In Chinese Culture, ‘Yi Qi’ is possibly the most respected quality about Friendship. My esteemed friends, Dr. Stephen Lee, Prof. An, and James Luce have articulated beautifully what “Yi” (義) and“Yi Qi” (義氣) mean in https://friendshipology.net. I try to understand it in my personal life. Who among my friends would I consider indeed to have“Yi Qi” (義氣) ? Three persons stood out immediately.
My FF Fraternity Brother, Allan Chou, wanted to promote“Yi Qi” (義氣) in our
FF Fraternity. When he heard that I needed to have a souvenir designed with
suggestions “10 Do’s” and “10 Don’t’s” on “How To Promote Friendship”, he immediately offered to have 500 fans designed and made in Shanghai, and he personally brought them to my Portola Valley home near Stanford University in three super-size suite cases. He did all that while busy managing his business in China, as well as teaching at Fu Dan University’s Graduate School of Business. His “Gung Ho” spirit “Qi” (氣) and our “Righteous Cause, “Yi” (義) made him one of my most trusted and respected friend, indeed.
My cousin, Ming Cho Lee, a highly respected Professor at Yale School of Drama, was surely not a socially “Gung Ho” type person. Yet at one critical time, he demonstrated unusual and unexpected “Yi” (義) and“Yi Qi” (義氣). His step-sister’s young son got into serious political trouble in a 1960s anti-establishment
student movement. The young fellow and friends in Los Angeles may have
overstepped the legal boundaries. As Ming Cho considered his stepsister a true friend, he set his immediate obligations aside and at once flew from N.Y.C. to L.A. to consult a famous defense lawyer friend to find ways to assist the young nephew. He felt that was the right thing to do, and he stepped up voluntarily as he knew his stepsister and nephew urgently needed the help.
My wife, Lucille, has my deepest respect and admiration even when I do not always understand her rationales. During college years, she met a slightly older friend who invited her to join a Chinese Women’s Sorority. This friend became
an “older sister” to Lucille – very kind and always helpful and caring. However,
their life philosophies became more widely different as time passed – Lucille
became more Liberal and this friend more Conservative. About ten years ago, with husband already gone, this friend was deeply in debt to the credit company as her daughter was on drugs and was charging everything on her credit account.
For two years I heard weekly telephone conversations between Lucille and her friend near our West Coast dinner time. This friend would call and vent her
frustrations – the same complains – for almost an hour or so each time. Lucille seemed to have been giving this friend the same advice which obviously was not followed. Lucille made a visit to N.Y. and voluntarily paid off her friend’s credit card debt, but the friend still allowed her daughter to use the card as usual. This friend got very ill and had to have her leg amputated. Lucille took a week off to N.Y. again This time to clean their house for possible sales. This friend finally died, and Lucille went to help manage her memorial service. This is what I consider to be “YiQi” (義氣) – doing more for a Friend – most loyally, most unselfishly, and more than expected normally.