A PIG under a Roof : Jia, Family, Guanxi & Success in Life

Jia for pig under the roofA pig under a roof can mean home or family (jia ) and it is also a very popular name for Chinese girls. Chinese writing is made up of 214 radicals or elementary pictures. By combining the radicals of pig and roof, we get jia. This tells us a lot about the value that Chinese people place on the family and of course, the pig. In ancient China, the farmer probably valued his pig more than his wife or female daughters. Jia, ideographically also implies that the woman’s place is in the home. Sociologically speaking, language constructs realities, and intrinsic in any language are stories which hint at values shared by a group of people. It is common knowledge that we Chinese, like most sinitic or chopsticks people (i.e Japanese, Vietnamese, Koreans) have a family-centred culture; a jia culture.

Family-centred people place heavy emphasis on the extended family. This unconsciously ‘compels’ Chopsticks people to make it their business to connect with strangers. What I call the ‘connectivity imperative’ is very much followed by Chinese people, especially the ‘overseas Chinese’ like Malaysian Chinese. Hence the importance of the business card exchange in contrast to Australians at first contact. This small act of business cards, seemingly insignificant to an Australian, is the first step towards building guanxi. Guanxi defies translation. In essence, it means networking & connectivity. Success in business and in life is measured by how effective one’s jia and guanxi is. This brings me to what constitutes success in life. From a Chinese perspective, success in life begins with one’s jia and guanxi.

GuanxiI believe to be a successful human you need to have skills in four areas. You need to have competencies to manage self, other people, career & money. You have to have a toolbox in all four areas. If these four areas are competently dealt with, that is to say, all the people in your life, including yourself, are managed appropriately, then money and love are your rewards. The Tao is balanced, so to speak. And if the Tao of your life is in equilibrium, heaven, lao tian, will smile down at you and yours. In short, life is great! You have health, wealth, longevity, and love (familial, spiritual & erotic/romantic). This is a holistic (Taoist/Confiucianist) perspective on what is a successful person.

I wish you love as our Australian spring nears & the Chinese Taoists celebrate with a festival and Moni creates a workshop on Life Skills for Success for teens. Start them young, I always say!

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