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She represents a new world of family life for Asians.
Conservatives in the West are fond of saying that the traditional family is the bedrock of society. The family is the focus of Confucian ethics, which holds that a basic moral principle, (self-improvement), can be pursued only within the confines of the family.
In South-East Asia, women have somewhat more autonomy.
WITH her filmy polka-dot dress, huge sunglasses and career as a psychologist, Yi Zoe Hou of Taiwan might seem likely to be besieged by suitors.
In a book written in 1995 with a Japanese politician, Shintaro Ishihara, Dr Mahathir contrasted Asians' respect for marriage with “the breakdown of established institutions and diminished respect for marriage, family values, elders, and important customs” in the West.
“Western societies”, Dr Mahathir claimed, “are riddled with single-parent families…
In an interview in 1994 Lee Kuan Yew, a former prime minister of Singapore, argued that after thousands of years of dynastic upheaval, the family is the only institution left to sustain Chinese culture.
It embodies a set of virtues—“learning and scholarship and hard work and thrift and deferment of present enjoyment for future gain”—which, he said, underpins Asia's economic success.
He feared that the collapse of the family, if it ever happened, would be the main threat to Singapore's success.His Malaysian contemporary, Mahathir Mohamad, went further.