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Are Chinese more diligent than people in other countries?

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Do the Chinese really work harder than everyone else? In 1989, Martin Sorrell, head of the advertising firm WPP, looked out while on a train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, China and could not believe his eyes. It was Sunday, but thousands of Chinese did not pause from their toil.
1989年,WPP广告公司老总马丁索雷尔乘火车自香港到中国广州。 在车窗外他难以置信的看到,尽管是在周日,成千上万的中国人还是在辛勤工作。

“What are the British doing at this time?” Sorrell told the UK’s Daily Telegraph. “Watching football at the pub! We had no choice (but to expand to China). The future was here.”
“英国佬们周日会干什么?”索雷尔向英国《每日电讯报》发问,“在酒吧看球赛!我们别无他法,只能在中国发展业务,因为未来在这里。”

Sorrell was not the first to marvel at the Chinese work ethic. In his 2013 book “Chinese Whispers,” Ben Chu, economics editor of UK’s The Independent, describes similar observations from foreigners through the centuries.
索雷尔并不是唯一一个钦佩中国人职业道德的人。本楚,英国《独立报》的经济版块编辑,在他2013年所著的《中国私语》一书中也写到了几个世纪以来外国人对中国人的同样印象。


In 1750, Scottish philosopher David Hume said that if China were as near to Britain as France or Spain, then “everything we use would be Chinese,” a remarkable foresight of our modern world, where most things are made in China.
在1750年苏格兰则学家大卫休谟曾说过如果中国处于法国或西班牙的地理位置的话,那么“我们所有的应用之物都是中国产了”,这真是对当世的一个了不起的预言,现在大部分东西都是中国制造。


In 1872, the American satirist Mark Twain said that “a lazy Chinaman does not exist,” and added that “white men often complain of want of work, but a Chinaman offers no such complaints; he always manages to find something to do.”
1872年,美国讽刺作家马克吐温曾说过“懒惰的中国人不存在”,他进一步说道“白人总是抱怨无事可做,中国人很少这么说,他们时刻准备着做些什么。”

 

In 1900, English writer Rudyard Kipling visited Hong Kong and never saw “a single Chinaman asleep while daylight lasted … or 20 men who were loafing. All were going to some definite end.”
1900年英国作家拉迪亚德吉普林拜访香港时说道“我从未见过有中国人在白天打盹,或者有人无所事事,他们所有人都是干劲满满,充满目标。”

The most tangible proof of Chinese industry came in the form of the US First Transcontinental Railroad, which connected the east and west coasts in 1869. Thousands of workers hacked their way through the Sierra Nevada mountains through six harrowing winters. 90 percent were Chinese, 11,000 of them, and 2,000 died during construction, buried near the tracks.
最鲜活的一个例子莫过于中国人来到美国建设横跨北美东西的跨陆铁路一事了,于1869年建成通车。成千上万的工人在广袤的内华达山区中披荆斩棘,历时六载(终于建成)。他们中百分之九十是中国人,竣工时,一万一千名中国人有两千名殉职,他们葬在了铁路边上。


At the eve of the Second World War, US marine Evans Carlson was bowled over by the sheer industry and drive of the Chinese who were then resisting the Japanese. This trait was called “Gongyehezoushe” in Chinese, and from this term, Carlson coined the word “gung-ho,” still in use today to denote enthusiasm, cooperation and dedication rolled into one.
二战前夕,美国大兵埃文斯卡尔森对当时正在抵抗日本侵略的中国人所展示出的纯粹的勤劳和动力感到深深折服。中文里面把这种特性称为“工业合作社(原文拼错 了-译者注)”,卡尔森通过这个杜撰出一个词叫做“gung ho”(同心协力), 在现代,这个词仍然代表着热情,合作以及奉献。

 

Eat bitterness
不怕吃苦

Do the Chinese themselves feel that they work hard? Throughout most of its history, generally, yes. Ben Chu again marshals the evidence, starting with the popular saying chi ku nai lao, which literally means “eat bitterness, endure labor.” Most Chinese are resigned to the idea that toil is an inescapable part of life.

