EL: The Way of the World

Today is Mid-Autumn Day. Grandpa is alone in HK. I called him. He has been ill all these years. He said slowly and weakly: “Doctor told me not to eat tomatoes, potatoes, some vegetable…What else can I eat? Not many. My head aches. My feet ache. My bones ache…”

I feel so sorry for him. 82-year-old man. When he walks, he feels tired. So, in this festival, he can not come back---too far for him, and too tired for him. So he is alone. He is forgotten.

There is a saying: Thirty years up and downs. 30 years ago, whenever grandpa came back, many people went to welcome him. As a goldsmith in HK, he had some gold and some money. And 30 years ago, people in the hometown were poor. So, all the friends, relatives crowded to welcome him, as if he carried many bags of gold.

20 years ago, he was still young, healthy and capable. His sons were building their business in HK too. His grandchildren were healthy and clever and loved him. Whenever he came back, he was still the centre. Those friends, relatives all crowded around him, as if he was the king.

10 years ago, his sons became to have money and power. His grandchildren grew up. When people crowded him, some began to crowd his sons.

At those times, grandpa paid more attention to my cousins, but not my sister and me due to some family reasons. Other relatives and friends always forgot us because compared to my uncles, we were poorer.

Now, 2010. Grandpa becomes old, weak, and unhealthy. And he doesn’t have so much money. So now, not many people remember him. Those who used to crowd him as if he was the king all rushed to crowd his sons, my uncles, who have some money; and their sons, my cousins, who do business overseas and have some money. Those grandchildren, whom he used to love so much, ignore him when he becomes old and poor. So in this festival, he is forgotten.

Only mom called him: He is my mom’s father. Only my sister and I called him: He is my mom’s father. Mom said: “This is the way of the world.”

Yes, the way of the world. You never know who are genuine when you are still rich, strong, capable and have some power.

Grandpa knew this truth 30 years ago. He said: “I know it, but I can not change it.”

Who can!
Post Comment

Comments (48)

u cant change a damn thing...

i feel so bad for grand pa...blues
Take comfort, grandpa has you, your mom and your sister. Perhaps remind grandpa of this love he has. Some have none.
been waiting sooooo very long for d promised love letter but it never came ....

Guess I should simply give up and die ...

Sounds like he he's had a pretty good life to me. Every dog has his day, he's probably had his and it can never last for ever.
Anyway why does he have to be alone? I guess none of you can be bothered to go and see him. So much for the famous Chinese family culture !!?
Hi all.

Hi jack. Thanks. I feel sorry for him too.

Hi mike. Yes some have none. I will call him more often in the future.

Hi 10k. hmmmmm.. so which way will you decide to die? Tell me so that I can call the policemen first.

Hi how1e. good question. I have been waiting who will ask such kind of questions. Actually not only you, but also many Chinese young people, are wondering the same question: Why we can not join our family members in such kind of festival?

Reason 1: young people go to other places to work, to earn money, and it is far, but the festival is short. We only have 3 days, some only 1 day. But the journey in the train will take 2 or 3 days. so can not go home!

The way to solve this problem: now the ruler-makers suggest that we should have more days in such kind of festivals, so that we can go home. We welcome this way.

Reason 2: Why my grandpa is alone? That is because he is in HK, but we are in mainland. He can come home easily, but we can not go there easily.

One of my uncles and his family are in HK too. They asked grandpa to join them. But grandpa is too old and he doesn’t want to walk so much. Tired. So why my uncle doesn’t go to join my grandpa? That is because the son does not love his old father when his old father becomes old. That is the change of the “Famous Chinese Family Culture” you mentioned, Not only you, but also many Chinese people begin to notice the loss of this family culture. Time changes, society changes, so people’s hearts change, the culture changes.
OK well thanks for the explanation. I thought it would be easy to get to HK because Shenzhen is close to there. Anyway it may seem hard to understand but some loss of the Famous Chinese Family Culture is not such a bad thing. For too long Chinese children have been taught to feel grateful to their parents and grandparents for giving them life, mostly thanks to that guy Confucis. I think there is still a law in China which requires children to look after their parents !?? And really its time for China to live in the 21st century, not 5,000 years ago.
lol. i am alone in shenzhen, my sister is alone in FS, my parents are at hometown. in this festival, i can not join my family either.

