Category Archives: Final

Final Part 4

“How to Get Rich in Rising Asia” is a story about a Man striving for a life with financial security, perhaps in excess, and not truly fulfilling what it means to be happy. The Man does not feel fulfilled until the end of the book when he is taken out of his comfort zone of money, power, and status- left without an income and without his health, and is left to better his interpersonal relationships which ultimately leads to a more fulfilling life and his happiness. Many people in our society are caught up in the ‘importance’ of possessions, for we are a very materialistic culture. The book provides us with a lesson not by example, but rather by repeated failure, and places an emphasize on the important things in life. 

I chose the following picture because it show the positive impact of supportive personal relationships.


“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” is a book about a boy growing up in said “rising Asia”, in search of ways to gain financial stability and security in the world around him. Throughout the book, he is faced with many situations, which could have brought him pleasure in many ways- however, pleasure and happiness are never directly referenced or mentioned at any point in the book. During the first half of the book, it is clear that the protagonist’s journey is based on the search of money for pleasure. I was not too fond of this book because of the writing style and the story in general. It did not stress any major points directly, rather just carried the reader through a journey of a man’s life, which was supposed to be paralleled to the reader’s life- after all, it had been portrayed as a self help book up until it became clear that this person’s life was to be learned from based on his failures rather than by example of his accomplishments.

The man seems to be suffering throughout the book- at least in my own personal interpretation. He was never satisfied with his relationships, whether it be with his father, or siblings, or the Pretty Girl, or his wife, or his son- he was always looking for bigger and better things of monetary value to bring him pleasure. The search for money had lead to poor decisions and poor judgments; ones that absolutely made the reader question the protagonist’s moral character. The concept of the novel was sad; the man was continuously searching for a happiness he could not possibly find in money and business; rather, the happiness he was looking for was not fulfilled until he became closer with the Pretty Girl and his own son, at the end of his life. Happiness is subjective- different things bring each of us a different amount of pleasure. While many people value materialistic objects as the key to a happy life, oftentimes it is through personal relationships and doing good for others that we as humans feel most fulfilled.

The Man’s story and moral character can be evaluated by delving into the theories or Aristotle and Pojman. Aristotle speaks of happiness and good men in terms of the goods that they do rather than the goods that they have; “a happy man lives well and does well”. According to Aristotle, the main goal in life – the point of the journey of life is to strive for happiness. Aristotle refers to a point in one’s life, which I can only assume to be close to death, where a man values himself by the goods within himself rather than the goods he possesses- the internal goods. This is where is becomes evident that the Man was not on the track to happiness until the later point of his life, when all of his possessions, wealth, and social status had been taken from him by his ex-brother-in-law. Aristotle talked about goodness and happiness, and so we will talk about how the Man was good and how he was not before we can talk about his happiness. With goodness, naturally comes the thoughts of morality.

Aristotle spoke of moral virtues in the sense that they are not naturally occurring- they are a learned behavior that must be practiced and exercised to become a part of us. This coincides nicely with the point that Pojman made about cultural relativism in the sense that morality is different among different cultures. If someone is not raised with moral virtues, they can not rightfully be judged because of the absence of these virtues simply because it was not part of their culture. So I pose the fact that the Man was not an honest businessman, not a good husband, not trustworthy, did not stand up against violence or unjust acts, etc.- but he could not be judged for not responding to these a certain way if his culture did not place an emphasize on the importance of them.

When we meet the Man, he is still living in a rural area with his family while his father is traveling back and forth from the city. In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to him while he is suffering from what seems to be a horrible ailment. In his culture it was normal to have this type of sickness, and he was not paid much attention to. In America, however, someone who had the possibility of dying from a virus or bacteria would be hospitalized immediately and would have intensive care, while here the Man, or boy at the time, was just depicted as lying there sick, while his parents were having sex in the same room that him and his siblings slept in. One could see how this differs from normal American culture, and how a difference at a young age could change the fundamentals of morality from ‘doing good for others’, and converting them into ‘survival mode’.

