26 May
Posted in: Cultural Studies   
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Two Sides of One Coin


Update: Here is a moving yin-yang diagram (July 23, 2006).

The title of the post is borrowed from an article in this excellent blog: A Taste for Good Life, which, according to the author who is originally from China, Helen Wang “is about the beauty of life”. While holding a number of senior research and business executive positions both inside and outside China, Helen actually maintains several blogs writing respectively about “the beauties of life” and about business Across the Pacific. Kindly recommended by the author, I am very impressed by the insightful cultural findings cited in daily life in her article entitled Two Sides of One Coin.And, the concluding remark is particularly notable:

“Seemingly opposite to each other, I see the east and west are the ying and yang of the universe. Chinese culture has more emphasis on feminine energy of the universe (ying), which includes humbleness, patience, letting be and motionless; while American culture accents masculine energy of the universe (yang): proactive, aggressiveness, goal-oriented, and taking action. They are two sides of one coin and we need the both to be one.”

To Helen, the origins of “the cultural differences of the east and west are deeply rooted in religions and people’s belief systems”, and she believes “they are two sides of one coin and we need the both to be one.” I entirely agree. And I think her extensive experiences both in the east and in the west have helped her to obtain those very outstanding intercultural insights which eventually contributed to her business successes and accomplishments.

I also like the Yin-Yang Diagram in her post which actually best illustrates her perspectives (linked above). Coincidentally, when I am reading the article in Asia Business Law, with which I had some discussions recently through posts and comments around the topic of the role of cultural awareness in business successes, I noticed there is also a Yin-Yang Diagram (linked on the left). In the discussions (and also with China Law Blog), I found it interesting to look at the unique perspectives by China experts from the west who are actually culturally sensitive and experienced in the cultures in the east. Although we come from positions that are not the same, we all agree that ” Cultural knowledge and business skills should not be weighed equally or even separated.”

Back to Yin-Yang, just as what ‘two sides of one coin” is saying, Yin-Yang represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work, and is actually a fundamental principle in Chinese belief systems which still affect people’s way of thinking today. “They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other (from The Meaning of Yin-Yang)”. Amazingly, we also found from this blog this picture (linked above on the left), which in reality is an island in New Zealand.


  • […] In My World Across the Pacific Helen’s BiographyHelen in Intercultural Learning […]

  • as a SABC Huayi;
    i am delighted that you have taken Helen Wang’s unusual Yin-yang Leitmotif and have it moving.
    Back in the eighties, i asked many 101010 programmers to create a dynamic yin yang for me, as i was dithering as to it’s 3 or 4 dimensional personality.
    wish my jong mun was much much better , alas . . . .

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