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Neil Yaun prides himself on knowing a little about everything, despite no formal college education. He is self-educated, with a love of Chinese culture focused on their history and traditions. Growing disillusioned with the direction America is taking and his negative experiences with American women he is seeking a new path in China. He plans to teach English in China. This blog is about the journey to China and all the pitfalls along the way.
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What's wrong with Filial piety?    

By Neil Yaun
4623 Views | 2 Comments | 5/15/2010 12:08:42 PM
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The Paralytic and his family by Jean-Babtiste Greuze. Hmmm, seems we took care of a parents once upon a time. Painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 to 1805)

Lately, as I perused the forum and blogs, I noticed that there are quite a few guys on the website who have some harsh words for the ideal of filial duty. They warn others to be careful of the trap that a Chinese woman’s family entails. Though I think many have forgotten that at one point in our own western history that taking care of and respecting our elders was once a high virtue and not scoffed at the way it is today. The thing I have read the most is how her family will try to control all aspects of your life. There is no consideration that perhaps they do have the best interest of their family in mind, and that includes you if you have married her. We seemed too distracted with our own independence to think of what the true union of a man and a woman really stands for.

From my research into the concept of marriage in Chinese culture, when a couple is married their families are joined. They are no longer a separate entity but are two halves of a whole. It seemed to me that this was what marriage was about to begin with, and not just a silly romance novel. I thought about this long and hard. The ideals that Chinese culture hold so dear began to sound familiar to me; it started to resonate deep inside my core. I suddenly realized that I was raised that way as a child. I had been raised that it is the cycle of life that your parents raised, loved, and cared for you. Then when they were too old to care for themselves, you returned the favor and took care of them until they passed on. Somewhere that circle was broken in western culture.

I grew up without a mother; she abandoned my family when I was only 5 years old. So I feel I have a little insight into the reason western society has degraded the status of the family unit, considering I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand why she left her family. People will argue that economics plays a part in it, because both parents usually work and don’t have time for their children, so there isn’t the natural bond between child and parent. I personally think this is a way to rationalize something we know is wrong, but don’t want to change. I grew up in the age of the latch key children. These children were given a key to the house and came from school to an empty home with notes telling them that food was in the fridge. The media raised my generation giving us our ideas of what was right and wrong on our t.v. screens.

Sadly there were no parents to help us interpret this sensory overload we were subjected to by our mentor, the television. Our drive to achieve better social status and wealth is costing us our children’s love. Now common sense says that if you break one cycle, you start another. This cycle however, is one that only breed’s self-destruction and sows the seeds of resentment because now we are not raised by our parents. We have started a cycle where we abandon our children and in turn our children abandon us.

At the same time though I do not condone the abandonment of our parents to a horrible fate like the nursing homes either. It is terrible to hear about the parents that grow old and die alone in those places. Instead I am hoping that someday our society will come to it collective senses and remember filial piety again.

As for myself, I crave the family aspect of marriage and personally hope that I am lucky enough to be accepted by my Chinese bride’s family, but maybe I’m an exception and not the rule. It could be this reason that I have such a hard time feeling like I belong here in America anymore, because I remember when family was the foundation of our lives and I miss that time greatly. Unfortunately, I fear that here in the U.S. those times are fading memories.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2010-05-17 12:55:28 by aussieghump @aussieghump

The filial piety aspect is a very important part of Chinese culture - there is nothing wrong with it, but it does play a large and important influence on most decisions made by women in China, and as such, it is important to understand the ramifications of this.

As a westerner, we tend to 'downplay' the family aspect of our relationships and can often 'break-away' from what the family expects of us without too many ramifications. But in China, the opposite is the case - 'family bonds' are incredibly strong and can cause immense friction in relationships.
The key is understanding how they exist, and how this affects you and your partner.

We all wish you luck in your search for your ideal family. Personally, I hope you find the aspects you crave. Best be wary and understand.

#2010-05-22 02:29:36 by abi513 @abi513

I submit there is nothing wrong with Filial Piety…until it hits you square between the eyes like a sledgehammer. By no means do I want to “Rain on your parade” but, you’re missing the “Face” part of the relationship equation that Garreth Humphris discusses in his blog posting Anthropology Part II. Most of these warnings you mention by foreigners of FP is probably well founded I can also attest to through personal experiences to be discussed in my future blogs. Hoping for acceptance by a Chinese girl’s family is a nice dream; however it will probably be more in the form of their tolerance of you than acceptance if you can even get to marriage. More often than not FP will beat the Chinese woman down into submission when her family rejects you and her personal wishes. Forewarned is forearmed.

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