-- A blog maintained by a pessimistic over-confident High-School kid.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Understanding Others - It is always not people's fault

Just learning about the release of the movie IP Man 4, I went back to rewatch the amazing kungfu fight scenes in previous IP Man movies. One of these scenes is the fight between ip man and a flawed protagonist that unrightfully presses others for money to maintain his family and protect the existence of traditional Kong Fu against the influence of western boxing. This flawed protagonist started off as the antagonist as only his money lusting side is shown, but as the story moves on, the reasons for his actions were revealed. The demonstration of how people's wrongful doings has its sensible origin perfectly aligns with my view and understanding of others. It draws parallels to a topic I had with my homestay brother of how its not people's fault when they do drugs.

Toward the start of the semester, my homestay brother discussed with me about the situation of drugs and how people from our school did it last year. His stance was that these people are all 100% wrong and they should have known better than to use their economic stability on addictive chemicals. But I, on the other hand, argued that we cannot blame these people as because it is their past experiences and background that led them into the position. If these people do not have an outlet that they could buy drugs from, they would not be able to do drugs. No matter how bad a person can be, there is still a reason and a build-up that make them the way they are. Our personalities and decisions are all based on our past memories, and our memories are governed by external factors. While we all should take responsibility for our every action, it is always not the person's fault for their actions. To a certain extent, our brain is similar to a computer as all our thoughts are determined by the independent neurons firing and we do not have control over our actions. Our interactions between people are just part of the big chain reaction of chemicals that is started during Big Bang. While the people that do drugs are undoubtedly false and unjustified, it is not their fault at all. They have their own reasons that they end up in that situation. It may be because their parents were never beside them or maybe because they gained their internal justification from how their friends and idol all suddenly do drugs all a sudden. The point I am trying to get to is that all actions by people have their own reasons, no matter good or bad. And if we are going to criticizes people, we should do our part to prevent the things we criticize instead just talking about how they are wrong. But while I am very clear of this concept myself, I still could not get my homestay brother to understand it after hours of debating with him. And the example of people having their own reasons in IP Man 2 may demonstrate the point better with its more down to earth situation.

Within IP Man 2, the flawed protagonist is the head of all kung fu masters in Hong Kong called Master Hung. When Yip Man tried to independently start his own martial art centre, Hung tried to stop him with a challenge to a duel and requiring a mandatory monthly martial art community fee. Hung's act of selfishness to maintain his spot of being the best fighter and feeding off other's money is entirely wrong. And the fact that he is preying on the economically troubled Yip Man makes it just the worse. But even in his sinful acts, the later backstory of him that explains his family and dignity issues justifies his earlier actions. In the film, it is said that he is a father of around 6 (I don't want to look it up, and is always verbally insulted by western boxers. His private life is stretched to an intangible degree, and he had been eating down and absorbing all the negative atmosphere and providing the martial art community with a healthy western(1) free environment. He had done a lot for the kong fu community without people's understanding. He is taking all the blame for his wrongful actions, but these wrongful actions truly originate from western dominance and imperialism. His life is of selflessness where he dedicates his all to his family and traditional Kung Fu. While what he did is sinful in itself, it is easy to understand his intentions and reasons.

Master Hung and the people that do drugs are similar in a way that they are misguided and influenced into their own respective situations. The difference between them is that we do not know the backstory of the people that do drugs. While this does not negate any of their responsibilities, we should develop an understanding that it is not their fault. In the IB diploma program, one of the major topics is to be open-minded, and it perfectly illustrates the message of the movie. We should always seek to understand where others are coming from and their reasons for their actions. If a person is failing math at school, it might be because they weren't forced to remember the multiplication table in primary school. If a person has a weird accent that they can't get rid of, it is probably because he had been listening to that accent since he was born. If someone isn't attentive or is rude, it is probable that he did not have caring friends or parents themselves. It is crucial in this era with global connectedness that we try to understand other's perspectives and treat others accordingly.

Quick Sketches of people in the airport to my best ability

(the real people are nothing like what I drew, but whatever)

(1) western culture isn't toxic or bad, its just how the movie portrayed it.


  1. Good that you have own viewpoint and being objective.

  2. Same point as you, especially when looking from hindsight, we can all justify someone's reason for doing something. I think that's what open-mindedness is: extending your view into time AND space so you're not just restricting yourself.

    Like that you bring Ip Man in.

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