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longer content to burn bean oil; he wants kerosene. In scores of humble Loas homes and markets I saw American lamps costing twenty rupees apiece, and a magistrate proudly showed me a collection of nineteen of these shining articles. Forty thousand dollars worth of these lamps were sold in Siam last year. The narrow streets of Canton are brilliant with Ger'man chandeliers and myriads of private houses throughout the Empire are lighted by foreign lamps. The desire of the Asiatic to possess foreign lamps is only equalled by his passion for foreign clocks. I counted twenty-seven in the private apartments of the Emperor of China and my wife counted nineteen in a single room of the Empress Dowager's palace, while cheaper ones tick to the delighted wonder of myriads of humbler people. The ambitious Syrian scorns the mud roof of his ancestors and will only be satisfied with bright red tiles imported from France. In almost every Asiatic city I visited, I found shops crowded with articles of foreign manufacture. “Made in Germany" is as familiar a phrase in Siam as in America. Many children in China are arrayed only in the atmosphere, but when I was in Taian-fu, in the far interior of Shantung, hundreds of parents were in consternation because the magistrate had just placarded the walls with an edict announcing that hereafter boys and girls must wear clothes and that they would be arrested if found on the streets naked. At a banquet given to the foreign ministers by the Emperor and the Empress Dowager in the famous Summer Palace twelve miles from Peking, the distinguished guests cut York bam with Sheffield knives and drank French wines out of German glasses. Everywhere articles of foreign manufacture are in demand, and shrewd Chinese merchants are stocking their shops with increasing quantities of European and American goods. The new Chinese Presbyterian Church at Wei-hsien typifies the elements that are entering Asia for it contains Chinese brick, Oregon fir beams, German steel binding-plates and rods, Belgian glass, Manchurian pine pews, and British cement.
India is eagerly buying American rifles, tools, boots and shoes, while vast regions which depend upon irrigation are becoming interested in American well-boring outfits. Persia is demanding increasing quantities of American padlocks, sewingmachines and agricultural implements. German, English and American machinery is equipping great cotton factories in Japan. I saw Russian and American oil tins in the remotest villages of Korea. Strolling along the river bank one evening in Paknampo, Siam, I heard a familiar whirring sound and entering found a bare-legged Siamese busily at work on a sewing-machine of American make. Nearly five hundred of them are sold in Siam every year, and I found them in most of the cities that I visited in other Asiatic countries. When I left Lampoon on an elephant, six hundred miles north of Bangkok, a Laos gentleman rode beside me for several miles on an American bicycle. There are thousands of them in Siam. His Majesty himself frequently rides one and His Royal Highness, Prince Damrong, is president of a bicycle club of four hundred members. The king's palace is lighted by electricity and the Government buildings are equipped with telephones, and as the nobles and merchants see the brilliancy of the former and the convenience of the latter, they want them, too. In many parts of Asia people, who but a decade or two ago were satisfied with the crudest appliances of primitive life, are now learning to use steam and electrical machinery, to like Oregon four, Chicago beef, Pittsburg pickles and London jam, and to see the utility of foreign wire, nails, cutlery, drugs, paints and chemicals.
Many other illustrations of a changed condition might be cited. Knowledge increases wants and the Oriental is acquiring knowledge. He demands a hundred things to-day that his grandfather never heard of, and when he goes to the shops to buy his daily food, he finds that the new market for it which the foreigner has opened has increased the price.
