Periodontist In Singapore Specialising In Gum Treatment & Periodontics

Taking a stab at saving Confucianism

By Dr. Henry Wong Meng Yeong | Friday June 20, 2014

On May 21, in a crowded Taipei Metro, a 21 year old Taiwanese university student went on a random stabbing spree in a subway train leaving 4 dead and 21 injured. Upon arrest, he showed no contrition or remorse and confessed that he had planned to carry out this atrocity from young. He had no history of mental illness.

What was noteworthy was that the responses to the stabbing illustrated reactions grounded on ancient Confucian precepts. The public demanded an apology from his parents for the perpetrator’s poor upbringing. His parents willingly acknowledged their responsibility and were utterly ashamed as they wept and knelt at the train station, denouncing their son and begging forgiveness from the families of the injured and killed. Responsibility, accountability and a sense of shame are central to the teachings of Confucius.

What the authorities did not do was to ban knives in the subway, as it is the poor upbringing of the individual which was at fault. The weapon, which in this case was a knife, is ubiquitous in every home. Banning knives would not prevent further recurrences, whereas better parenting would. Only when parents instill virtuous principles and values in their children can future crime of this nature be prevented. Children on their part must be taught not to bring shame to their parents.

Contrast this with reactions elsewhere to crime today perpetrated by children and minors. An analysis of school shootings in the USA which have been on the increase shows a definite trend, an increase month to month, decade to decade.

List of school shootings in the USA

Year

No of incidences

Deaths

Injuries

1900-1999

36

73

115

2000-2009

48

91

119

2010- May 2014

90

91

95

 

 

 

 

2010

8

7

8

2011

10

7

13

2012

14

43

18

2013

30

26

35

2014

28 (till May 2014)

8

21

2010-2014 May 

90

91

95

The number of incidences from 2010 till May 2014 have far exceeded the cases reported in the past two decades. Why has the problem not been addressed? Perhaps it is because attention is directed at the wrong solution. Whilst there is a strong movement pressing for gun control, the crux of the problem lies with poor nurturing and parenting. Controlling guns is not the answer. The weapon of choice is merely a matter of convenience which could be a gun, a knife, a bomb or even a plane as we have come to witness in 9/11.

Confucius believes it is not in the nature but nurture which makes the child what he is. Parents should be made accountable for the upbringing of their children and should be ashamed of them if they are wayward.

To prove the point that it is nurture and not nature, a closer look at the gender distribution of the perpetrators of US school shootings provides the answer. They are all male. It is obvious that the environment has molded these boys and young men to lash out at society by committing these heinous crimes; environmental influences such drugs, violence at home, on television and video games. Without proper nurturing and guidance from absent parents who are often at work, these individuals have been allowed to act out their anger by way of retaliation and revenge . In other instances, there are no gender differences when men or women chose to commit mass murder by blowing themselves up in public places with intent to kill.

It is time we take a stab at saving Confucianism to solve contemporary global problems which are on the increase. The rapes of young girls in India have left some of them hanging from trees. Blaming weapons would be likened to blaming the trees will not add an iota to the solution. It is time we get to the root of the problem.