yes, shenzhen is close to hk, but if i want to go to hk, first i have to go back my hometown, which will take me nearly one day in a bus, to some places for the passport or such kinds of things. then only after having this passport, can i go to hk. lol. i only have 2 days for the festival.

lol. some good things had better not to lose, or else the society will become bad.

as a westerner, perhaps you will never understand such kind of things: we feel grateful to our parents, not only because we were taught to be like this by the Confucius, but because we love them, in the way they love us.

that is not only related to the "culture" or the "teaching" you mentioned or oppugned. that is also about the human beings' basic feelings and responsibility. the old's today is the young's tomorrow.
Well maybe you are right, perhaps as "a Westerner" I will never really understand. However I do understand this, that as "a Westerner" I can love my parents and help them if / when they need help, but that I am also entitled to my own independent life. I do know (from experience) that the rather oppressive Famous Chinese Family Culture can make it difficult to have an independent life. I would also suggest to you that when your parents had you - actually they were doing it for themselves. It was they who wanted children to make their own lives complete. Im not saying this should mean you love them any less, but I think they should be grateful to you for assisting in their happiness !
He he. How1e. your this sentence “For too long Chinese children have been taught to feel grateful to their parents and grandparents for giving them life, mostly thanks to that guy Confucis.” and this sentence “And really its time for China to live in the 21st century, not 5,000 years ago.” do really make me laugh.

So you think some of us feel grateful to our parents just because we were taught to be like this? Ha ha do you understand the relationship and the feelings between parents and children? Ha ha.

Parents take good care of us and in return we take good care of them, what is wrong about it. I guess that is something beyond the teaching of Confucis or the culture which is very very “out-of-date” 5000 years ago. That is something all living things possess and understand. Animals understand, Chinese people understand, white people, black people and red people understand.
janmai wish you the best friend
"the rather oppressive Famous Chinese Family Culture can make it difficult to have an independent life."

ha ha... you make me laugh out loudly and can not stop! welcome here, to see whether we are living an oppressive life without independence.
thanks john. i hope you and your girlfriend are well!
Janmei, if I have made you laugh then thats great ! I only come here to try and spread a little joy and happiness...
Well thanks for the invite but I have already lived in China, so I do know something. The question is have you lived as "a Westerner"? Because only when /if you do will you realise something about the Famous Oppressive Chinese Family Culture !! hehe
well i do not live as a westerner but my aunt and her family live among the westerners in North America. she said there are many many extremely lonely old people there. they are forgotten and live a miseable life at their old age. i hope when you are old, you won't be like those poor old people... oh no. every dog has its own day, should this sentence be used in this situation?
I totally agree, there are old people who are lonely, thats true. I have 2 daughters myself and while noone wants to be lonely in their old age, a lot of people also wouldn't want to be a burden on their children. They have their own lives to lead. So by that time yes, maybe this dog would have had his day. But before you start getting all worried about me, a) its a long way off and b) I have plenty of plans for when I am older.
so i hope your daughters do not consider you as a burden.. i do not consider my parents as a burden. because of them, i don't feel so lonely in this world, expecially when i am down.

friends, bf, husband will make you not so lonely in this world. yes, it is true. but one day, becaues of the uncertainity of life, they will leave or betray you. but parents will never betray or abondan you.

they make the children feel warm and cozy and safe inside, in return, children make them feel warm and cozy and safe inside.
Well I hope you dont think that every b/f or husband is bound to betray you ! That doesnt sound like very positive thinking to me.
Mr How, you took the words right out of my mouth as I was reading this blog. "a lot of people also wouldn't want to be a burden on their children".

