Being A Chinese Teenager In The 21st Century

Old culture and tradition have stood its ground with Chinese families since forever. I’m referring to full Chinese families with both a Chinese mom and a Chinese dad. Have you ever visited houses of your Chinese friends? There’s usually an altar where the pictures of their ancestors are displayed together with candles and a pot of incense sticks. Whenever they celebrate birthdays everyone has to be in red. When your grandfather or your dad dies, you would have to wear white for a number of days, even years to show respect. If you were the eldest son in the family, then you would have to take care of the family business. There are a lot of these traditions that have not died down. Some may be as normal as they get, but some have raised arguments over the years.

I am a Chinese teenager who grew up in a really traditional Chinese family and I live in the Philippines. I was raised with the notion that the Chinese is a somewhat superior race in our country. There is this stereotype that we own the successful businesses and we are the ones who knows how to handle money. Well, I never really saw any objection to our traditions and with the way we were raised. Not until I fell in love.

I was in first year college when I met him. He wasn’t Chinese. That was an automatic red flag for me, and it meant that I had to back off. But being so stubborn I chose to just go with the flow. I was in a stage where my parents trust me in terms of going out with friends; they don’t ask a lot of questions not like when I was younger. The time came when I wanted to tell my parents about him.

To my shock, the reaction I got was horrifying. Who would have thought that my mom would beg me and cry in front of me just because of my non-traditional relationship? I tried to argue with her and I kept asking why. The only answer I got was “That’s the way it is.” (Of course, she said this in Tagalog, which I think makes the delivery more intense and more nonsensical to me). The conversation ended with her ready to sacrifice my good education just so I would stop seeing the guy.

I cannot believe that I am part of a culture that agrees to this and for no logical reason. I grew up worshiping this practice. I, too, thought that Chinese guys would be far better than anyone else. I guess some may argue that it’s because the cultures are incompatible. To make things worse, I am the eldest daughter and my parents never had sons. So the pressure is all on me to take care of the business and to carry the Chinese blood on since there’s no chance of me carrying the family name. I thought my relationship would be something I’d get tired of after a few months, expecting to realize all the wrong things about him that my parents always told me about. But he was different, and I can assure you that all arguments are invalidated. I can even compare him to some of the Chinese guys I know, and all the Chinese guys my parents are setting me up with. They are such douchebags. I have this theory that a lot of Chinese guys, since we were raised in well-off families and we have superiority issues, are not really the best guys out there. I’m not really generalizing, I won’t be a hypocrite and start judging people that way. It’s just an idea.

I feel like it’s a blast from the past where our generation faces this kind of practice and the next would have more freedom of choice in terms of everything. I am not really sure if I were one of the lucky ones, some families would disown their children just because of not marrying a Chinese because it destroys the bloodline. How’s that for close family ties? A lot will agree that Filipino families even have the better familial relationships, with no backstabbing and a lot of judgments.

But isn’t it weird or is it just I? Hello 21st century racism!

Up until now I have no idea what I will do, but I every now and then I find more reasons to stay and keep this relationship stronger. Now we’re on our 3rd year, and I haven’t been happier. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Flickr / zoetnet

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