From this interview with Barbara Crossette:
“… but what is Americanization? You know, I'd say to people--they'd say, `Well, you know, Coca-Cola, you know, rock,' whatever. It--you know, it's not. It's--it is, but it isn't. And some of these things are--come from--it's human rights, it's the rule of law, it's the fact that the education system--we run it down all the time, but basically it works. Why do so many people want to come here? Because they know that when they come--if September comes around, the school's open and the children go to school, you turn the tap and the water comes out, electricity works, that the police have problems, but that there is a police force that, if your house is burglarized, you don't have to go down to the police station and bargain for how much money you have to pay for them even to register the case, people don't steal the stamps off your envelopes--I mean, the sense of civil society that works.”
I spent ten straight years in China, which made my love for America, and everything it stands for, that much stronger.
I also liked this line from her Singaporean friend, which is a folky version of 仓廪实而知礼节:
“When the tummy gets full, the mind gets hungry.”