Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lost in Love

Tonight I went to a friend's birthday party he held in his apartment. He's Korean-Canadian, but has adapted so well here, speaking pretty good Chinese in less than a year, learning from his colleagues and private lessons.

He invited several of his coworkers to come to his house party, along with his Chinese and Japanese teachers and other friends, all 20-somethings to have a buffet of fried chicken, kim chi, noodles, pizza, pop and beer.

Most of the colleagues kept to themselves, joking with each other, the girls constantly posing for the camera.

But one of them, about their age seemed more mature and wore a nice black dress with a ring on her manicured finger. She told me she was married, but despite saying it was love at first sight for her and her husband, she wished she didn't get married so early.

"Our parents put so much pressure on us to get married," she says now in hindsight. "I wish I had more time to go travel and do things on my own before getting married. But now there are so many things to think about."

I sympathized, saying that now they had to think of the two of them.

She corrected me. "No, now we have to think about two families," she explained. "When we make decisions we have to think about everyone. And things are changing all the time that we haven't had to time to plan our lives. It's so difficult."

The one-child policy on the one hand has created little emperors and empresses, but at the same time resulted in them shouldering more responsibilities and expectations one child can't handle on his or her own.

She then went on to say that many of her friends got married too, but after one, two, or six months, they divorced.

"It's not that they can't live together," she said. "They think once they get married, life will get easier, but it's not. And they can't deal with it."

Unfortunately her cell phone rang and she took the call. Afterwards we didn't continue the conversation anymore.

But what she told me was what I had read in the paper and confirmed first hand.

It's too bad these young people, who should have bright futures ahead of them, are burdened with expectations of getting married, buying a home, having a child -- all before they're 30.

No wonder many choose to suspend themselves with their sometimes childish behaviour, or perhaps are too naive to realize the fate that awaits them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The concept of family unit has been eroded during the last few decades. Young people only think of themselves and enjoy life while they can. The cultural revolution has contributed to this also. The total upset of the traditional confucian social order has done an irreparable harm. It will take a few generations to undo the damage.