Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Attitude to Parents - part 1

Although this next post may not necessarily be culturally based, it does highlight a major difference between the way Ms B and I view our parents.

Ms B's mother is in great health and is a very intergral and active part of Ms B's life, and as a result mine and our son's. She is also quite elderly.

Although Ms B and her mother have on the surface a close relationship, Ms B has made it clear that as soon as her mother becomes a burden, through illness or age, she will send her back to China, either to her sister or to a nursing home.

This is a very pragmatic approach, and oddly, her mother is in complete agreement with this.

Now Ms B claims to have been raised in a very close family, and this is borne out of the ongoing contact she maintains with the rest of her family, but something about the pragmatism of these relationships doesn't sit well with me.

They tend to represent relationships of convenience, which in my world is the anti-thesis of the foundation for family. In any case, it has worked well for their whole family so far, and given that there has never been any family inheritence to fight over, the relationships have remained symbiotic and mutually beneficial.

Of course, this is the easy part. If or when her mother ages to a point where she herself needs ongoing help, the pressures on the whole famly will be compounded. Although I have some work colleagues who have easily transitioned their parent's into a nursing home facility, the emphasis on family within the Chinese culture, I expect, would make this a more difficult proposition.

Only time will tell, and although my mother-in-law is in great shape for her age, both mentaly and physically, she does have a worriesome tremor and increasing rigidity in her body, which is looking more and more like Parkinson's disease.

For those who know about this disease, it is progressive and insidious, and takes a terrible toll on the whole family in terms of the level of care that is required. For my mother-in-law's sake, I hope that this care, no matter how difficult, is provided by us, and not a nursing home. It just wouldn't be right.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

History of Interracial China

I found this reference the other day about the history of interracial relationships in China, and found it quite interesting and insightful, and worthy of posting here.

There have been various periods in the history of China where large numbers of Arabs, Persians and Turks from the Western Regions (Central Asia and West Asia) migrated to China, beginning with the arrival of Islam during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century.

Due to the majority of these immigrants being male, they often intermarried with local Chinese females. While intermarriage was initially discouraged by the Tang Dynasty, it was later encouraged during the Song Dynasty, which allowed third-generation immigrants with official titles to intermarry with Chinese imperial princesses. Immigration to China increased under the Mongol Empire, when large numbers of West and Central Asians were brought over to help govern Yuan China in the 13th century.

By the 14th century, the total population of Muslims in China had grown to 4 million. [18] After Mongol rule had been overthrown by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, this led to a violent Chinese backlash against West and Central Asians. In order to contain the violence, the Ming administration instituted a policy where all West and Central Asian males were required to intermarry with native Chinese females, hence assimilating them into the local population. Their descendants are today known as the Hui people. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The new car

We have been looking to purchase a new car recently.

The car is for Ms B, who currently drives a car that has given us many problems.

My focus has been to find a model of car which is both stylish and safe. We have a 7 year old child after all so safety is a priority.

Ms B however is more interested in a status symbol. She has argued that many of her friends drive a Benz, so why shouldn't she.

We visited a dealership that had one car that I was ineterested in, and one that Ms B was interested in.

My choice was a modestly priced but stylish looking car with ample safety features, including full curtain air-bags.

Ms B however insisted on a very expensive and luxurious sports car, which I believe was not appropriate for a family of four.

The salesperson was of Chinese heritage, and he would obviously have made more commission if he sold us the sportscar.

Well, sensing the tension between Ms B and myself over what style of car we should purchase, he began addressing my concerns over safety.

He said the following to me:

"We Chinese believe in fate. If you are destined to get hurt or killed in a car accident, then you cannot avoid this. This is your fate. Whatever car you choose will not change your fate, so why not choose the luxurious car and enjoy life."

Ms B immediately latched on to this comment and pushed for us to purchase the luxurious car there and then.

I told them both that I did not accept that line of thinking, and would not put my family in a car that was designed for speed. In particular I would not agree to placing our son in a car that was designed primarily for two people, with compromised back seating.

Ms B was very upset with me.

This belief in fate, which I am sure provides some form of relief for people who have experienced tragedy in their lives, was really not an appropriate way to view the purchase of an sportscar. In my way of thinking it was merely an excuse to be reckless in one's decision making.

Anyway, we ended up buying the modest model car, despite fierce resistance from Ms B and her mother. They even co-opted my son to argue for the sportscar.

However I felt it was sensible under the circumstances to purchase a family car, not a sports car, and I purchased a few extra safety features to boot.

To appease Ms B I also purchased some luxury additions for the car, including in-built GPS, in-built phone, window tinting, better stereo system, nicer wheels and a special paint job. In fact I was happy to purchase whatever luxurious features Ms B wanted, as long as the safety of the vehicle was not compromised.

Now to be fair, the car actually looks great, and could even pass for a very expensive label car.

But Ms B is still upset with me. You see she wanted to tell people that she owns a Mercedes Benz. It was not the car so much that she wanted but what it represented.

This emphasis on "labels" dogs us time and again. Both Ms B and her mother have an unrelenting desire to telegraph their status to the world by purchasing products that are for the most part no different than cheaper versions, but for their label.

It seems that even a pair of shoes cannot escape this kind of scrutiny.

Anyway after about a week of getting the silent treatment from Ms B, I sat her down last night and told her that it was her destiny to get a smart looking, stylish family car, and no amount of sulking will change this.

Hopefully we can leave this chapter behind now and move on with more important things in life.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Inter Racial Divorce

My wife and I have known an inter racial couple for many years.

Lets call them Don and Leung.

Don, the husband is of anglo heritage, is a professional and a high income earner. This was his second marriage.

He married Leung, a Chinese woman who was close to 20 years his junior. She did not work and apparently attended some college course.

