East vs West

Telltale Filial Chinese Signs (孝顺)

China, Guangzhou | 中国广州市

Telltale Signs of a Filial Chinese (孝顺)

In China, in my travels from Beijing, Sichuan, to Guangzhou, one common tradition universally adopted by Chinese females is the concept of filial piety (孝顺).

The concept of filial piety (孝顺)was borne in teachings by Confucius (孔子), taught by rote in a Chinese school’s curriculum, and conditioned in the minds of female Chinese.



In Confucian philosophy, the main virtue of filial piety is to respect one’s parents, elders, and ancestors.  In modern Chinese society however, the opposite seems to appear true, where modern Chinese girls make risqué dress sense choices, or ink themselves with tattoos, or disobey their family by dating a foreigner, all decisions deemed controversial by traditional families who have decided the work, life and relationship fates of their children, and their expectations that their filial children should adhere to those conservative standards.

I think Chloe that I met last night was a very traditional Chinese girl.

Mom is her Best Friend

Looking on her WeChat Moments (微信朋友圈), I saw some telltale signs, where on a recent overseas trip with her mother, she wrote the caption , “I hope I can work harder so I can take my mother on more overseas holiday trips.”

That is so filial (孝顺).

Hide the Foreign Boyfriend

Another thing that I noticed is that she has taken photos of her engagement ring to her French boyfriend, but when I am looking through her WeChat Moments, I can’t see one picture of her boyfriend online.

My ex girlfriend used to hide me as her boyfriend too.  This is a very Chinese mentality to keep your foreign boyfriend a secret.

Keep Up Appearances (注意影响)

She also takes kosher photos where she does not dress up like a slut, but when we met, she was dressed up in slutty short shorts where her underwear was visible.  She is leading a two-faced life.

Actually, I don’t like that.

The Loawai (老外) Remark

Last night too, when she had invited me to dinner in a Western bar with her Chinese friend, her Chinese friend bragged, “you laowai (老外) always…” and called me a loawai  (老外) with a tongue-in-cheek smirk.

I am thinking, “Your Chinese friend is about to marry a foreigner, and you two are still calling Western males laowai (老外)?  What is wrong with you?”

My impression was that these two Chinese girls are very traditional.

Origins of the Traditional Chinese Mentality

I don’t understand the mentality of Chinese people, who after they are born, they think, “I have to take my mother and make her the most important person in my life.”  Where does that come from?

In our culture, people do not idolize their mothers.  Why don’t people in Chinese cultures idolize their fathers and take them out on holidays.  Does it have to be the mother?

This part of filial piety (孝顺) I find unusual.

I now think the tall girl is a caricature of the filial piety (孝顺) concept.  You are anchored to filial piety, and on top of that, you can dress up your filial piety to look sassy, or to look like a lesbian, and to look hip, but really you are still anchored to filial piety, and anchored to being a traditional girl.

It is like trying to walk somewhere while being anchored down by a huge stone.

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Author: 钨宝

The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.

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