It’s a crude title for an article, but it’s based off a similar title for a book so I guess that makes it alright. It’s True. Asians Can’t Think is a scathing Time Asia article inspired by the book Can Asians Think? by Singapore diplomat Kishore Mahbubani. The article examines the East’s so-called fundamental drawbacks in thinking when compared to the West. Sin-Ming Shaw posits that most of Asia’s current scientific and economic models are based on Western brainpower and that rigid shooling systems and hierarchical career infrastructures limit Asian countries’ abilities to think creatively.
The twisted Confucian philosophy passed on by generations has played a damnable role in denting Asian creative thinking. U.S.-trained physicist Woo Chia-wei, president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, believes the Confucian stress on order is a major obstacle to creative thinking that has sometimes affected even his own instincts. All important advances in knowledge involve substantial revision or rejection of an existing framework. Scientists call that a paradigm shift. Order for the sake of order is the opposite of creative thinking.