Leung is attractive and very stylish, but I have always felt uncomfortable around her.

They met through some dating service that arranged get togethers between anglo men and chinese women.

When they decided to get married, they flew to China to get approval from Leung's father. Her father asked to see proof of Don's high salary, and only then gave his approval for the marriage to proceed. This emphasis on money was also very much a part of Leung's views on life. Everything revolved around money, and she made it clear that she would not have married Don if he did not make such a high salary.

After the honeymoon period, serious cracks started to appear in this marriage.

Firstly, Leung objected to Don financially supporting his two daughters from his previous marriage. She complained about this bitterly.

Secondly, she refused to allow Don to even see his daughters. Don eventually resorted to secret meetings with his daughters.

Not really what marriage is supposed to be like, is it?

Well, tensions grew in the household, and one day when Leung realised that Don had seen his daughters the previous day, she took a knife from the kitchen and lunged at him.

He had a large cut on his torso.

To top it off, she immediately called the police and alleged that he attempted to hit her.

The end result was that Don was evicted from his house. This was the house that he paid for exclusively, including all the household furniture, give that Leung only owned a car at the time.

This couple has now divorced.

As events unfolded, Leung claimed the bank account of the couple (circa $80,000), and fought bitterly over the house.

She eventually agreed to a 50% spilt on the value of the house, but kept all the furniture and the bank account. Don simply couldn't fight this any longer, and so agreed.

Interestingly, one week after separation, a new man moved in with Leung. He too was an older anglo male. They too are now separated and in legal conflict as well.

When I first met Leung, both Ms B and I agreed that she was a leech, a gold digger. We both approached Don separately and asked him to think through his marriage plans carefully, because leung was making some comments not in keeping with someone who was genuinely in love.

Don listened to know one, but simply wanted to tell us how he could't stop thinking about his lovely Leung.

I mention this because there seems to be a high divorce rate amongst inter racial couples in Australia, especially amongst the Anglo-Chinese variety.

And Don and Leung's situation is mild given what I have recently heard about another couple.

...more on that next.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jealousy & blondes

I recently got a new receptionist in my practice.

She is by all accounts a very attactive woman. She has long blonde hair, large baby blue eyes and very long legs.

Now this is not out of the ordinary in and of itself, but for the fact that this receptionist has been paying....well how can I put it...."special" attention to me. In fact, you could say that she has been overtly flirting.

I typically ignore this as when I am in the clinic, as my focus is purely on my patients. But clearly the other girls in the clinic have not.

It is obvious as a result that someone has called my wife, Ms B, and alerted her to the new receptionist's behaviour.

During our night out for our anniversary recently, Ms B asked me during dinner:

"Do you like blondes more and Asian women?"

I had yet to catch on to her concern, and so simply made a joke that blondes are more beautiful. Well, wasn't this a mistake!

Ms B then started giving me the third degree.

"Are you sleeping with the new receptionist, Sonja?"

"Are you bored of Chinese women?"

"Are you bored of me?"

"I always catch you looking at blonde women. Why?"

The irony is that I do not particularly like blonde women. Dark hair is my thing. In any case, all her concerns were baseless, but how do you comfort a jealous women?

Anyway, I tried my best, and after I made it clear that this was all in her mind, she started to calm down, but then she began insiting that I sack the receptionist.

I said "No", not unless she performs poorly in her work.

That night when we got home, Ms B went out of her way to make herself available to me. She even modelled the sexy lingerie I bought her, and she let me take pictures of her in lingerie.

It ended up being a nice evening, but I have no doubt that we will revisit the issue of the receptionist again soon.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bedtime Clothing

Its our anniversary tonight.

I bought my wife a pair of sexy knickers, amongst the important practical things she always appreciates.

I used to always buy her sexy underwear before she got pregnant, and she would them on special ocassions, although at my insistence.

These ocassions occured mostly when my mother-in-law was out of town, visiting her other children, but she hasn't done this for a while.

I have to say, there is no more beautiful site than my wife wearing her sexy knickers at night.

What I would't give to see her just casually walking around the house, wearing nothing but a t-shirt and slim, silk black underwear.

Not really possible anymore given that we have a child, but hey, one can still dream can't they?

A few years ago Ms B let me take photos of her in her knickers. I will see if she is up to it again tonight.

I just bought her a new laptop and iphone as a gift, so maybe she will be in a grateful mood.

If so, well lucky me tonight.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Its a Sport thing

I realised early on in my relationship that Ms B had absolutely no interest in Sport.

She does not follow it, she does not play it, she simply has no interest in it.

I remember asking her to attend a Rugby league State of Origin game many years ago, and after reluctantly agreeing, she wanted to leave at half time, because it was "too loud." The fact that it was a remarkably exciting game escaped her. We did stay however and witnessed an amazing last minute victory by Queensland.

This evening I was looking forward to attending a boxing match between Australia's very own Danny Green, a great boxer who was the underdog, against a man who is widely regarded as the best boxer, pound for pound ever, Roy Jones Jr.

Well, try as I may to get some of Ms B's male Chinese acquaintances to tag along, it was a no go. I simply went with my mates and although it was a very short match, it was well worth it.

Danny Green beat Roy Jones Jnr inside the first round. Spectacular stuff!

While driving back home I called Ms B to let her know that I was on my way, and I just happened to mention that the Australian boxer, Danny Green, the man I (and most of Australia) was supporting, had won in spectacular style.

Ms B's response to me was: "Did you win any money?"

I said "No."

Then Ms B said, "So why do you care who won?"

Well, its just sport, and sometimes its just about enjoying the competition, but I guess this is a male thing, so I just told her that I should be home soon.

What do you like/dislike most about Chinese women?