Attaining power, rich and prestigious can boost your personal ego and impress people. It makes you feel superior and gives you the joy of being special. Seeking successful social status and self-supremacy over others could be a natural human desire, but it seems to have become a deep-rooted Chinese mentality as China grapples with growing materialism.
A Chinese blogger writes that Chinese people’s social class largely depends on what luxury cars they drive or how many mansions they own. Besides expensive cars and luxury homes, the children’s success can also bring pride and the feeling of self-supremacy for many Chinese people. Most Asian parents expect their children to be the “best”, hoping them to get a degree of a top-notched university and then a lucrative job that comes with significant social prominence and financial glory.
但是，超人一等就高尚吗？ 事实上，这种追求优越感欲望可能并不现实，把你带入虚幻境地。而且如果因此走上极端，不仅可能对自身不利，甚至有可能导致无可挽回的伤害。那些令人垂涎的职业可能会带来巨大压力，很快就让人不堪重负。同时它们还会严重损害人体健康，导致身体疾病、抑郁乃至严重心理问题。有些人因此沦为吸毒者，还有些人则被工作压力压垮 ， 甚至付出生命代价。
But does nobility lie in being superior? In fact, this superiority sentiment could be delusional, and if taken to the extreme, it could be detrimental, causing irrevocable damages. The prestigious jobs could become highly stressful and burn you out quickly. They can take a toll on your health – from physical illness to depression to serious mental problems. While some become drug users, others have succumbed to the job stress and even lost their lives.
Early this year, a 24 year old first-year associate at the Goldman Sachs office in San Francisco died after taking the highly stressful job as an investment banking analyst—the most desiring job among Asian Canadians. The job can pay a grand total of $150,000 for a 24 year old – who has a potential to earn a hundred million and private jet down the road.
According to media report, Sarvshreshth Gupta, an Indian born American who took an investment banking job after graduating from University of Pennsylvania, died of job stress. He had overworked for prolonged hours and was sleep-deprived. During the wee hours of a Feb. morning, extremely exhausted Gupta told his father that he wasn’t suitable for the job, feeling he was on the edge of collapse. However, he chose to hang on to it. Was he obsessed with this superiority sentiment and under the strong influence of Asian supremacy culture?
Gupta, who had planned to take a few hours of break at home, died at the parking lot in front of his building.
This superiority obsession can also lead to feelings of insecurity, inferiority and disappointment. Many Asian immigrants who decided to immigrate to North America simply for the wrong reason, such as seeking self-supremacy -- would quickly feel discontent. Seeing their peers in China taking more important positions or becoming experts in their professions, they would quickly lose their self-esteem, feel inferior and even believe their life becomes worthless.
This Asian supremacy culture has other downsides. It can also lead to the entitlement of judging others – especially the marginal group. I was deeply touched when my 17-year-old daughter, who volunteered at her school’s Feed the Hungry Program, came home one day telling me how she admired a homeless guy.
She told me, with tears in her eyes, that she admires and respects him, because he has endured the torment of cancer that others can hardly imagine and survived decades-long disparagements and belittlements by others.
I was embarrassed because I was one of the millions of Asian people who believe that homeless is disgraceful. In a culture that only admires billionaires, the powerful and authority figures, those who do not have a penny to their name are the boar hogs, scums and sore losers.
As Gupta’s father was mourning his dead son, my WeChat group members – mostly my former college classmates started a wave of discussion over their sons and daughters’ career goals:
“My son got into University of Pennsylvania and will look for a job as an investment banker,” a proud mother posted on WeChat group. Her post engaged many others who quickly followed suit.
“That was the ideal job that I hope my daughter will take! It is my ultimate goal that she will be a Wall Street professional!”
“My son graduated from New York University, but he is very likely to get into Goldman Sachs!”
But I kept silent, as I watched heated reactions from the proud mothers flocking into my inbox. I had nothing to offer. A few months ago, my son – an Ivey business school student, declared that he won’t pursue a Wall Street job, because he doesn’t believe that the job suits him.
I respect my son’s decision. I believe that my son’s happiness and mental health far outweighs my swelling ego, and I don’t want be in Gupta’s father’s shoes one day. And neither do I believe that I am loser, feeling embarrassed or disgraceful in front of my classmates– at least not to the same extent when my daughter passionately told me how wrong it was that Chinese people judge the homeless.
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