From the Readers

What's the Chinese traditional marriage like

Updated: 2010-10-21 17:47
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Comment on "China sees rising divorce rate among young people" (China Daily, Oct 21)

In the old days it was taboo to think of divorce. As per our custom, the girl marries into the groom's family. If the mother-in-law was the dictating type, then the poor girl would have to learn to bear it. With tolerance, patience and subservience, overall relations might improve and real harmony could be accomplished. However, not every case had a happy ending. When things became unbearable for the young bride, she might pack her bags and leave, back to her own parents. Often the groom would come a begging for the bride to return. The ding dong could go on until things get amicably negotiated and settled. Yes, these were some of the things of the past. Maybe even now.

Sadly or happily, what is happening nowadays is a copy of the West. As China opens up, Chinese people have picked up many Western influences, often blindly. Some tended to forget the good virtues and values of Chinese customs and traditions. While matchmaking was the norm in the past, couples now readily jump into bed without really knowing their partners. We readily believe that love is blind, or love at first sight or even love when one party has a movie star look. And the story goes on.

Many young people are corrupted when they intrude into forbidden territory like visiting porn sites. They too want to try out what they see without even thinking of the consequences. Do we see childbirth out of wedlock? Do we see abandoned babies? Do we see cases of suicides because of shame? Yes, so the story goes on.

Sometimes a couple rushed into marriage because the girl was pregnant. They had hardly known each other, but lust or innocence got the better of one or both. After marriage they found out that they were not well-suited and hence the hasty marriage often ended on the rocks. Sad as it may be, such stories go on. People still did not learn, and today young people tend to take things easy and more marriages on the rock are likely to happen over and over again.

It is not that everything Western is not good. It is only because the Chinese have not been selective and mindful that bad things are adopted, which more or less ruin our lives. Like a cancer growth, these bad influences grew and seemed unstoppable. Unlike when we are careful and take steps to nip it in the bud, we have no one else to blame but ourselves.

We can learn from the West the good and useful things. Never ape them fully. Why dye our hair blonde when our dark and black color looks glamorous on us? Why wear low cuts when we do not have the kind of assets the Western women have? Why adopt English names when we should treasure what our parents gave us? There are so many things that we should not adopt, but the list is too long to put down here. Hopefully people know the message I am trying to put up.

My wish for the Chinese young is be proud of our Chinese culture, customs and traditions. You can dye your hair to temporarily look Western, but you cannot change your genes, your real physical outlook and others. By the way, is it because you feel inferior being Chinese?

I am proud of being Chinese. I maintain and insist on my name and how it should be called. I look at Westerners equally, on the same level. I neither look up at them nor look down on them. I am standing up and so must my Chinese compatriots. I urge them to be Chinese with a modern outlook, not a Western one.


HsunTze, on China Daily Website

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