Imagining a good life in Malaysia and China: Cultural beliefs among Mainland Chinese, Malaysian Chinese, and Malay University students

Gregory Bonn, Cai Lian Tam

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates beliefs about a good life among Malays, Malaysian Chinese and Mainland Chinese university students as a follow up to earlier findings. Three hundred and sixteen participants - 95 Mainland Chinese, 123 Malaysian Chinese and 98 Malay were asked to evaluate 30 descriptors of a good or worthwhile life that are commonly cited across cultural groups. Results show significant between-group differences for seven of the 30 criteria. Consistent with earlier findings, differences among Asian groups emerged along a theoretical dimension related to practical concerns on one side as compared to moral and spiritual concerns on the other. In this study, consistent with previous findings, Mainland Chinese tended to prefer more practical criteria, while Malays were similar to South Asian groups in their preference for more spiritual criteria. Malaysian Chinese participants' preferences, in general, fell between those of Mainland Chinese and Malays. Also consistent with previous findings, all three groups in this study rated close interpersonal relationships as central to determining whether life is worthwhile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • China
  • Cultural beliefs
  • Cultural differences
  • Cultural mixing
  • Good life
  • Malaysia
  • Values

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