Metro Rail Service of Paris
When one travels to most part of Europe on his/her own on a tight budget, like a back-packer does, he/she will quickly realize that there isn’t anybody around to check on his/her transit or commuting tickets, either on rails, ferries, and other form of land transport. The most it is a glance from the inspector of the ticket one holds, depending on the modes of commuting services.
Now the inevitable question: How are these European nations remain strong and affluent, advanced and progressive? The answer is simple as the foundation of their nations and societies are based on a strong and united bond of upholding their moral value like honesty and trust, particularly.
This is a real story to relate regarding a streetwise young Chinese scholar whose encounter in
drew a blank when he sought for employment. Paris
About 15 years ago, one brilliant young man in
was exhilarated to learn that he had been voted the best student in his university for his distinguished achievement in graduate studies of business management. China
Soon he was bestowed with some scholarships to study abroad with lots of cash book prizes in tow. The young man almost lost his head as he was extolled to an unprecedented high that he became snobbish and conceited, ignorant and oblivious to envious eyes around him. After a meticulous scrutiny and search for the best education opportunity available and meeting the budget of his scholarship, he picked one renowned French university in Paris to pursue his Masters program.
Upon his arrival in Paris, he was quick to realize that he could board the underground Metro rail service without obtaining the ticket. He found out further that almost all stations of the rail service of the Metro operated on an ‘open’ system; there was no ticket inspector to examine the validity of the tickets. There were scores of security guards alright. To his delight, there was little chance to encounter random checking too. He did a discreet calculation of probability - The chance of getting caught for boarding the train without the ticket was about 3 in 10,000 rides. With his discovery he regularly commuted on the train service without obtaining the tickets first. He even brewed an ingenuous excuse in his mind that after all he was a poor foreign student who could not afford the fare. Further to that it was obvious a common and endemic practice among the Asian and African students in Paris at that time.
Four years had lapsed and this Chinese young man completed his post graduate studies with flying colors. He had been working part time as a tutor with his alma mater for two years then. It was the right time to seek a proper job that was relevant to what he had learned and trained; he was thinking enthusiastically.
He began to market himself for senior position by canvassing and approaching some large corporate companies directly for employment opportunity. At the first few preliminary meetings and interviews he was always greeted with respect and warm hearted reception after they had perused his resume. Subsequently, much to his chagrin the passion to employ him cooled down rapidly and he failed to clinch any job from any of these corporate companies. He was angry and frustrated to find all doors shut on his face when he went for further round of interviews. He was curtly told that the companies would not proceed with his application any more. Disappointed and dejected, he tried to find a logical answer to his dilemma. “It must be discrimination against the Chinese! I’m a Chinese!” On one fine day, he gate crashed one corporate business empires headquarter and after some initial obstacles, he met with the human resource departmental head face to face. Here were the details of the conversation he had with the senior vice-president in charge of human resource:
Chinese man: Your company must give me a justifiable reason for not accepting me. I know it well, isn’t it the element of racial discrimination playing a part? I though France is the fore-front runner for human rights in Europe and the world?
I'm telling you: Your attitude and ethics are all very wrong!!
Vice-President: Oh no, we don’t discriminate no body. As a matter of fact, after going through your resume, we’re impressed with your excellent academic distinctions. Our corporate business entity covers broadly over the globe and currently we’re focusing on the importance of marketing our products in China. When you first came to see us, we’re very concerned with your academic background, your relevant training and the high standard you had attained in your project research papers. We found that you’re the right person we should rope in for our ambitious operation in China.
Chinese man: (seemed relaxed and heaved a sigh) Then when will the offer letter of employment be forth coming? You’re recruiting one of the best brains par excellence of China. (He spoke unabashedly with chestful of confidence).
Vice-President: Oh no, we won’t be issuing you any. We’ve checked your trustworthiness record and found out that you had on three occasions being fined for avoiding paying for your commuting fare.
Chinese man: I don’t deny this. But for a small shortcoming you’re willing to abandon seeking the service of a distinguished scholar with many research papers posted in the forum of French universities. (Still he poised unashamedly).
Vice-President with stern and straight face: We don’t deem it a small and negligible shortcoming as it implies a person’s attitude towards honesty could be in doubt. The first time you were caught for not having a ticket at the Metro train one week after your arrival from China. The officer there accepted your explanation that you’re not familiar with the ticketing system. After you had paid the correct fare with a small fine, they let you go. But you committed the offence again two more times.
Chinese man: Oh that happened during a time I ran out of small changes.
Vice-President: No Sir, we don’t agree with your statement. You're doubting my intelligence. I believe during your stay in Paris, there were hundreds of times you managed to travel without paying for the tickets.
Chinese Man: Why so serious? Wouldn’t you consider the possibility of a changed person after this episode to become a law-abiding citizen?
Vice-President: No, I won’t. Firstly your behavior proved that you’re an incorrigible repeated offender of rules, regulations and the law. Not only that, you’re maliciously capitalizing to your advantage the loopholes of the rules. Secondly, you’re not the one to be trusted, and our operations at overseas depends on trust alone a great deal. If we were to hire you, you’ll be heading a large business operation in China, and be granted a full authority to run its day to day affair with vested power. For this, as a matter of fact a person with total integrity and unquestionable honesty is one we’re looking for. Due to cost factors, we could not have a wider and more effective surveillance and vigilante system to watch over trusted staffers, just like our transport systems.
Chinese man: For this matter your company won’t employ me. Let me tell you, you’ll be at the losing end when I find better paying company with another large corporate company in Paris. Since you don’t appreciate my capability and value my service, others will.
Vice President: I don’t think so. I don’t think you can ever find employment in Paris, or France. In fact you will not be able to find a job in the whole of Europe.
Frustrated man couldn't believe his fate
The young Chinese with an excellent academic record left the majestic building with his head bowed low and his two hands in the pockets a rejected man. He was contemplating to digest the meaning of the parting words the vice-president said to him while waiting for the lift: Moral value could always supplement the shortage of wisdom, but wisdom alone could never suffice to replace the absence of moral value.
Remark: A friend sent me a mail with this story in Mandarin Chinese sometimes ago. I rewrote it and translated this for all who could find time to read my blog. All comments and any similar experience of yours abroad are welcome. Thanks to all my readers.
Alan CY Kok