Americans are the very last people who can consistently criticise this tendency in Asia. It is the foreigner who has created it, and the American is the most prodigal of all foreigners. I never realized until I visited other lands how extravagant is the scale of American life, not only among the rich, but the so-called poor. My morning walk to my New York office takes me along Christopher Street, and I have often seen in the garbage cans of tenement houses pieces of bread and meat and half-eaten vegetables and fruit that would give the average Asiatic the feast of a lifetime. In Europe, Americans are notorious as spendthrifts. In the Philippine Islands, they have thrown about their money in a way which has inaugurated an era of reckless lavishness comparable only to the California days of “forty-nine.” In the port cities of China, the porters asked me extortionate prices because I was an American. Two or three coolies would seize a suit case or change it from man to man every few minutes, on the pretense that it was heavy. In Tient-tsin, you hire a jinrikisha and presently you find a second man pushing behind, though the road is smooth as a floor. In a few minutes a third appears to push on the other side, and once a fourth took hold between the second and third. All of course demand pay, and it is difficult to shake them off. They do not understand your protests, or they pretend not to, and you have to be emphatic to get rid of them. At Tong-ku, my sampan men calmly insisted on two dollars for a service that was worth but forty cents. Everywhere, I found that it was wiser to make all purchases and bargains through trusty native Christians, or to ascertain in advance what a given service was really worth, pay it and walk off, deaf to all protestations and complaints, even though as in Seoul, Korea, the men plaintively sat around for hours. In Cairo, a certain hotel charged me on the supposition that because I was an American, I was a millionaire or a fool-perhaps both. True, we have hack-drivers and hotel-keepers in America who are equally rapacious, and a New Yorker in particular need not go away from home to be overcharged. But it is just because we have become so accustomed to this careless profusion at home that we exhibit it abroad.
But it is useless to protest against the increased cost of living in Asia. It is as much beyond individual control as the tides. The causes which are producing it are not even national but cosmopolitan.
Nor should we ignore the fact that this movement is, in some respects at least, beneficial. It means a higher and broader scale of life and such a life always costs more than a low and narrow one. This economic revolution in Asia is a concomitant of a Christian civilization which brings not only higher prices but wider intellectual and spiritual horizons, a general enlarging and uplifting of the whole range of life. There are indeed some vicious influences accompanying this movement, as brighter lights usually have deeper shadows.
But surely it is for good and not for evil that the farmers of Hunan can now ship their peanuts to England and with the proceeds vary the eternal monotony of a rice-diet; that the girls of Siam are being taught by missionary example that modesty requires the purchase of a garment for street wear which will cover at least the breasts; that the Korean should learn that it is better to have a larger house so that the girls of the family need not sleep in the same room as the boys; and that all China should discover the advantages of roads over rutty, corkscrew paths, of sanitation over heaps of putrid garbage and of wooden floors over filth-encrusted ground. Christianity inevitably involves some of these things, and to some extent the awakening of Asia to the need of them is a part of the beneficent influence of a gospel which always and everywhere renders men dissatisfied with a narrow, squalid existence. To make a man decent morally is to beget in him a desire to be decent physically.
The native Christians, especially the pastors and teachers, are the very ones who first feel this movement towards a higher physical life. Nor should we repress it in them, for it means an environment more favourable to morals and to the stability of Christian character as well as a healthful example to the community in which they live. To say, therefore, that the average annual income of a Hindu is rupees twenty-seven (nine dollars) is not to adduce a reason for holding the pastors and evangelists of India down to that scale. They should, indeed, live near enough to the plane of their countrymen to keep in sympathetic touch with them. But they should not be expected or allowed to huddle in the dark, unventilated hovels of the masses of the people, or, by confining themselves to one scanty meal a day, have that gaunt, half-famished look which makes my heart ache every time I think of the walking skeletons I saw in India. I am not ashamed but proud of the fact that it costs the average Christian more to live in Asia than it costs the average heathen, that the houses of the Laos Christians are better than the single-roomed sheds about them, that the graduates of our Siam mission schools for girls wear shirt waists instead of sunshine, that the members of any one of our Korean churches spend more money on soap than a whole village of their heathen neighbours whose bodies are caked with the accumulations of years of neglect, that the sessions of our Syrian churches are Christian gentlemen in appearance as well as in fact, and that the houses of our Chinese Christians do not mix pigs, chickens and babies in one lousy, malodorous company.
But these altered conditions have not yet brought the ability to meet them. The cost of living has increased faster than the resources of the people. Only France and Russia are primarily political in their foreign policy. England, Germany and the United States are avowedly commercial. They talk incessantly about “the open door." Their supreme object in Asia is to "extend their markets." They are producing more than they can use themselves, and they seek an opportunity to dispose of their surplus products. They are less concerned to bring the products of Asia into their own territories.