Having 义气 (Yi Qi)

by Patrick Liew on July 12, 2011

When I was in school, during a football game, a fight almost broke out.

Some of the players and fans from the other team were running towards my friend, all ready to beat him up.

I ran in front of my friend to face the mob. With all the bravado I could muster, I told them, “If you want to touch my friend, you must take me down.”

As I spoke while facing them, I pointed my finger in the direction of my friend. When I turned around, I was shocked.

My friend was running away. In fact, my whole team was fleeing too.

I was left standing all alone.

I have not regretted doing it. And I have continued to go through difficult situations because I have a strange belief.

In Chinese, it’s called, 义气.

There is no equivalent translation of this word in English. To put it simplististically, it is a commitment. An allegiance of honour to stand by your friends through thick and thin.

If I may add, even if your friends are in the wrong, you will still put in everything possible to help him. You will support him to resolve the issue – even if you know he will stab you behind the back subsequently.

I call it a STRANGE belief because even among the Chinese, especially the younger ones, hardly anybody knows the meaning of this word.

Even if they do, it may be considered as foolishness to subscribe to it.



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