http://www.sina.com.cn 2008年03月26日 13:55
British people have always received success in a way quite unfamiliar to, for example, Americans and Chinese. To some extent, this is the tiff-upper-lip eld, untremblingly, by countless generations-concealing emotions in good times just as in bad.
Such implacability may simply disguise shyness or arrogance. But, I argue, in the case of the British, there has, for a long time, been something deeper than merely biding success. There has also been, perhaps, a shame in success itself.
Neither British teachers nor students refer often to the top of the class If one mentions the academic success of a classmate, boy or girl, one does so with a sneer, perhaps calling such a student hwot insinuating that their success resulted only from effort, or worse, the sacrifice of social life. Successful students might also be termed teacher's pet? attributing success to the teacher's favour. Such accusations are usually, of course, unjustified. But life in British schools nonetheless creates ambivalences even for gifted children. Their culture and language discourages excellence. And it is rare to find a British student, of any ability, graduating from university without having enjoyed a sustained period of rebellion. For the majority of the time, perhaps, the scorn for success is merely rhetoric. Still, it's rare to find anyone for whom the message has never entered consciousness.
In adulthood, likewise. Whereas the American or Chinese will willingly discuss their salary with a stranger, along with the exact monetary value of possessions, few from Britain would mention such things outside close family. We British would like you to think that, in not mentioning such quantitative details openly, we are not even thinking about them.