Jan that is how a lot of us feel. If you love your child, I would want the best life for them. I would want them to live freely without guilt of not taking care of me. Your brothers desire the freedom to live thier life without the burden? How else can you explain their behavior. I will deal with my own demise and I am proud to accept it without burdening a young person I love.

But I do enjoy hearing your view point on the subject, and I respect your beliefs. Can you do the same?

You mention feeling sorry for your grandpa. I would not want my child to feel sorry for me. I would tell them I am fine even if I am not.

Just trying to share a different view point. I'm not trying to change your beliefs. I actually have a sister who feels as you do.
Jan, nice lesson "the way of the world" hug
Yes, Mike I respect your and howl’s beliefs too. Actually I respect those who know how to respect others. Actually I quite appreciate those who can voice out their own opinion in a polite and appropriate manner. That is communication. From this we learn from each other. The world is diverse, people are different. If all the people had the same opinion, how boring it would be!

There is no absolutely right or absolutely wrong. People hold different opinions due to different culture background, life experience and so on. Different places have different things. That is what makes the world wonderful.

I guess the basic root in this question is how we consider our parents. If we consider them as burden, then what you said is right. Not to be the burden of the one you love. But if we don’t consider them as burden, but the ones who can not be divided from us, then things will be totally different.

It is not contrary. Taking care of them is not contrary to having an independent life. Many families can live in this way in harmony. That is, the young children take care of their old parents, but also have their own independent life. Sometimes because of their old parents can give them some help, they can do their career more successfully. It is not contrary. Of course, some family can not have this harmony.

I also wonder if the westerners are really so independent. How1. I met several westerner boys on this site. From 19~28. from USA. From UK or other nations in Europe. They are students, or take a job outside, or even do some small business. But they still live with their parents or one of their parent. However, I have been living alone outside in two cities which are far far away from my hometown, far away from my parents since I was 19, from 2005. So who has more independence?

Hi hugh1! Thanks! hug
I am not suggesting abandoning one's parents. I just feel I should not expect or accept my child to take care of me. My job as a parent would be to bring the child up into this world and set them free. How can my child be free if he/she takes care of me when I am old? My old age is my responsibility. I must plan for it, as to not be a burden to anyone, including the state.

Besides, sometimes I make a lot of noise when I have sex. I really would not feel comfortable with my parents or my woman's parents living with me.

PS: I just visited with my ageing mother this weekend.
Jan, sorry about the last comment about the "noise". Feel free to erase my post as I understand it is inappropriate on your blog.
fine. as i have said, the world is diverse, people are different. though i disagree with something, yet i still view it as objective as possible. when the east culture comes across to the west one, i wouldn't judge the west culture according to the east standard.
I believe that is the difference between a great person and an ordinary person. The ability or at least the desire to view things objectively. Not basing one's decisions on one's own interests.
Janmei, so true. I have a mother in her eighties. Luckily she has her family close by who love her very much. But what struck me is how it is "the way of the world" to flock to that which has something we desire or is of benefit to us, and forget or abandon that which does not. I don't see how it can be changed as far as that being human nature, but happily there are people like you who can rise above this basic selfishness and continue to love/care for those who do not give us something in return (other than returned love). bouquet
Well Jan I do agree with you, there is no right or wrong at all, just some difference. And Im not even saying our way is better or worse, its just different. Obviously I do agree with Mike, we raise our children to be independent adults who can find their own way in the world. Actually you talked about kids in the US and Europe still living with parents in their 20s and you being relatively more independent - well sure, there are people like that of course, sometimes because they cannot afford their own place. And plenty of people in China also have to live with their parents, even when they get married for the same reason. But talking about marriage, I am wondering if you want to one day marry a Chinese or Western guy. Because as I understand things, for you to marry a Chinese guy will mean you should become closer to his family than your own. And you will have to respect his parents wishes and look after them in their old age, probably ahead of your own blood family. I would be interested to see how you feel then about the Famous Oppressive Chinese Family Culture ! Alternatively, perhaps you are interested in meeting and marrying a Westerner, in which case I would seriously doubt the sincerity of some of your comments. I have had this kind of conversation with a lot of young Chinese people and - i have to be honest with you - they all trot out the same kind of arguments, which really means you have all been taught to think in exactly the same way. Its very much like trying to find even young Chinese people who disapprove of the Chinese governments policies, a very hard thing to do !
Hi calmheartseeks. Finally you point out the gist. Yes. “flock to that which has something we desire or is of benefit to us, and forget or abandon that which does not.” It is this thing I want to write in this blog. But somehow, other comments go other ways. But fine, different sharp eyes can read different things.

