Soul searching

中国日报网 2016-04-26 13:04



Soul searching

Reader question:

Please explain “soul-searching” in this headline: Soul-searching in China as bystanders ignore woman being attacked in hotel (, April 8, 2016).

My comments:

The soul is considered as the spiritual part of a person, as separate from his or her physical body. The soul is considered to be the seat of one’s feelings and emotions, especially moral judgments.

You may consider the soul to be the deepest deep that makes us who we are as human beings.

Deepest deep?

That sounds deep, but where is it exactly?

That’s the thing – for you to figure out, individually. That’s what soul-searching is for.

Sometimes we consider our head as the organ for reasoning and our heart as being responsible for emotions. The soul, on the other hand, is deeper than both and is responsible, ultimately, for our actions and reactions, or as in our example the lacks thereof.

But first, like I said, we have to locate where our soul is.

And that’s what soul searching is for, I guess – for us to think hard about who we are, what we stand for etc.

In our example, after security video footage of a woman being attacked in a hotel is aired, people everywhere were outraged that such a terrible thing could happen in a public place and, more outrageously, that the first passersby would leave the scene without intervening.

Afterwards, there is the soul-searching, asking hard questions as to why things like that happen at all.

Soul-searching, in short, is a close self examination and analysis after something has gone wrong.

Or, in Chinese parley, it is self criticism.

Searching implies that we may have lost it, and therefore have to relocate it.

For those who still cannot find the right answers and the right courses of action to take after serious soul searching, well, perhaps they have lost their soul entirely.

Fortunately, that is not the case in most cases. Some people may have briefly lost their moral compass, so to speak or have sold their soul to the devil, as it were but I believe nobody loses their soul in its entirety. They just need to do more soul searching.

All right, here are media examples:

1. Less than two months before a fairytale wedding anticipated by much of the world, Britain’s royal family finds itself fighting an inconvenient distraction: revelations that Prince Andrew, the queen’s second son, is friends with a convicted sex offender, was photographed with a teenage prostitute, and has been accused of ties to Moammar Gadhafi’s Libyan regime.

The Duke of York also hosted the son of the Tunisian dictator shortly before a popular uprising drove him from power — and the buildup of embarrassment has sparked calls that he be stripped of his role as special U.K. trade representative.

Buckingham Palace is in damage control mode as it attempts to keep the public’s focus on the April 29 wedding between Prince William and tabloid favorite Kate Middleton, his college sweetheart.

British officials have rallied to Andrew’s defense. The foreign secretary expressed his “confidence” in Andrew on Sunday, and a U.K. trade official voiced support for the prince to remain in the position, saying he does a “very valuable job.”

But pressure is mounting and there is growing speculation over how long Andrew can hang on to his post.

Andrew has courted trouble before: His much-publicized divorce from Sarah Ferguson, her subsequent missteps, massive debt, a tell-all interview and a videotaped attempt to sell a U.K. tabloid access to Andrew stand in stark contrast to the glow surrounding William and Kate Middleton’s courtship and upcoming nuptials.

Since becoming a special trade representative in 2001, Andrew has also drawn criticism for reportedly taking lavish trips in his role as an unpaid trade ambassador.

The latest revelations in the British media have centered on Andrew's friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and claims that Andrew also had close ties to Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of the Libyan leader’s sons.

Photos recently published in the British media show Andrew strolling in a park with Epstein — the New York billionaire jailed for soliciting underage prostitutes in Florida. Most recently, a photograph emerged showing Andrew with his arm around the waist of the teenage prostitute at the center of that case.

While there has been no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of Andrew, the sum of events has prompted some soul-searching over whether the prince is a suitable representative for U.K. interests abroad.

“The duke recognizes that his association with Jeffrey Epstein was, in retrospect, unwise,” a person familiar with the matter said, noting that it can be understood Andrew will not be photographed with Epstein again anytime soon.

- Prince Andrew woes a distraction as wedding nears, AP, March 7, 2011.

2. President Obama made an impassioned call Tuesday for Americans to do “some soul searching” in the wake of this week’s rioting in Baltimore, arguing the U.S. has faced “a slow-rolling crisis” over race and economic opportunity in urban areas.

Speaking during a Rose Garden press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the president gave a seven-point answer in response to a question of what he and his government should do to response to ongoing tensions between police officers and communities of color.

Obama sharply condemned the rioters for damaging private property and taking items from local stores: “They’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing.”

But he also directed his criticism toward Americans--including the news media and some politicians--for failing to address the chronic problems of men, women and children who live in poverty and find their opportunities limited because of poor schools or long stints in prison.

“This has been a slow-rolling crisis,” he said. “This is not new... We, as a country, have to do some soul searching.”

- Obama urges country to do ‘soul searching’ in wake of Baltimore riots,, April 28, 2015.

3. Good Morning America’s Cecilia Vega had a brutal assessment Wednesday of Hillary Clinton’s blowout loss to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in the New Hampshire primary, calling it “embarrassing” and reporting the Clinton team didn’t expect it would “be this bad.”

Vega said the Clinton campaign was doing “serious soul-searching” after the bruising defeat.

“Bernie Sanders is certainly celebrating this morning, while Hillary Clinton is waking up to that embarrassing upset,” Vega said. “Her team knew that she would lose here. They were hoping it would not be this bad.”

Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, romped to a win by more than 20 points, cheerfully announcing a “yuge” turnout during his victory speech in his oft-imitated Brooklyn accent.

Clinton conceded quickly Tuesday night, congratulating Sanders and announcing a laundry list of progressive causes she would fight for going forward. Vega reported Clinton’s team had told her the campaign would shift its focus toward Nevada and South Carolina and hope to exploit its advantage with minorities.

ABC anchor Robin Roberts asked Vega about rumors of a Clinton campaign shake-up after the loss, which were rampant even before the returns came in Tuesday.

“For now, Robin, there is adamant denial inside the Clinton team. They say that is not going to happen,” Vega said. “Certainly this morning, there is some serious soul-searching happening inside Team Clinton. They know they’ve got to get this base in South Carolina and Nevada active and supporting her if they want this nomination to happen. They’ve got to do something differently.”

- Clinton Team Doing ‘Some Serious Soul-Searching’ After ‘Embarrassing’ Loss in New Hampshire,, February 10, 2016.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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