In the past people said: “Every holiday season, think of your parents”.
Today’s fasionable men and women say: “Every holiday season, fear a blind date”.
For young business women from the big cities, not only are the folks back home not worth thinking about: they’re also to be feared. Their malevolence and forced blind dates are simply harder to deal with than breathing smog, more annoying than traffic jams, and are the source of more pressure than the bank’s calls to pay back your home loan.
The Lantern Festival marks the first full moon of Spring, a day of blessing, and the last day of the Chinese New Year. It’s a day where the whole family enjoys an outing, and where eating sticky-rice dumplings is a necessity. But this year the Lantern Festival collides with Valentine’s day, and the Lantern Festival loses out. Your WeChat circles aren’t talking about who’s just gotten married and who hasn’t; the buzz is all about what happened on Valentine’s Day.
“I saw a couple in a restauraunt, clearly cheating, because when they finished eating the man called his wife and said “Honey, don’t make dinner, I’ll bring you a doggy bag for you to eat” before putting the leftovers from the meal into a take-away container.
It’s as expected though; it’s a festival for lovers. Lovers in Europe are the by-product of monogamy, but even China is now experiencing a hint of ‘the sauce being better than the fish’.
Lovers aren’t subjected to the old and small problems or the inconveniences that plague a man and wife, there’s only romanticism and bliss.
Lovers come when they’re summoned, and scatter when they’re told to. Free social dating apps are growing in popularity.
Marriage is redundant, lovers can come and go as they please.
The glory of being unmarried doesn’t have the shame of lovers.
Friends all say that, and add the government slogan:
Family planning is good, the government will take care of your pension.
Families have no tax benefits, and couples buying apartments are punished. Each time the State tries price control, there’s a wave of divorce in response.
The newly blossomed, but fruitless, “Love Apartment” continues to attract a large following among TV viewers. The rare family-focused show “Where are you going Dad” is also continuing to entertain audiences with its depiction of a hopeless father making a fool of himself.
In mainstream media, marriage has not only become the tombstone of love, but a real black hole for life. I don’t know how many young people who originally had a boundless vision of marriage got scared out of it, or after they got married, at the first setback, retreated as quick as they could: I call them ‘unfit for marriage’.
Modern anthropologists have observed that in all human groups, from the most ancient to the most modern forms, the family is always present. Shame associated to promiscuity, incest avoidance, monogamy, all these are universals, not a product of civilisation. So called group-marriages and consanguinous marriages are rare exceptions, they correspond to a historical phase, or utopian speculations from scholars. Even apes have stable relationships with a partner. We can see that marriage is an instinct for humans, and the loss of that instinct, that is the illness.
Those people unfit for marriage provide abundant extra working time to businesses, and additional tax revenue to the State: outsiders don’t consider it a disease, and I’m not sure it’s a disease. The cause for fear of marriage or divorce is often attributed to others or to society, with little introspective reflection.
Married life requires both sides to make adjustments to their habits and psychology, and in particular, the woman needs to accept the man’s habits. Why do men like to marry young women? It’s not just a question of how they look, but their capacity to adapt is also important. Those who marry late are less able to adapt, and the result is many an unfortunate marriage. Although marriage is based on instinct, like languages, it still has to be learnt. And if you miss the opportunity to learn, then that ability will disappear.
In the 1980s, romantic stories with young people were still very secretive, but films like ‘Middle-aged love’ about late-in-life romance are very popular. This kind of propaganda to delay the age of marriage and having a child is based neither on science nor fact, but through the lack of specific criticism, adults and children are exposed to its pernicious influence.
In the modern education, anything relative to men and women living under one roof is unrelated to actual life, and exclusively concerned about work: marriage ability exclusively relies on family influence, and with increased numbers of couples where both parents are working, the opportunity for children to learn is rare. The wave of people ‘unfit for marriage’ is not an accident. Educators worry about ‘sexual education’ for the kids, but there is a general indifference towards the more needed ‘marriage education’.
Single or divorced people, when they complain, 尚有可能真是遇人不淑。Those who curse the institution of marriage are often just incompetent at marriage.
Freedom of speech only makes sense for those who can speak and write. And only those who are able to live a married life can speak of married freedom. As parents, if we do not want our children to become resentful about being forced to marry, then we must pay close attention to ‘pre-marriage’ education.
Last year, I went to Japan, and visited a kindergarten in Tokyo. The place integrated a cafe and a kindergarten for the community. Not only could the children play house, but they could observe the love of their aunties and uncles. At the time, it was just a passing impression, but thinking back on it, it proved how great Japanese people are!