Returning home from England, a friend asked me: “How many years is China behind the UK in its development?” This is a question with no easy answers, because it involves many factors, including history, politics, economy, culture, and education. Nevertheless, the following story may provide some insight into an answer to this question.
A British couple had worked their whole life in Chelmsford and planned to sell their house and retire in Spain. England is surrounded by the sea, and the wet climate tends to impact aged people with rheumatism.
The couple wanted to complete the transaction in two weeks. Hence, they put out an “urgent sale” ad with a real estate agency.
A young Chinese couple moved to England, and they were eager to find a good location in Chelmsford for their child’s schooling. They were very interested when they saw the house photo and price list provided by the realtor. Both the location and house quality met their expectations.
Noticing the “urgent sale” sign, the young man called the realtor and asked if the price could be lowered. The aged couple agreed due to their urgent house deal in Spain.
The young couple believed that there was still an opportunity to lower the price further. So, two days prior to the contract signing, they threatened to call off the deal unless the couple agreed to another price cut. Surprisingly, the elderly couple agreed on the new price. The young people were jubilant over attaining an ideal house at a great price.
When the Chines couple arrived at their new home, they saw that the green yard was freshly mowed and flowers were blooming everywhere. As they opened the door, the couple could hardly believe what they saw: The house was spotless and the windows were crystal clear. Walking through the house to the back kitchen, they found a vase filled with fresh flowers, whereon a note was placed. It said: “Welcome to your new home, we wish you the same happiness that we experienced!”
In the kitchen, the refrigerator was filled with food and beverages. There was also a note posted on the refrigerator. It said: “We have prepared a week’s worth of food for you. The supermarket is about 10 minutes away — it’s just a left turn at the end of the road.”
The young couple were puzzled and asked each other: “What kind of person sells their house in such a way?”
Finally, a note was found on the power meter in the basement. It read: “We have paid the utilities for the next month so that you may have sufficient time to complete the changeover to your name.” In England, the aforementioned procedure is very tedious.
The new home owners were stunned. The consideration and generosity given by the previous owners drove them to a deep sense of shame for renegotiating the agreed upon price. They completely lost the joy in owning their new home.
When Chinese can behave like the British couple, then China’s development will meet the same standard as that of other advanced nations in the world.
Translated by Jean Chen.