Ageing China

24 Paragons of Filial Piety 5
24 Paragons of Filial Piety 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Filial Piety

CHINA TG 946.jpg

China, a country steeped in traditional Confucianism of filial piety, the foundation of all social values, is without exception as with Japan, rapidly facing the changes & challenges of an aging population.

While the physical needs of the aged can be taken care of financially, their social, spiritual & emotional needs are in fact far more critical.

Can we expect the old folks to be left on their own in care or nursing homes? Left to their own accord to congregate among themselves to play Chinese chess, mahjong or tai-chi exercise, as they are fond of & popularly known to indulge?Many old folks complain about being left there alone at care or nursing homes without visits from their loved ones.

Without adequate safety net for the elderly & which is not quite in place, the staggering number & rapid growth of the aged are indeed scary.By 2050 more than a quarter of the population will be over 65 years old and younger generations face an unprecedented burden of care.The present figure stands at 180 millions. The enforced one-child policy & the fact that longevity is prolonged nationally at around 75 because of improvement in health & medical care further aggravate the situation.

The unprecedented growth of such sheer numbers will definitely pose a serious threat to China’s social fabric and economic stability.The planning & tasks ahead are enormous.

China has recently stirred family emotions with a new law making it compulsory for grown adults to visit their elderly parents. It states that adults must take care of their parents’ spiritual needs. The law is short on detail – frequency of visits or potential punishment, but courts could impose fines or jail terms. This is indeed a surprised move.

Another area of concern, both in China and globally, is the proportion of older people living alone. The UN estimates that 40 percent of the world’s elderly are living independently alone or with their spouse, with an big gap depending on where you live – urban or rural.


So, is China right to make children legally obliged to look after their aged parents? Is the world ready to cope with a rapidly ageing population?

Old parents/grandparents, in their golden years of life, deserve to be well looked after & enjoy whatever leisure & pleasure that the diminishing years ahead of them have to offer.

It’s a shame that in this fast changing world, a lot of traditional practices are phasing out. Nothing pleases the old folks more or can replace the simple pleasure & joy of family reunions during birthday & anniversary celebrations, Spring festivals & others . . . or two, three or four generations simply coming together for meals. Now you see old folks selling off their family home and downsizing to live in apartments or care homes.


Filial Piety

The photos and video of Ting Tsu-chi carrying his mother to the hospital have gone viral. (Internet photo)

Filial piety has become a hot issue in Taiwan, according to a Staff reporter on 2012-03-06, after video of a middle-aged man carrying his frail mother into the Chi Mei Hospital went viral, touching hearts all over the country. Now people want to know more about the man in the video.

But what’s FILIAL PIETY in today’s age?

”Filial piety” is deeply embraced in ancient Chinese culture, teachings and philosophy.

It’s Confucianism.

Here’s sharing an article written by Dr Chris Anthony . . .


This is no sermon nor a nag ; it’s a very simple message. The article below was written by Dr. Chris Anthony . To those of you who still have their parents living , I like to share this good piece of regret that I had not read it earlier during the days when both my parents were still alive.

Read on ……

The time is now.

It is better to give them a little time now than to give them the world when they are gone. The world is full of sons and daughters like you and I.

I had a marvellous mother, who loved me, sacrificed for me and helped me in every way possible. In all of my growing up from childhood through school and eventually marriage, my mother was always at my side.

And when I needed help with my little ones, she was there for me. A few years ago, we buried this wonderful woman.Can you imagine how I felt when I returned home and found a poem in her drawer, written by my mom:

      The time is now

        If you are ever going to love

           Love me now while I can know

             The sweet and tender feelings

                Which from true affection flow                

Love me now while I am living

                      Do not wait until I am gone

                         And then have it chiseled in marble

                           Sweet words on ice-cold stone

                              If you have tender thoughts of me

                                 Please let me know now

                                   If you wait until I am sleeping

                                     There will be death between us

                                        And I will not hear you then

                                       So if you love me, even a little bit

                                          Let me know while I am living

                                                  So that I can treasure it

                                                            Your loving mum

Now she is gone and I am sick with guilt.

Because I never told her what she meant to me.

Worse yet, I did not treat her as she deserved to be treated.

I found time for everyone and everything else But I never made time for her.

It would have been easy to drop in for a cup of tea And a hug but my friends came first.

Would any of them have done for me what my mother did?

I know the answer.

When I called mom on the phone,

I was always in a hurry.

I feel ashamed when I think of the times I cut her off,

The times I retorted back to her,

The times I glared at her in an angry mood when she wanted to correct me and guide me through the correct path.

I remember too, the times I could have included her in a trip out ,but did not.

My children loved Grandma from the times they were babies.

They often turn to her for comfort and advice.

She understood them.

I realize now that I was too critical,

Too short-tempered, too stingy with praise.

Grandma gave them unconditional love.

The world is filled with sons, daughters and a child like me.

I hope they see themselves in this letter and realize from it.

If this has touched you, please pass it on to all the sons and Daughters who have to praise their Mom for everything they are today.

Modern Day Family


This story highlights that we must do whatever we can when our parents are alive to appreciate what we say or do, however little that may be.

Very often we are willing to spend thousands to give them a grand funeral with the most elaborate preparations and expensive coffins and so on. We are willing have memorials without fail year after year. We give alms in memory of our late parents but we could not afford to spend some time with them when they were with us before their death.

We were too busy with our lives.

How much do we treasure our parents? They may not be perfect but it is undeniable that they deserve more than what we are doing for them now.

We may be cruel to them or we may even be criminals but to our parents we are still good children and they continue to justify why have we become bad. They blame everybody else for their children being bad except them as they believe their children cannot have gone bad by themselves.

Nobody in the world does that. Many will flock to us when we are in a position to give but none when we are down and out. Our parents are the only ones who will be there with us and for us whether we are good or bad, up or down till their last breaths.

Let us search our hearts to see where we have placed our parents in it. If they are not in our hearts it is time to make a place for them there now. If they already there as in many of us, it is time to give them a little more. Let us not do something or fail to do it that we will regret later as it will be too late.


Filial piety is the duty that every Mother’s son or daughter , towards his / her parents. You can have many wives , husbands , mistresses , lovers , friends ; but you only have One biological Mother , Father. If you are a priviledged child with a Nanny , then the Nanny deserves your filial piety because she was the one who groomed you in your childhood years.

It is no use to spend lots of money for your parents’ funeral becos they are not able to cherish what you do ; the lavish funeral rites or expensive coffin that you spend on them ONLY BENEFIT the funeral caretakers ; nobody bothers how much you spend on your parents when they are dead. You may be magnanimous to donate money to charity in memorium of your parents …… who cares !!!

Hence , if you wanna to spend money on your parents , do it when they are still alive and able to appreciate and cherish your love.