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I am not a monster

Popularity 16Viewed 6824 times 2016-2-25 13:43 |System category:Life| marriage, different, blind date


This is dedicated to the single, to those who dare to fight against the enormous pressure imposed on them by family and society. 

About two years ago, I came back from Australia to celebrate Chinese New Year. One day, one of my uncles decided to treat me to lunch. We were talking about my life abroad. Somehow the topic drifted to my classmates in Australia. I told my uncle that I had a very nice Japanese friend. He suddenly asked me how old she was and whether or not she was married. When I told him that she was around 37 and was still single. I could almost hear the surprise in his voice:" She is still not married? She must be a monster and for what purpose was she even born in this world?" I was shocked!

 I was shocked not only because this ludicrous comment but also because the fact that my uncle has as a matter of fact been considered well-educated. Of course, I didn't argue with him over this as I didn't think I would be able to talk some sense into him. For a long time, I was pondering over what he just said about my friend. It stirred a lot of feelings in my mind. I had always regarded my uncle as a far-sighted and open-minded person because he went to college when it was very rare for people from rural area to be offered that precious opportunity. He used to be an excellent salesperson for a state-owned enterprise before he finally started his own company. You'd wonder how can he make such ridiculous comment on a stranger after what he has experienced in life. At least, this was what I was wondering at that moment. 

 When I was in Australia, I would joke about love, marriage and whatnot with my Japanese friend-Yumiko. She confessed to me that she used to have a boyfriend who would abuse her verbally. Then and there, she told me that she only wanted to find somebody nice no matter how he looked and what background he came from. We agreed on that the longer we were single, the more difficult it was to maintain our friendship with friends who were married, of course meanwhile the more pressure we felt. Even though I didn't know her inside and out, I could tell she was a very polite and hospitable person after hanging out with her a few times. So she was indeed not a monster. Now, I've already passed the ideal age of marriage in many Chinese people's eyes. I wonder whether my uncle would call me monster in private. 

 Apparently, my uncle is not just an exception in Chinese society when it comes to female's proper age of marriage. After the last Spring Festival, I realized a lot of people in my hometown (a small village in the middle of nowhere) firmly believed that female's had better get married before 25. Otherwise, they would either need to keep lowering their standards on their future partners or be spinsters. I talked with a few old-fashioned people in that village, none of them didn't keep rushing me to find somebody to marry. Some of them were so "kind" that they would even go to start arranging blind date for me. 

 Honestly, I find it irrational or unfair to blame them for what they said or what they did as the reason why they believe what they believe is because they are raised up that way. They just think it's natural for other people to follow their footsteps. Most of them fail to keep abreast with this ever-changing world. But still, it's a bit surprising to know that my uncle has the similar conservative opinions. After all, he is different in many ways from those who spent most of their life in the village. I suppose it is the culture that he was raised up in decides his attitude. (He grew up in a very traditional family in the rural area.) Cultural legacy is not something that can be changed that easily. It's akin to a birthmark that always stays there unless you intentionally do something about it. Honestly, it doesn't matter whether or not people call me a monster. 

I choose to stay single because first of all this is my right. I mean this is my life. I can do whatever I want with it as I am the only person who is responsible for it. I can't make hasty or irrational decision simply because many people other people think I am a monster or because they believe I should have been married. There are already too many young people forced into marriage end up living a life based on no love or understanding. This is not what I want. And I think nowadays young people can not bear what their parents generation have borne to save marriage. 

Second of all, I am a very stubborn person. I can't force myself into anything. When I don't like it, I just don't like it. I can't imagine myself being with somebody I don't like. I think that is very irresponsible to my self and to this other person as well.

 Besides, being single isn't all that bad. At least, for now, I can fully concentrate on my job and do things I like. I can be simple and be happy. So why should people make it look like being single is a crime when you have reached a certain age?

 I'm not here to promote that being single is better than being in a relationship. I think they are just two different states in life. We have to learn to deal with both of these states. It's just that I believe I should be willing to change my state instead of being forced into a new state.

 Also, I am not here to judge those people who have made the decision of getting married because of the overwhelming pressure exerted on them. I think I am not in any position to judge them as they are living their own life and only they themselves know what their life is like.

 I hope people can stop poking their noses into my life and just let me be. Sometimes I wonder "Is it really so difficult to believe there is another way out of life?". Oftentimes, we should accept the fact that we can't simply expect others to take the path we once took and when they fail to do that, we instantly believe they are different creatures or even monsters. I suppose they are just different. There is nothing wrong about being different.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report 宁檬 2016-2-25 14:54
I think growing up means being tolerant and no long making a fuss out of nothing. It means accepting the differences among all people, instead of forcing them to be just like you. Everyone who believes in love will end up meeting love as long as you don't give up yourself.
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2016-2-25 15:18
i support your choice of reamaining single. relish your freedom of loving whomever you want.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-2-26 09:19
宁檬: I think growing up means being tolerant and no long making a fuss out of nothing. It means accepting the differences among all people, instead of forc ...
Thank you for your comment. Yes, I totally agree with you on this. Sometimes, it is jsut so difficult to stick to what you believe when people around you tend to follow the mainstream.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-2-26 09:19
Dr.Bill.Shen: i support your choice of reamaining single. relish your freedom of loving whomever you want.
Thank you for your support. Have a nice day.
Reply Report SEARU 2016-2-26 11:13
Being single needs more strength and bravery! --------I got married since I thought I was weak who should be helped with other‘s gentle hand. In fact history proved that this has been a self-cheating!
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2016-2-26 14:29
SEARU: Being single needs more strength and bravery! --------I got married since I thought I was weak who should be helped with other‘s gentle hand. In fact ...
are you using this form of self-deprecation to actually flaunt your endless happiness ?
Reply Report Min1989 2016-2-26 15:37
SEARU: Being single needs more strength and bravery! --------I got married since I thought I was weak who should be helped with other‘s gentle hand. In fact ...
You are being very modest. I mean it takes a lot of courage to decide to get married with someone and it requires a lot of patience and responsibility to maintain your marriage. So I don't really think it needs more bravery to be single. Quite on the contrary, I think I choose to stay single probably because I am not ready for the responsibility of marriage life.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-2-26 15:39
Dr.Bill.Shen: are you using this form of self-deprecation to actually flaunt your endless happiness ?
I think it seems that he has downplayed how hard it is to maintain a marriage.  
Reply Report SEARU 2016-2-26 16:06
Dr.Bill.Shen: are you using this form of self-deprecation to actually flaunt your endless happiness ?
It depends on how you understand it! I seldom feel sweetness in honey!
   
