East Asian Pragmatism

I love the far east. It’s an overpopulated, wonderfully chaotic place where, if you happen to have the means, you can feel largely free to do more or less as you please. Of course, there is a flip side of this. In a place with comparatively few rules and regulations, the individual is obliged to take increased responsibility for their own actions and personal well-being, with an understanding that billions of people here do not have the means to live freely and well, and that to “do more or less as you please” is a very broad term (and unfortunately some people suffer from stupidity, or at worst, sociopathy).

I appreciate personal freedom, and am comfortable with any added personal responsibilities associated with that. My warm feelings toward the wild east are probably best summed up by this bottle of water I purchased a while back in Laos.

Ideally, pure drinking water Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
Ideally, pure drinking water
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

Labeled as pure drinking water, with the absolute genius brand name, ‘Ideally’… this image (to me) perfectly exemplifies the far east – pragmatic by nature, and not without a sense of humour.

I imagined a response to my imagined query to the good people at Ideally.

Dear consumer,

Thank you for your recent inquiry about our product. Ideally, this would be pure drinking water. It might be, but hey… it’s probably treated river water. How would we know? We’re in head office. Anyway, in a perfect world it would be pure drinking water, but again, hey, what the hell do you want for five cents?’

Best regards,

Ideally Inc. (a Samsung subsidiary)

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