By David James
Despite the rhetoric
surrounding the U.S. Senate hearings on campaign finance, the picture
emerging is that Asians and Asian-Americans who contributed to the
Democratic campaign coffers did so in an effort to help overseas
friends in high places gain contacts and prestige here. Their actions
were NOT intended to buy improper political influence.
In the United States,
businesses hold a deep distrust of politicians and government bureaucrats,
whereas in Asia, government-to-business relations are far less adversarial.
By following the events being probed at the Washington hearings,
Western business people can gain insight into doing business in
From Democratic fund-raiser
John Huang, to Charlie Trie of Little Rock, Ark., to the Buddhist
nuns of the Lisi Lai Temple near Los Angeles, these minions were
seeking to do good for their respective superiors and thereby bask
in reflected glory. Instead of sinister motives, cultural differences
are in evidence.
When nun Venerable Man-Ya
was asked if she did not realize that Vice President Al Gore's visit
to her Temple was a hind-raiser, she replied, "We see people. We
don't see politicians." Later, when the Temple's treasurer, Venerable
Yi-Chu, was asked to explain why she destroyed documents relating
to the event, she replied she did so because she was afraid the
documents would embarrass the Temple after the news media got hold
of the issue, not because she sought to cover up for Gore. She was
protecting her protectors. How very Buddhist! How Confucian!