So then the boy goes to the city with his father and the rest of his family. He attends school, where he is humiliated for being intelligent, and eventually is employed at a video store. While working at this video store, he sees the pretty girl walking to her house often, and eventually comes into contact with her, discussing the possibility of stealing a movie for her viewing pleasure. This is the first of many immoral incidents on the Man’s part. However, we have to weigh the options- would there have possibly been another way the Man could have gotten the girl the DVD without stealing it?- perhaps not. I feel that it would be appropriate to attribute his wrong doing to the fact that he was interested in his own benefit, which was the chance to interact with the Pretty Girl, rather than actually intentionally doing wrong; being passively immoral, if you will.

Throughout the story, there were many times when the Man was immoral. One big example that I could not disregard was the fact that his entire water bottle business was built on the fact that he was not purifying or filtering the water professionally. Rather, he was just boiling the water and selling it as purified. During a conversation with one of his workers, he discussed that if someone got sick from the water if it was not boiled the right way, it would not be good for business. I felt that it was immoral to not recognize that it would be wrong to make someone sick in the first place. Also, I could not understand how someone could sell a product claiming it was one thing and actually selling something of lesser quality- but I suppose that would delve into a concept of business ethics. Regardless, the fact that he built his business on false advertising and deceiving his clients was morally wrong.

There was also a situation in which he felt threatened because of his financial power and status, and so he hired a body guard for protection. While he was out with the body guard one day, the guard felt that the Man’s safety was threatened by an individual, and so the guard shot him. The guard did not consult the Man before killing the individual. However, it was not written in the book that the Man reacted in a way, objecting the actions of the guard and stating they were wrong. It was morally wrong for the Man to not address the wrongdoing with the guard.

The Man married a woman whom he was not entirely interested in. They had a child and he was not often present because, as always, he was in search of bigger and better things like money and social status. His marriage had fallen apart, and by the time he was interested in repairing the damage, his wife had zero intentions of putting effort towards the relationship. It was immoral for him to ignore the responsibility of marriage and a family. However, it is worth mentioning that we were not exposed to the culture regarding marriage in ‘rising Asia’. Perhaps it was the norm for the man to distance himself from the family to provide money- and so we as a culture are not in the position to judge because of the lack of knowledge on the matter.

The Man’s interactions with the Pretty Girl were overall immoral on both of their parts. I feel as though they toyed with one another’s emotions throughout the story, and it was not fair to either of them. The pretty girl was not necessarily the most modest character, and she was often with other men while the Man was getting married, having a family, lying and cheating to make money, etc. Their relationship was not feasible, but nevertheless, monumental. There were many instances when it was evident that they longed for one other, but were unable to make it work because of other desires like money and fame. Both the Man and the Pretty girl are guilty of this. However, I believe that if the Pretty Girl had given the Man the opportunity to be with her earlier in the story, in a more concrete way, like marriage, that he would have graciously accepted and perhaps the story would have played out much differently.

The main concept of this book was not directly introduces: the search for happiness and the importance in life. Throughout the book, the Man was not ‘happy’ although it seemed like he was chasing his own tail around it. The man did not seem satisfied with his life until all of his money and possessions and statuses were taken away from him. Towards the end of the book, the Man no longer had his health. Once he was discharged from the hospital, he was living in a hotel and helping young men who were trying to become entrepreneurs, giving them advice and showing them the way. Helping those people made him feel satisfied and happier with himself. However, he was still longing for something else. He had rekindled his relationship with the Pretty Girl and they lived together, having a mutually satisfying relationship. His son had visited and stayed with the Man and the Pretty Girl for a while- that was also an important relationship that made the man feel very satisfied.

