In these pages we meet a surgeon raised in Singapore but westernized in London who still believes in the value of Chinese medicine, which "revitalizes you in ways that Western medicine cannot understand." A member of the Chinese Canadian community who bridles at the insistence that you can't be Chinese unless you speak a Chinese dialect, because "Even though I do not have the Chinese language, I think my ability to manifest many things in Chinese culture to others in English is still very important." Individuals all loyal to their countries of citizenship who continue to observe the customs of their ancestral home to varying degrees, whether performing rites in memory of ancestors, practicing fengshui, wearing jade for good luck, or giving out red packets of lucky money for New Year.
What emerges from many of these accounts is a selective adherence to Chinese values. One person cites a high regard for elders, for high achievement, and for the sense of togetherness fostered by his culture. Another, the bride in an arranged marriage to a transplanted Chinese man, speaks highly of her relationship: "It's the Chinese way to put in the effort and persevere." Several of the stories consider the difference between how Chinese women overseas actually live and the stereotypes of how they ought to live. One writes: "Coming from a traditional Chinese family, which placed value on sons and not on daughters, it was necessary for me to assert my own direction in life rather than to follow in the traditional paths of obedience." Bracketing the testimonies are an overview of the history of emigration from China and an assessment of the extent to which the Chinese overseas retain elements of Chinese culture in their lives.
In compiling these personal accounts, Wei Djao, who was born in China and now lives near Seattle, undertook a quest that took her not only to many countries but also to the inner landscapes of the heart. Being Chinese is a highly personal book that bares the aspirations, despairs, and triumphs of real people as it makes an insightful and lasting contribution to Chinese diasporic studies.
In Beyond a Western Bioethics, physicians Angeles Tan Alora and Josephine M. Lumitao join eight other contributors to provide a comprehensive exploration of bioethical issues outside of the dominant American and western European model. Using the Philippines as a case study, they address how a developing country's economy, religion, and culture affect the bioethical landscape for doctors, patients, families, and the society as a whole.
American principles of medical ethics assume the primacy of individual autonomy, the importance of truth-telling, and secular standards of justice and morality. In the Philippines, these standards are often at odds with a culture in which family relationships take precedence over individualism, and ideas of community, friendship, and religion can deeply influence personal behavior. Pervasive poverty further complicates the equation. Contributors move from a general discussion of the moral vision informing health care decisions in the Philippines to an exploration of a wide range of specific cases: family planning, care of the elderly, organ transplants, death and dying, medical research, AIDS care, doctor-patient relationships, informed consent, and the allocation of scarce health-care resources.
Written for both students and professionals, the book provides a much-needed perspective on how medical ethics are practiced in a developing nation, and it successfully challenges the wisdom of global bioethical standards that do not account for local cultural and economic differences.
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