“Achoo…” “God Bless You!” “Thank you!”…… “Oh, achoo…” “Bless me”…… “Bless you!” I remember that was the first day of school, in my ancient history class, Mr. Comer stopped in the middle of his lecture and had this little conversation with a girl named Natalie. Then he went back to his lesson and nothing seems just happened. Well, if there was a camera right in front of me at that second, it would recorded the puzzled look on my face; if there was a microscope right above my head, it would investigated my blind mind reaction; if there was an imaginary lens in my eye right then, it would presented lines of question marks. Without any exaggeration, these were exactly my reactions at that moment; I have no idea why they were having this wield conversation which had nothing to do with my class.
Because from where I grow up in China, no one says anything when others sneeze. Back to year 1346 in Europe, Black Death took proximately 200 millions of life as if humans were as vulnerable as papers. The whole population was scared of sneezing which was one of the scary symptoms of the deadly disease. Since then, the using of “Gesundheit!” to bless health in Germany started to became a national habit; in the parks, on the buses and at the studio, no matter where you go, the sentence is just as common as the word hello in people’s mouths. After times, each country and every language sort of adapted some sentences to bless each other when people sneeze. Let’s use a reading glass to look at this worldwide sneezing picture.
When we zoom to the far West, in the bread’s homeland, France, we hear people say a tes / vos souhaits after the first sneeze, a tes / vos amours after the second sneeze and qu’elles durent toujours after the third. If we then change our aiming target to the Eastern countries, we hear Indians say ??? ?, Vietnamese say S?ng lau, Turkish say Cok ya?a. Well, why don’t people in the biggest country of eastern continent of the earth, the c*** of Asia, have any blessing sentence to say when others sneeze? Retrospect to 551 BC, Confucianism phrases like “consideration for others is the basic of a good life, a good society”, “A smile is a light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, shaping person inside”, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have” were already sprouted from its root. People practice them daily, in the buses, in the mall, on the street… everywhere.
We see younger generation offer seat to elders; we see people leave the door open for the people behind; we see people reach out their hand to catch a downfallen child; we see…Just as an old Chinese saying goes “Disasters have no mercy, but humans do. When disasters stuck, help came from all sides,” the spirits’ unions of all the Chinese are able to build up a Great Wall whenever there is a need. If the culture of caring is like a basket, in China, this basket must be full of fruits. Chinese are not lacking of blessing words or a thoughtful hearts for others; it is just they don’t have the culture of saying “bless you” to others. If there’s ever a chance for you to live in China for a while and interact with native residents, you will hear people asking the sneezer about his health and giving thoughtful suggestions like drink more water, have some rest, wear warm clothes, some of them will even offer to do the sneezer’s work. The reaction of sneezing in China is not a single oral word; it is a practical action- a response to actually help the sneezer.
Although Chinese don’t say “bless you”, they do have a loving heart. I have a heart full of caring else, But I don’t say “bless you” to the sneezing air. I show my love different than most others, But it doesn’t mean I don’t care. The wired Chinese, The wired way of expressing, But I do have the same loving heart as most others.