Post for Feb 24-Mar 2 2013

TaN: The secret to the renowned Chinese rise from rags to riches is not in the tradition (of good luck charms and talismans) but in the culture.  Let me elucidate further.  My friend Johnny’s wife has a small business.  Last Christmas, his daughter won – in some online social media contest – a 2-day stay for the family in a posh 5-star hotel in Makati.  They were told to chose when they would like to avail of the prize.  The first proposal was on Dec 24-25.  Instantly, the wife shot out, “WHAT!?  And miss out on the Christmas sale?  This is the principal reason and difference between a Chinese and a non-Chinese and between a good businessman and a non-business person.

A good businessman does not let an opportunity pass by.  Everything else can be put on hold but an opportunity passes is an opportunity lost.  The chances of that sane opportunity recurring is slim to none.

Moreover, a good businessman knows his priorities and knows to seize the moment.  To make one more sale, even when it is closing time is more important than closing on time.

I remember a situation a friend (a businessman) told me.  He was shopping around for a generator set and chanced upon a shop selling the one he wants.  But since it was time for the lunch break, the store closed as he was approaching it.  He went to another shop that accommodated him and he bought not just one but several sets.  The second store’s gain is the first store’s lost.

Lunch can wait a few minutes.  One will not die of starvation if the store remained open for just a while longer to accommodate one more customer.  A late lunch is still lunch.  This is the flaw in the concept of sticking to the clock.

The tradition of buying round fruits to welcome the new year is just a tradition.  The secret is the work ethic.  [And, by the way, with only a teeny tiny few exceptions, all fruits are round.  So, it is foolish to go rushing to buy specific fruits.  Even the superstition that the name of the fruit represents some kind of luck is inane.  If we use the proper language, anything can sound like luck.  This is the same as believing in horoscopes.  Don’t tell me that people born on the same date – even at the same time but somewhere else – will suffer the same fate.  This is hogwash, horse ordure, or what expression with the same connotation.]

TaN: Only man can be good or bad, but only acts can be right or wrong – as promised in the previous post.  For as long as we are alive, we are neither good nor bad.  It is only when we have ended our temporal existence can we finally be said to be good or bad.  This is because an evil man make an abrupt 180 degree and repent and reform for all past transgressions so he still be judged to be a good man.  The same goes for a righteous man who spent his whole life in the straight and narrow only to throw it all away at the last moment when he does something bad.

It is for this very reason the admonition of the Lord that we have to stay on the righteous path because we have no inkling of our moment of death so we must be vigilant at all times.  One never knows when his time has come.

But, even if we cannot determine whether a man is good or bad until the moment of death, this does not mean that individual acts one does while living cannot be judged.  It is for this reason that the laws of libel and of slander were enacted.  To say that a person is good or bad is to condemn his entire person as good or evil which is unfair and wrong because no one knows what the future brings.  Our judgments are limited to individual and momentary acts.

One evil act does not make a man bad, just as one good deed does not make one a saint.  This is not to mention that we can never truly know whether a good act is truly good or is just for show.  Only God can see into the heart of a man and see the true intent.

Moreover, the goodness or evilness of an act is to be taken at face value and limited to the moment of the act.  It does not define the person.  Many are prone to generalize the entire person based on a single act; this is not only wrong but an injustice.  We must resist the tendency to make blanket judgments.

It has been said (and a good advice to heed), Condemn the act, not the actor.

One final word, nothing in this world is totally bad.  Even an evil act by an evil person has some good that can be derived from it.  As the joke goes, an evil act – or an evil person, for that matter – is a good example of a bad example.

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