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2016-2-26 17:00
Min1989: I think it seems that he has downplayed how hard it is to maintain a marriage.   
right, most people have conveniently chosen to ignore the high maintenance cost coming with it.
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2016-2-26 17:08
SEARU: It depends on how you understand it! I seldom feel sweetness in honey!
     
cheer up, my friend ... we should pretend to be happy if necessary.
Reply Report SEARU 2016-2-26 17:15
Min1989: I think it seems that he has downplayed how hard it is to maintain a marriage.   
If I had kept brave till today, I would not have become other‘s slave!     
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-2-26 18:27
we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report SEARU 2016-2-26 20:20
Dr.Bill.Shen: cheer up, my friend ... we should pretend to be happy if necessary.
Students could read text, who can read my mind?     
Reply Report Min1989 2016-2-26 21:48
voice_cd: we have highlighted your blog.
Thank you for that!
Reply Report seneca 2016-2-27 10:24
The Chinese society is an arch-conservative society, so old-fashioned ideas of what is proper come naturally to Chinese people. We should not pass judgement on them just as we do not need to bow to their expectations. Why do singles have such a hard time in China? It is ecause this is the first time in China's history that people can make such momentous decisions as whether to marry or not, or whom to marry. Until not long ago, such matters rested with one's parents.
That said, singles may be scared to commit themselves as marriage means taking another person's vital interests into account. Who is capable of doing that? Not many young people just out of school. Newly-industrialised China has now the teething problems that Europe had a century ago. You have to match job profiles to be eligible, and once you are in that league you are one of several competitors. This raises the level of uncertainty enormously. You can also lose your job, and then what? Many young people are quickly disillusioned about their jobs and quit time and again. That is not a good habit. It certainly puts a brake on their progress towards a better and more stable position. How then can these people hitch up with a partner for life? It is a tremendous and daunting prospect.
Reply Report juzunme 2016-2-27 12:24
Being single is a choice. But for some they may not think that is a choice.

Being well educated allows you to choose to marry, have a career, a mixture of both, travel etc. Born in a culture where people think you should marry early, you may also think the same. Just as if you are born in rural Pakistan you may think it's ok for an old man to marry a 14 years old girl because most people don't oppose it. Just because it is normal 2000 years ago doesn't make it normal in today's age. In more developed country, a 14 years old girl is still in school and has a long road ahead of her.

For the traditional, there seems to be little choice for woman except marriage. That is why they have it in their head woman must marry by 25. But that was in the days when most people die by 50 and therefore 25 is half way through your life. Now that you get to live till 80 or 90, what is the ideal marriage age? Is marriage still the ideal. There is no one right answers in life.

It is your marriage, your religion, your career, your choice.
Reply Report HailChina! 2016-2-27 13:19
If you are not overwhelmed then maybe the pressure is not as overwhelming as you think. Less and less Chinese people are overwhelmed. China is like a generation or two behind places like Australia in a lot if ways. It is more unusual to be married at 25 than not in most advanced nations and I think that it will be the same in China before too long.

But yeah I do not think that overwhelming is a good word to use. You are not overwhelmed. China is changing.
Reply Report teamkrejados 2016-2-28 16:27
Bravo! Stick to your guns, my friend! I applaud you!
On a more personal note: I revealed to some very religious friends that, after 7 years of living together and one child, my son and his beloved will marry next year. Their response shocked me! "It's about time", they said. Not because my son has gone so long unmarried - those friends have a son who isn't married and in his 30s, but because my son and his girlfriend have been 'living in sin' for so long.
As you can see, it is not just tradition but religion that can warp a mind.
I'm wondering: does this uncle share in the traditional Chinese's passionate hatred for Japanese? Maybe he thinks this woman is not married/is a monster because she is Japanese.
Reply Report jaseminsibo 2016-2-29 06:33
I totally agree with you, i too was put under immense family and peer pressure to get married when i was 30....and now i am 38 alot of my elders even think i'm either a homosexual, spinster or monster. When I was younger their demands got to me and made me suffer from a nervous breakdown. Despite their good intentions, they do not know their unsolicited 'advice' can actually cause someone to run away or even end it all.

It is a case of extremism, when even parents and siblings coerce the single ones in their family to quickly find a 'good catch' while they are still 'marketable'. What kind of values are they imparting? That the only path to success and happiness is through marrying a rich bloke? What about love, compatibility and mutual respect?

I vehemently disagree, and agree with Min1989 that it is our lives and we have the final say.

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