Saturday, March 23, 2013

2008 book essay - Blowing your own trumpet

The many criticisms on Grace Wong's news articles on Jaynestars prompted me to translate this essay Steven's book.

Blowing Your Own Trumpet自拉自唱
I truly dread those people who incessantly talk about the ‘glory’ of their accumulated good deeds, especially those who think just by their pressing the elevator open/close door button they have done you a good deed.

I am not being ‘arrogant’ (串), but I honestly don’t get it; just life’s minor stuff; just common courtesy; just something so common it’s no longer unusual; but, why is that there are always some people who like to look upon this minuscule stuff that can’t even be seen clearly under a microscope as some unforgettable, extraordinary kind deeds?

Earlier, I listened to a radio program. Because it was halfway through when I tuned in I did not know who the speaker was. But gauging from the voice, should be a forty-fifty something years old, well educated and widely traveled woman. Because of her sweet voice, I was promptly drawn in and I listened attentively to her sharing.

At first I quite enjoyed listening to her. She was regaling listeners with tales of her globe trotting experiences. Her anecdotes had substance. Her depiction of various local cultures was lively and vivid. I was duly engrossed. But later when she talked about foreign travelers encountering inconveniences in their travels because of the language barrier, my opinion of her changed from appreciation to aversion!

Since she knew multiple languages, when traveling in a foreign country, she, of her own initiation, often acted as interpreter to her fellow tourists who did not know the language of the country they were in. This in itself was admirable but the problem arose when within that short ten minutes, she repeatedly stressed her ‘kind heart’, her ‘kindness’, her ‘willingness to help others’; this kind of phrases. I didn't exaggerate. When she repeatedly used these words to make herself look good, I truly couldn’t stand it. I cringed, listening to her.  So as not to have my mood spoilt I changed to another channel.

Actually, I mean no disrespect to the lady but this kind of presentation truly made me think she was blowing her own trumpet. 

People who help others should think of it as a matter of course, not seeking praises in return. The recipients: heart feels gratitude, and also feel warm.  

Anyway, there’s this Chinese saying, “大恩不言謝” (No words can adequately express my gratitude for your help/favor.) This inconsequential help, why mention? (這等小幫忙, 又何足掛齒?)

Praises, coming from other people’s mouths, always outweigh blowing one's own trumpet!

圖文並謬 2008 Pp 128-129

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