Just as we are getting ready to usher in the Year of The Ox, China’s netizens seem to be inflicted with the mad cow disease. The apperance of revealing pictures of China’s movie star, Zhang Ziyi, and her billionaire fiance, Vivi Nevo, frolicking on a private beach in the Carribean provoked strong online reactions.
This coincided with the announcement by the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center of a list of websites which contain “large amounts of low and vulgar content that violates social morality and damages the physical and mental health of youths.”
While the 29-year old actress of international fame has her loyal fans defending her, many more grilled her mercilessly for her “shameless act” and even calling her a prostitute and for bringing dishonour to the Chinese face.
Four things come to my mind as I watch the charade unfold itself – hyprocrisy, gender-bias, self-righteousness and racism.
The worst of hyprocites are those who rush to the net to see the “shameless” pictures of her and her fiance to satisfy their insatiable voyeuristic appetite and yet condemn her for providing them precisely the pleasure of ogling her.
I asked my wife whether she would view these photos. She said she would out of curiosity. But then again she asked herself what purpose would it serve. “What would I gain. Nothing. On the other hand it would only make me more curious to watch such things, so I have to watch it,” she said.
Then she asked me if I needed to watch it to write this commentary. “Not really,” I said.
“Then you shouldn’t watch it.”
It also smacks of gender bais. If she was behaving like a prostitute, why was her venture capitalist fiance spared of punishment. He was her “partner-in-crime” after all. Why is it that when women sell their bodies for sex, they are punished for the crime of prostitution while those who bought sex from them get away scot free? It’s a case of a crime committed on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis but only seller is brought to justice.
We are always quick to point our finger at others but not realising three are pointing back at us at the same time. That’s self-righteousness. Jesus would have put it this way: “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5).
Lastly, some of the criticisms had a racist undertone. They were outraged because Zhang Ziyi was having it out with a European or a white-man (although he is actually a Jew), thus bringing dishonour to China. If the act of them frolicking on the beach in unacceptable ways, then the whole thing is still inappropriate behaviour even it she were to do it with a Chinese.
It was 2,000 years ago when Jesus was confronted with the case of a woman caught in adultery.
As he (Jesus) was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more. (John 8:3-11).
Jesus saw through their hypocrisy, their self-righteousness, their gender-bias, and their manipulation and they ended up condemned instead.
Back to Zhang Ziyi and Vivi Nevo. They were caught with their pants down so to speak. But I suppose Jesus would also tell them “go and do no more.” So, let us not be too quick to condemn them, lest we too stand condemned for our hypocrisy, gender-bias and self-righteousness. So it’s better we don’t go to the net to look for those photos and become raging red like a bull. Here’s wishing you a happy Year of the Brown (Earth) Cow.