The way of the world. In Chinese we call it “the warmth and the coolness of life and society”. But when I search the translation, it becomes “the way of the world” or “every dog has its day”.

I hope your mother healthy and happy! hug
Hi howle. We raise our children to be independent adults who can find their own way in the world too.

As to Famous Oppressive Chinese Family Culture..

If it means children should respect and take care of their parents, the sons should, the daughters should, then I agree with it. My sister has been in Canada more than 10 years, she found that many white people do not take care of their parents, as a result, they end their life lonely in old folks' home. But not many Chinese old people in Canada face this fate.

If it mean “become closer to his family than your own. And you will have to respect his parents wishes and look after them in their old age, probably ahead of your own blood family”, and you disagree with it, and then I agree with you and I am against it strongly. My parents do not have sons, so I always think that if I marry a man, then I should take care of his parents, but who to take care of my own parents. In my definition, it is unfair to become closer to his family than my own. It should go both ways, that is, two families go closer to each other, not only the girl should go closer to the boy’s family. And if you think Famous Oppressive Chinese Family Culture means this aspect, and then I can tell you that I am still single because of this reason. I have some friends around me. If I agree, perhaps one of them has become my bf or husband. But whenever I think of ““become closer to his family than my own”, I will lose my mood to fall in love with them. Don’t you understand? I was born in this cultural background, I am against, so I have no other way to go. But I can solve this problem by choosing to forget it.

No, I am not going to find westerners. If you know how I and many of us think about westerners, you will know that, ha ha, no, we don’t want to find westerners. My sister has been in Canada more than 10 years but still single. Not easy to find the right Chinese man. Some white men are after her. But she refused. She said too many differences. Not because they are not good, or their life attitude or culture are not good. Just because too many difference. Difference about life attitude, habit, views, customs, and so on.

Ha ha it seems that you know us very much. laugh
I was born in this cultural background, I am against it, so I have no other way to go. But I can solve this problem by choosing to forget it.

sorry for the missing word.
and now things change step by step.

after 1980's the one-child policy, more and more families have only one child. that is to say, some family only have one daughter or one son.

so in the coming years, women and men will become equal step by step.

before girls would be closed to her husband's family after marrying him. but in the future, it goes both ways: boys become closer to the girls' families, and girls become closer to the boys's families. step by step. i can see this phenomena among some of my friends. that is a good sign. a victory.
Thank you for the compliment - its very much appreciated and I am being completely sincere.
Fascinating what you said in your last post because I can imagine how you have grown up in this culture, which you obviously respect but which does seem to cause you some issues.
For what its worth, I also know plenty of Westerners who have a Chinese wife or g/f. Sure there are some differences, but doesnt this make life more interesting? You know, Chinese family culture is not the only thing in life which is important! Most people have many other differences too, different tastes in music, furniture, food......some people are messy in the house and some are really tidy. All of these things have to be coped with - its called compromise and thats the way most people have to live. I do know a fair amount about Chinese culture and I think you personally also have another problem; most Chinese guys really dont want a "smart woman", do they? Seems to me you are far too smart for most of them !! So you dont want a Western guy because of the "differences", a Chinese guy will expect you to get closer to his family than your own and probably you are too smart for him anyway. Jan....Im thinking that maybe you are destined to stay single !!
CT was right. You are very interesting Mr how.

