This event happened yesterday night. It was late after a party and there was a comparison going about Belgium, Brussels and Taiwan, Taipei mentality. Simon is from Belgium, he seemed to like the idea of being able to forget your wallet in a bar without anyone taking it in Taipei. He said he found a wallet and a few phones, and returned them to the owners here in Taipei. He had done it because that was a proper thing to do here. In Belgium, he would not do that. He would just keep them for himself. Finders keepers, I guess. That’s the mentality over there. People just take. He, of course, wouldn’t actually steal from anyone, but he would not return found things either. He found it acceptable. I pointed out to him that he creates the society he lives in. I asked him what kind of place does he want to live in, the one where people do not return things or the one where they do? Would he want his things returned? The excuses are there of course, “Oh, it would be nice if I got my things back, but if I don’t, I only blame myself”. I was a bit tired at that point to have any other thoughts, but now that I have some clarity on things I would like to add to this topic.
Yes, there are many people in some places, especially where there is poverty, where taking someone else’s things would be OK. But we have to remember that the things we do, the way we act, are all things people around us pick up. Taipei people created the society where it is not acceptable to keep things you found, this kind of thing does not happen by accident, people also do not unanimously just decide these things. This is a higher moral standard coming from the Japanese as they used to rule over Taiwan. The people keep each other accountable. How does that start? Just like any culture. You start with yourself, you talk to your friends about this, they talk to their friends and so forth. If you want to live in a better place, create a better place within you first. Create a moral conduct worth following and do not stray from it for any reason.
If I had the wisdom and clarity yesterday I would say “We all want to live in a better place, but we do not choose to create it ourselves. It’s too difficult as it would require us to stand up against the general public mentality. It would make us stand out, we would be the outliers at that point. It’s easier to sit on the sidelines pointing fingers at each other. Remember, your children will be looking up to you, and taking your morals as a base for their own. You are responsible for everything that goes on around you. Until one realizes that, we will all be lost in the chaos, feeling like we cannot do anything to change the world and therefore saying – “we are just one person, how can we make a difference?”. Stop making excuses and take ownership for what you create.