympathize with him so much have done this kind of work. Not only that, he also said frankly that I spend money on services and it is their job to listen to my orders! However, for the rich, you are buying other people’s services. This service only includes people’s attitude and kindness to help you order and serve the dishes, not including the extra arrogance and disrespect you face. , Despise and even humiliate.

In this society, no matter what kind of position, from the chairman or president of the country to the porter and cleaner, they are all directly or indirectly providing services to others. Due to the division of labor and unequal opportunities in society, as well as other factors, occupations are different. The form of remuneration has been expressed through money and social status, but there is no difference between professional dignity and human dignity.

Human dignity is innate. In a normal society, being an individual should be respected. But in China, dignity is exchanged for some external things, such as money, power or social status, etc. This is why most people step on others to climb up, after climbing to a level Just stepping on someone lower than yourself to search for the dignity of others and enjoy this search. Since ancient times, there has been a saying that everything is inferior. It is only the imagination of scholars to study high. For thousands of years, it has always been only power and money. Originally, poverty is not necessarily low, low and low does not necessarily have no dignity, and rich and powerful are not. Synonym for dignity. There are many people living in poverty and dignity in this world. But in China, poverty and lowliness are synonymous with no dignity. The classic laughing poor but not laughing prostitution comes from this soil, and is the best interpretation of the value of money more important than dignity.

It is not entirely correct to say that living in China lacks dignity. It is only ordinary people who lack dignity. Powerful and rich people do not lack this. Officials respect the people, the superior is the lower, the rich is the poor and the poor, this is the Chinese style of dignity.

In fact, it is not difficult for the people to live with dignity. Putting the future of being an official and an official in the hands of the people, the official dare to dominate and trample on the dignity of those who control his career? If there are no life-long officials and no life-long relationship between superiors and superiors, there will be problems with superiors and inferior ones? Provide a social environment for fair competition and a fairer judicial system. Anyone has the opportunity to become wealthy through their own efforts rather than through power. Will the rich still flaunt their money?

The Chinese, if they are stripped of their power and money, what will be left?