The man was not a ‘good man’ throughout much of the book, because of the example of immoral decisions he made, and therefore I did not sense him as a happy man. It is hard to decipher if happiness makes you good, or if goodness makes you happy. However, it is very evident that when the man was no longer passively immoral, he became happier.  It is also very evident that the reader did not get a sense of satisfaction from the Man until he was nurturing his interpersonal relationships with his son and the Pretty Girl, supporting the fact that his true happiness was not fulfilled by material possessions and money. At the end of the book, the Man is dying, and we are painted a picture of a scene, which is either a dream or a hallucination. The Man thinks that he is in the hospital again, surrounded by many people. This reinforces that fact that he recognized the importance of his relationships with others- he did not dream of money, or water bottles, or cars, etc. The important things became clear to him much like Aristotle mentioned- “a man values himself by the goods within himself rather than the goods he possesses”. Even though the story ended on a sad note with the Man dying, I feel that the man had a successful story because he was able to find satisfaction in his situation and recognize that happiness was manifested in relationships rather than possessions.


Final Project Part 3

There are many characters we are introduced to in the book- some of which we learn about more than others, and some of which we know close to nothing about. The Man is the protagonist in the book, and so we learn about others form a point of view that many be biased; we are not sure if he is sharing with us his opinions on them, or if these are actual facts. It is safe to say, however, that we make moral judgments on these people based on what little we know about them, and suddenly our opinions are formed. Even about the Man- we formed opinions about him when there is still so little we know about him. It was never discussed whether he was happy in his situation or with his actions or with what he has done. Regardless of the lack of discussion about happiness, I feel that Aristotle’s theories on happiness would be most applicable to this book and the characters in this book in that the characters were concerned with their own happiness. I feel that many of the characters in this book were driven towards things that they believed would bring them happiness. Another point to mention, it was never discussed what constituted happiness in this culture or in the opinion of these individual characters. Happiness is subjective- everyone has a different idea of happiness. However, there are other concepts important to Aristotle’s theories, like morality and virtue, which I did not get a huge sense of in this book.

Even The Man, for example, it wasn’t discussed what would make him happy- it was just continuous discussion about money and his business for the first bulk of the book. It was just assumed by the reader that money and power was this Man’s opinion of success and happiness, which happens often for people. It was not later in the book where we find that the looses all of his possessions, is still looking to help people (particular young individuals with the same aspirations and a young ‘Man’), and was looking to find fulfillment in personal relationships as with the Pretty Girl, his son, etc.

One point in Aristotle’s writings he mentions what I can only assume to be the concept of death, and how one looks back with a sense of reflection trying to evaluate his or her own life and deciding whether or not it is fulfilling. There comes a point where one realizes that material possessions were not all the important, and the true importance lied in the concepts of love, family, kindness, etc. I feel that at the end of this book, when the Man was living with the Pretty Girl and they were sharing the final stages of their lives together, I felt a sense of this reflection Aristotle spoke about, and I feel that it became evident that the Man found the importance in life.

I did not care particularly for the writing style of this book. I believe it gave entirely too much detail in a blunt manner than made me feel uncomfortable at times. I don’t read books often, mostly just nursing textbooks, so I can’t say that I have much to compare the writing style to. I felt as though this book was more a narrative that a novel, perhaps because it was in the firs person and I felt as thought we were really connected to the Man. I hope the book would delve more into the feelings of the man- how he felt about his situation, what he thought he should strive for in the greater scheme of things, what happiness really meant. I felt that there were certain parts of the Man that were isolated. I do not feel that I can particularly connect the writing style with any moral ideas we have learned through out this semester.

Thesis: “Happiness is subjective- different things bring each and every one of us different amounts of pleasure. While many people value materialistic objects as the key to a happy life, oftentimes it is through personal relationships and doing good for others that we as a human race feel the most fulfilled”.