Jan, you are equally interesting.

Just so there is no cultural misunderstanding, those were BOTH compliments.

well mike if i hadn't seen how1e's photos before, i would have thought that howle and CT are the same person.

i respect the part that we should care our parents, love them, do not abandon them, forget them, ignore them, or send them in old folks'home to let them live miseably and die alone.

but i am against the part that the girls have to be closer to the boys' families rather than their own families.

yes, differences make things interesting. but, if a west boy even does not know to respect his own parents, even abandons his own parents, and let them die alone in the old folk's home, how can he respect my own parents, and how can he understand that i will never allow my own parents live alone in the old folk's home. but the chinese boys who take care of his own parents will understand it easily why our girls care our parents so much. culture differences are very important.

what most west boys want are just some fun. when you have his babies, when he is tired of you, they leave. that is why so many single mothers and why so many children grow up in broken families in the west. but what chinese girls want is not just some fun. a good, complete family, so that kids can grow up healthily. that is something most of west boys do not understand. difference about life attitude is very important.

such kinds of differences can be a big problem when mixing races. a big risk. not worth.

when more men know that children's intelligence is decided by their mon's intelligence, then more men will like smart women.

as i have said, victory. in the coming years, there will be much more boys due to the one-child policy. that means many boys can not marry. that means another bigger victory will come.

actually being single is good. if i have a bf, if he knows that i am talking to a 45 year old, "rich business man" (as you said in your profile) from Germany, how would he think? laugh
Perhaps, but have you seen CT's picture?dunno

There is rumor in the west that eastern men stray from their wives too. Is this a false rumor?

I accept death. I hope when the time comes I can hold true to my beliefs. I will face it alone as I have no choice in the matter, and I accept this.. I do not desire an escort to accompany me. I would want my children to be busy with their lives, not my death.

You know there is not a right or wrong answer here. Each person must decide for themselves what is right. No one should be able to decide what we choose. Like I said, I have a sister who thinks much like you, her choice. It does not mean I love my mother less. I have no doubt my mother knows this.

Now there is a right and wrong answer to the "one-child policy". That is extremely "oppressive". Who gives a human the right to tell another human what they must do with their body.
from every person's angle, one-child policy is extremely cruel.

from the entire human beings' angle, one-child policy benefits many people a lot.

with the natural resources fewer and fewer, food less and less, space more and more narrower, but the population expanding, one-child policy benefits many people.
Sounds like you have the perfect life in Asian country. I am happy for you. I too have a perfect life but here in free country. I guess we have nothing more to talk about.

PS: I hope your sister can make it back to Asian country. She sounds very sad living in western world.
And for Mr how, how do you get these Asian girls so excited for you when you oppose their beliefs.dunno

My Asian fetish is in full bloom.
hei hei. who say they have a perfect life? i have never said it. perfect life? nobody will say that their life is perfect. because in this world, no perfect.

don't worry about my sister. life is not just for marriage. she is happy there.

not excited. just because some people can type some words which hit the points, so everybody wants to talk about it. if you have the wisdom to hit the point in one topic, then i am sure many people will discuss the topic you find.
Ahh, so that is Mr how's secret, his typing points. Some how it felt like you were baiting Mr how while you were answering my question. But what would a savage western boy know.dunno

I once wondered me this, where are all the Asian boys on this website? There seems to be an imbalance.confused Perhaps the typing points again.

Question, Is there such a gift as a platonic marriage? Have you ever heard of such a term?

I have another question if you are in the mood, can a woman like yourself, say bad things about her country without the risk of repercussions?

I do wish Mr how would come back to offer a western opinion on such topics. It is not that I don't trust what you say, it is only that the equation does not balance.
Post Comment - Let others know what you think about this Blog.