From The Importance of Loafing by Lin Yutang, 1938
If men fail to enjoy this earthly existence we have, it is because they do not love life sufficiently and allow it to be turned into a humdrum routine existence.... Our quarrel with efficiency is not that it gets things done, but that it is a thief of time when it leaves us no leisure sure to enjoy ourselves and that it frays our nerves in trying to get things done perfectly.
An American editor worries his hair gray to see that no typographical mistakes appear on the pages of his magazine.
The Chinese editor is wiser than that. He wants to leave his readers the supreme satisfaction of discovering a few typographical mistakes for themselves.
More than that, a Chinese magazine can begin printing serial fiction and forget about it half-way.
In America it might bring the roof down on the editors, but in China it doesn’t matter, simply because it doesn’t matter.
American engineers in building bridges calculate so finely and exactly as to make the two ends come together within one-tenth of an inch.
But when two Chinese begin to dig a tunnel from both sides of a mountain, both come out on the other side.
The Chinese’s firm conviction is that it doesn’t matter so long as a tunnel is dug through, and if we have two instead of one, why, we have a double track to boot.
Provided you are not in a hurry, two tunnels are as good as one, dug somehow, finished somehow and if the train can get through somehow. And the Chinese are extremely punctual, provided you give them plenty of time to do a thing.
They always finish a thing on schedule, provided the schedule is long enough.