Final Project 1

I felt that this book was very difficult to get into and hard to follow. I did not appreciate the writing style at all, and was confused by the “self help” bit at the beginning of each chapter. I thought the book was overly graphic during many parts- but perhaps that is just a dislike of the author’s writing style. I didn’t notice many of the ethical relation during the beginning of the book. The points I did notice were the father’s love and sacrifice by bringing the family to the urban area to better their lives. I noticed the mother’s love even though she was a harsh figure and described as less than feminine.During the beginning of the book, the strong emotional connections noted were that between the man and the pretty girl, the man and his siblings, the man and his parents, etc. Throughout the book I felt that the main point was his struggle making it to the top of the social hierarchy, making money and obtaining status. I was less than attracted or fond of the man’s personality and the way the author described it. His values and integrity were not noticed until the end of the book, and I did not feel emotionally connected to the character until the point where he was in the hospital and near the end of his life, when he rekindled his connected with the pretty girl etc. I thought the book was sad, but I think that it did exemplify how one’s life could feel unfulfilled by the things many people find value in like money and possession. It showed how a person can only feel fulfilled in the long run by strong personal connections with people that you love.

Lists: Final Project part 2

It is very difficult to judge a person and whether or not they are virtuous because while you know their story, you never completely know where they stand, their feelings and emotions, or their intentions. It is very difficult to determine whether a person wanted to do good for others, do good for others to benefit himself, or harm others to benefit himself- there are so many possible ways to go. Below is a list based on my initial interpretations of the individuals. The following are a list of people which I found to be virtuous:

  1. I believe the son was virtuous because he came to visit the father during a time in which he needed attention, stayed with the father, cared for him by cooking meals, etc. and left him money. While it can be pointed out that the son was not there for a great deal of time, it is necessary to recognize that the son also had his own needs to attend to and there were circumstances preventing him from leaving America because of immigration status etc. Also, virtue has a great deal to do with balance.
  2. I believe that the ex-wife was virtuous because she came to visit the main character in the hospital and advocated for him during his time of need b requesting he get other opinions and go to other facilities etc. She also paid for the Man’s medical bills while he was in the hospital- might this have been out of guilt of what her brother had done? Perhaps. But either way, she was not responsible nor expected to have paid those bills.
  3. The Man’s mother and father were virtuous people because while they may not have shown it in ways which we traditionally value, they did what was right for their family and advocated for them the whole time, wanting better for their family as a whole.

The following are people I did not think were virtuous:

  1. The pretty girl was not at all virtuous. She was selfish in meeting her own needs and seemed to have little regard for the Man’s feelings even though it was evident that they were involved and she was leading him on in thoughts of togetherness. He had very clear feelings for her and she often toyed with him by not calling him regularly and taking advantage of him when the timing was convenient for her, etc.
  2. The teacher was not a virtuous man because he took his anger and dissatisfaction of his position as a teacher out on his students and instead of challenging them to benefit their intelligence, punished them for forming their own opinions or learning.
  3. The guard was not a virtuous man because when the Man was being threatened, he killed the alleged attacker and I feel that that was unnecessary. He could have protected the man, the main character in a better way, without having to be so brutal. Even if he had to kill the attacker, he could have been more respectful towards human life.
  4. The brother in law was not at all a virtuous man because he saw the Man’s aging state as a weakness and found that he could perhaps utilize this to his benefit. When the Man was in the hospital is poor condition, he took the money that as allotted to be used to better the company and ran with it.

I do not know where to stand on my opinions of the man. I can not help but recognize that this fortune was built upon deceiving other people because of the water business and how that was a phony product. The water wasn’t natural or pure- it was water that had just been boiled. However, the man was virtuous in other things such as taking care of his parents, giving his sister and brother money when they needed it, tending to the pretty girl’s needs (although he was infatuated, so that wouldn’t have been granted as ethical, more just seeking praise). Towards the end, I decided that the man was indeed virtuous because it seemed as though he discovered what the important things in life are and never intentionally hurt anyone for his own benefit. It was more of a gamble or “this water may not be safe”. Either way, I finally decided, based on the integration of many of the theories of philosophy we have discussed thus far, that the man was virtuous, just perhaps a little lost and misguided.

 There were many situations in the book that were morally right and morally wrong. The following are the situations which stood out to me the most as wrong.

The conditions in which the family was living in during the time they were in the rural area and the urban area were wrong.

The fact that the brother and sister were denied schooling and the Man was able to go to school was wrong.