中国人自己觉得工作辛苦吗? 纵观大部分历史,这个答案是”是“。 本楚同样罗列了证据,一开头就是一个广为人知的词”吃苦耐劳“,从字面上解释就是”吃苦,耐劳”。 绝大多数中国人认为劳累是生命中无法避免的一环。

In dynastic days, one of the few ways for an ordinary citizen to better his lot is through passing the civil exams, and Chinese history is replete with legends of sons (daughters were not allowed to study) who burned the midnight oil or studied with firefly light, and parents who sacrificed everything to ensure that their kids’ diligence paid off.
旧中国时,平民百姓能够”暮登天子堂“的方式之一就是通过科举。中国的典故里有很多都是家中的男丁(女性后代是没有资格学习的)凿壁借光,囊萤映雪努力学习的美谈。 同样,家长也会不惜一切来支持他们孩子的努力。


When the communists took over, hard work became part of the national fabric. In 1945, Mao Zedong narrated the story of an old man and his two sons who were using ordinary hoes to move a mountain. When people laughed, the old man said, “When I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, my grandsons, and then their sons and grandsons, to infinity. The mountains cannot grow any higher, and with every bit we dig, they will be that much lower.”
TG掌权后,努力工作成为国家意志。毛泽东曾引用愚公移山的故事。当所有人都在嘲笑愚公之愚时,愚公说道"虽我之死,有子存焉,子又有子,子又有孙,子子孙孙无穷匮也,而山不加增,何苦而不平?

 

In 2011, in the wake of the American and European financial crisis, Jin Liqun, head of the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, described to UK Channel 4 News the contrasting work ethic of East and West.
2011年欧美金融危机之后,中国主权财富基金-中国投资公司的负责人金立群曾向英国第4新闻频道描述东西方职业道德之迥异:

“The root cause of trouble is the overburdened welfare system, built up since the Second World War in Europe, the sloth-inducing, indolence-inducing, labor laws. People need to work a bit harder, they need to work a bit longer, and they should be more innovative. We Chinese work like crazy.”
(金融危机)的源头正是(你们)不堪重负的,自二战以来建立的,鼓励懒惰的福利系统和劳工法。人民应该更大强度,更长时间,更为创新的工作。我们中国人工作起来像疯子一样。

Even in the East, the Chinese are viewed as the most hard-working. In 2004, former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew contrasted the two Asian giants, China and India, placing his bets squarely on the former.
甚至在东方,中国人也被认为是最努力工作的。在2004年,新加坡前总理李光亚曾对亚洲两大国,中国和印度进行对比,他把赌注全压在前者。

 

“The Indians haven’t got the Confucian culture. Without a culture that enjoins you to endure hardship and have the stamina to struggle on in a cohesive society where the individual subsumes himself for the benefit of the family and his society, it’s difficult to expect that degree of sacrifice.”
”印度儒家文化的缺失,使其之公民不能如中国人一般去忍受艰苦,去有大毅力来尽自己之力来创造一个个人为家庭,为社会做出牺牲来获取公众利益的有凝聚力的国度。这种程度的个人牺牲在印度是难以想象的。“

The above findings do not mean that other people are not hard-working. Pinoys may not be that disciplined here, but overseas Filipino workers, from helpers and teachers to seamen and construction workers, have a reputation as being solid and reliable. Immigrants of whatever stripe, whether from Asia or Africa, work incessantly to make a better life for themselves and their children.
当然上述所说并不是认为其他的民族就不努力工作了。 菲律宾人虽然没有那么的守纪,但是海外的菲裔劳工,从助手到教师, 到海员到建筑工人,都有着踏实以及可靠的美誉。来自世界各地的移民们,不管是来自亚洲抑或非洲,都为着自己的家庭孩子,为着更好的生活而努力工作。

The Chinese reputation for hard work appears to have basis. But researchers now question whether this will last.
中国人辛勤劳作的名声是有基础的。那么有研究者在质疑他们的传统还会一直延续下去吗?

2016-06-23

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