My Perfect Life (According to a Chinese Woman)

3 thoughts on “My Perfect Life (According to a Chinese Woman)”

  1. Hey, wow. I’m amazed to have discovered your blog (off a link from a comment in Jocelyn’s site). Who knew there was a site so thoughtful, witty, and cutting in its insightfulness on this neglected corner of the interwebs.

    You’re right that China has become amazingly materialistic. When my parents were growing up (in Sichuan of all place!), the country was a lot poorer but people more down to earth and there was a genuine sense of camaraderie. One could travel cross country and stay in people’s houses along the way. I always tell people that the country became too wealthy too quickly, and never really had time to develop a moral system. People always want to get ahead, and are willing to push aside everyone else to do so, even close friends and family. If you see successful entrepreneurs, they’re hardly ever the philanthropists you have here in the states.

    I understand very well the mentality of the women you describe though. Life is very competitive, and poverty, starvation, and ruin are always lurking around the corner. Everyone is always trying to claw their way ahead, if for nothing else than to stay in place on the every moving treadmill. Getting ahead is difficult enough on your own, so why not ensnare a wealthy man to help you along? Oh incidentally this had led to the phenomenon of Shanghai women being focused on finding a man with education, money, and connections. Other attributes like being romantic, thoughtful, or a good partner are not so important initially; they can be “trained” after all.

    I’m sure our travels may intersect at some point; I’m a bit of a digital nomad myself. When that happens, I’d be glad to meet up for drinks+chat. It’s rare enough to find someone with your interesting pattern of thought. Oh, also if you’re ever back stateside and are free to meet up, give me a holler via email.

    1. Hi Richard!
      So happy to see your comment! I just revived this blog not too long ago and I really hope I can get it up and running!

      Yes, Chinese people are unbelievably materialistic. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I think Chinese equate the idea of happiness with material things and ‘status level’ of family. Sudden wealth can be attributed to the Chinese ‘twisted morals’ per se, but I have a theory that the mannerisms and human code of conduct was shattered during the cultural revolution–I would really like to see what China was like pre-revolution. Foreigners often say that Chinese people are so ‘uncultured’… and really, that’s what happened. They were robbed of their culture and were pitted against one another. Anyway, I could write a whole book about that so… I’ll leave it at that for now. Although the youth are somewhat improving, I still meet people my age or younger that show no respect toward others and live in their own bubble.

      yeah, it’s just as you said, women here almost don’t have a choice but to marry a well-off man. Still, I think it goes a little too extreme sometimes. My former co-worker actually said to me: “I need a man that is over 5″8’, makes at least 10,000 RMb a month (high salary in China), have a house, has a Shanghai hukou (residency) AND is compatible with me. I thought: Good luck with THAT. And it’s not just Shanghai women after wealthy men (although they tend to be worse), I think all of China is shaping up to be this way.

      I do understand, though. It is a means of survival, and the family pressure to get married and buy a home is incredible. Being a single woman with a loser husband in your late 20s or early 30s is one of the biggest shames you could ever have in China.

      You really understand China! Is your family originally from Sichuan? I checked out your blog and you have a ton of amazing ideas! I’ll definitely keep an eye on it. You’re so well versed in a variety of industries too–can’t believe you’re going to study medicine, in addition to all the other things you’ve accomplished. You’re so well rounded.

      Yes, please let me know if you’re in the Shanghai area! Would be happy to meet up for a chat. I’ll let you know if I’m in the bay area!

  2. Thanks. I was actually born there and moved around growing up all over the world. Can’t really say any particular place is “home” to me. Actually, home will probably be wherever I am at the moment. Even my friends have now scattered all over the globe for work and advanced studies. It’s a bit tough actually.

    My mother (always a fount of wisdom) said that Chinese people treat life as a spring up to the top of a mountain. They run up as fast as they can and when they finally get to the top, they huff and puff and think “that’s it?” Westerners are more apt to climb slowly, smelling the flowers and enjoying the vista along the way.

    Yeah, everything in China is so expensive when compared to salaries. That’s in part why westerners who visit are in so high demand. No matter his status back home, in China his earnings are many times the average local’s.

    I don’t think it’s so much the Cultural Revolution as much Deng’s opening of China to the world. There’s a good contrast between the youths today (post-1985 or so) and the older generation. The older ones (and by extension those in Taiwan, HK, Malaysia, Singapore, and overseas Chinese communities) have preserved Confucian morality. The youths today in the mainland are much more me-focused and materialistic, for the reasons you and I discussed above.

    Fun topics. Let’s move the conversation offline. You have my email, right?

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