Essay on Asian Values: Do they exist?

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Asian Values: Do they exist?

On the face of it, the existence of ‘Asian Values’ seems illusory.
After the humiliation of the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, the sounding of the death knell for the Asian-values debate seemed imminent. Yet with the recent ascension of China as an economic superpower and similar economic miracles in the East, some began to speculate about
‘Asian Values’ and its inherent superiority in the political, economic and social structures in countries.

‘Asian values’ can be termed as a set of values shared by people of many different nationalities and ethnicities living in East and
Southeast Asia. Often seen in the context of religion, Taoism, Islam and Buddhism have fashioned or influenced the basis of
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This enables the infiltration of cultural values and ideas into the
East- values like consumerism, for example. South Koreans chalk up mounting credit card debts as a result of their splurging on exorbitant branded goods from Burberry and Diesel, and schoolgirls in
China spend their money on Hello Kitty trinkets, ankle socks and other superficialities. This runs in direct contrast with the Asian belief in thriftiness, and values spilt over from American popular culture has also resulted in problems like premarital sex and anorexia, all aligning with the Western notion of ‘living for the moment’, a spirit of hedonism which is attractive especially to the youth. Despite this,
Western values have not fully succeeded, and Singapore is a classic case of a society that thrives on moderation and pragmatism. Our people may be prone to sales seasons or the following of new-fangled trends, but ultimately the rice bowl is still a significant concern for the majority. Globalization is a two way process, with certain
Asian values gaining ground in the West, like how recently Americans have been organizing campaigns against premarital sex. Thus even though globalization has threatened the existence of our Asian values, we still retain many of them even if they are altered to account for changing social realities, they provide a moral
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