The fact that the Man was personally greeted by the Doctor because of the money he had, his status symbols, and the contribution he made to the hospital prior was not good- all of the patients should have been treated like that.

The fact that the mother had to die in such a way because the medical care was too much of a burden for the family to carry- that was wrong.

The way that the Man was humiliated by the teacher while he was in school for stating the correct answer to the multiplication table, while the teacher was the one who really made the mistake- that was wrong.

The fact that the boy stole the DVD for the girl was wrong.

The fact that the boy and the girl had sex on the roof at such a young age and then the girl told him that she was leaving the next day- that whole situation was wrong.

The way the pretty girl’s father acted towards both the pretty girl and the pretty girl’s mother was wrong.

The way the Man was held up at gunpoint and threatened was wrong.

The way the Man’s guard shot the individual that threatened the Man was wrong.

The fact that the Man build an empire of a business on selling water that was merely just boiled as opposed to natural, spring water- it may have had the ability to make many people sick, and that is considered causing harm.

The fact that the Man wasn’t appreciative of his wife was wrong. The fact that they were divorced after their child was grown- that was wrong.

The fact that businesses and companies had to form partnerships based on money and payments with the bureaucrats to gain easier access to certain things and establish protection from certain things- that was not good, or right, or just.

When the brother-in-law stole his money and ran while he was in the hospital in poor shape- that was wrong.

The fact that the father took the family to the city with him so that they could have a better life and education was good.

The fact that the boy was able to go to school was good.

The fact that the Man felt threatened and so was able to get protection (the fact that the guard killed someone was not moral) was good.

The cohabitation between the pretty girl and the Man in the latter years of their life was very good because they were able to fulfill each other’s fundamental needs of loving and caring and rekindle some past feelings which may have caused grief if not tended to.

There were many instances in the story, which increased either one’s pleasure or one’s suffering.

When the father decided to bring his children to the city, that was a situation presenting itself as ultimate pleasure- although some suffering to get to that point of success was inevitable.

The mother’s illness was obviously a situation in which suffering was imminent.

The sister being forced into an arranged marriage and back to the village was a form of suffering, and her quickened aging and early death presented as suffering for her obviously, and for her family, the Man included.

The brother’s employment by the painter caused suffering because he was often not protected properly and was coughing and got sick frequently.

The entire situation between the Man and the pretty girl caused much suffering on the Man’s part because he loved her and thought of her often, it just never worked out between them because of the pretty girl’s status and ambitions and the boy’s status at certain times throughout the novel.

The pretty girl’s status presented as pleasurable because of the fact that she had a lot of money and traveled often. However, towards the end of the novel, when she has been alone by herself in the townhouse, with tenants who did not pay much attention to her- that could have been interpreted as suffering.

Technology aiding the Man to communicate with his son over seas at an internet café- that was a situation that presented itself with much pleasure because the man was able to keep in touch regularly.

When the guard brutally killed the Man’s attacker, that caused much suffering.

The divorce between the Man and his wife caused suffering for all three parties- the Man, the Wife, and the son.

The Man’s business in bottling water and selling/distributing it presented itself as a form of pleasure for the man because of the money and status symbols it provided, while could have caused suffering to many because of the people that were harmed (the attacker) and those that could have potentially fallen ill due to the uncleanliness of the product.

The conditions of Asia were prime for suffering among the majority of the population as a whole, those in poverty, overcrowded cities, etc.

There were many characters and situations which could have been interpreted as either moral or immoral, ethical or unethical. It all depends on our own opinions and upbringings, and which theorist we identify most with. All in all, I think the Man was ethical and truly just tried to better himself and just got lost along the way, loosing his nuclear family by becoming all wrapped up with what society things the important things are- this happens often. When he died, he was alone. He had a delusion that the pretty girl, his son and his ex wife were with him. In reality- the pretty girl had died, his son was in America, and his wife was with her current husband. It was sad to learn that he was ultimately alone. However, it was comforting knowing that at the end, him and the pretty girl were able to spend their last memories together.