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Marry Someone from Your Ancestral Country?

weather: light showers
outside: 10°C
mood: contemplative
An interesting question that someone posted at random to asam:

Do you think you could ever marry a native from your ancestral country?

Almost all the comment responses to that thread say they cannot.

I actually think I could. I might be being naïve here, I don't know. I think I could even marry someone from the Mainland, assuming the right personality. Though it would very much depend on how the family reacts to me. You're not just marrying the man, you're marrying the family.

I think I'd be more comfortable with a family that's already friends with my parents because they tend to be the more anti-bullshit crowd. My Dad's female ex-coworkers and friends in China are all Engineers and Technicians. They all love me to death. =) Dad told me later about a few "approaches" on and off throughout the years, but Mom and Dad don't believe in arranged marriages and that sort of thing. They were content to see what I did with my own life first.

I think if I hadn't found my Husband at such a young age, I would have ended up with a son of one of their friends. So, to find an ally in a Mother-in-Law among my Dad's friends wouldn't be a problem. And, really, for a girl, it's the Mother-in-Law that's important. =D

The In-Laws would more than likely want him to live in North America with me instead of us living in China. So, it would be on my territory (ie. my terms) and it lessens the likelihood of them living with us, at least for the first little while before they would want to immigrate.

Mainlanders are mostly agnostic or they're very mildly Chinese Buddhist which would go well with my beliefs.

They also wouldn't expect me to change my last name. Mainland Chinese women keep their surnames when they marry. That would be one less thorn in everybody's side. =)


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2004 07:18 pm (UTC)
Uh... ok. That seems like an almost ridiculous question to me. How could people say, without reservation, that they couldn't marry a native from their ancestral country? That just seems bizarre to me.

I try to generally pick things like, say, spouses, based on what I think of them as individuals, not where they were born. Or is prejudice - against your own people, no less - now chic?

That's just weird.
Feb. 24th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC)
Heh. Well... read the community...
When I looked, it seemed like most of the people who said that were (fairly) young girls. Comments like "mixed children are the best!" and "can't stand the oppression! (from Chinese males)" seemed to dominate.

Frankly, I wonder whether any of these people -know- what people from the mainland are like, rather than the stereotype/Hollywoodized versions.
Feb. 24th, 2004 08:57 pm (UTC)
The thread is here.

I really don't know. A lot of them didn't elaborate. It might be that they think the cultural differences, expectations and whatnot are too great. It could be the language.
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I eventually dug it up and skimmed it. Since most of them didn't back up what they said with any sort of reasons or logic, I don't feel bad about making a blanket statement like this:

They're all frickin' idiots.

But I've been feeling too nice, recently, I'm trying to rediscover some of my edge. I need to make more people cry!

(Kidding. Well, mostly.)
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:09 pm (UTC)
Haha =)
Feb. 24th, 2004 07:21 pm (UTC)
A 'native' ... as in someone -born- there?
I don't see why not. Being born... heck, even being brought up there... doesn't define his/her characteristics. Does he/she count as a 'native' if they go abroad when they're... oh, around high school? That's probably the critical changing point.

I think the answer is rather gender specific. I'm not sure a whole lot of guys would answer in the negative. A girl is a girl is a girl... they're all confusing, no matter what country they're from :p Personally, I don't think I could date/marry someone who hasn't had some 'international' exposure, simply because of language and thought barriers.
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: A 'native' ... as in someone -born- there?
Personally, I don't think I could date/marry someone who hasn't had some 'international' exposure, simply because of language and thought barriers.

So, you couldn't date someone who was born in China/Taiwan/HK and grew up there, never left the country? That's what I definitely consider a native. I'm not sure about someone who left the country around highschool.

Language I can understand (and it's even detrimental to be able to communicate with her, but not with her family).

But, I'm curious, what "thought barriers" do you think there are?
Feb. 24th, 2004 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: A 'native' ... as in someone -born- there?
Could I? I could. I just don't think I will (anymore). I've done it a few times, and ... while they're all very nice and everything, it just... doesn't work. I've gone on about this (extensively) in my journal... :p but here are the Cliff Notes: Basically, it's a matter of communication. While I can speak in Mandarin AND Cantonese, my Cantonese tends to be a little weak. I talk (and think!) fairly differently depending on the language.

When I speak in English, it tends to be very Americanized, I'm very fast, very confident, and talk on and on and on. In Chinese, I tend to stumble over my words... mostly because I'm not sure if I'm using the right word, in the right context, if I put the accent in the wrong place... and if I'm talking about, say, the movie we just watched together, I don't want to pause and examine each and every word. Plus, because of our different upbringing, what I'll see, what I'll notice, what I -value- is considerably different to what she does.

While it's possible that she could grow to understand it, she could learn it... I guess I'm just a little too impatient to wait for someone to play catch up. I don't mind explaining, but when it's every other time, the time spent 'hanging out' starts to feel like lessons, and that's not really fun.
Feb. 24th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)
Re: A 'native' ... as in someone -born- there?
Ah, I see.
Feb. 24th, 2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with you! If he had the right personality, I would go for it. I was brought up with enough of both cultures to be able to live "both" ways. (although the N.Am culture isn't that different than HK culture... which is the culture I was partly brought up in)

I think the main reason why people said no, was probably because of either language barrier, or "cultural differences" (ie how to raise children, mentalily, morals etc etc). If I was unable to communicate with my fiance, or if we had fundamental differences in our morals and values, then I don't think it can work. Luckily, I found a nice Chinese guy to communicate with in English and Chinese, and we were both raised with more or less the same values. :D

You're also definitely right in saying you're marrying into their family. I don't think I can ever marry someone without the blessing of my family, and his family. Such is the Chinese Way, and it is my way too. For us, our family is the most important. When I marry PB, I will not only take him into my family, but his family into my family as well.
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:19 pm (UTC)
I could maybe see a vegan not being able to handle Chinese cuisine (our food motto: "anything with its back facing the sky!"). =D

But the thing is, even without the language barrier, I could have communication problems with a North American boy, no matter what race.

I can also have fundamental differences in morals and values with a Chinese boy who was brought up in North America (Chinese Bible-thumping zealots anyone?).

And then again, some days I think I have irreconcilable differences with my husband. =)
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:01 pm (UTC)
I suppose it's very different for women as opposed to men.

I don't think I'd have any problems with dating a girl from Taiwan, mainland China, or Hong Kong. I'd imagine my parents might be a little miffed at the second, and even more so about the third, but at this point, they'd probably just be happy that I was dating a Chinese. XD
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:24 pm (UTC)
Heeheehee =)
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:35 pm (UTC)
Or even just dating!
Feb. 25th, 2004 09:30 am (UTC)
Count me in with the people who say they couldn't.

It'd be too much of a culture clash. I'm so much more comfortable in American culture than in Chinese culture. So I doubt that someone from Hong Kong or China would have much in common with me. And I'm not even fluent in Cantonese anymore.

Sure, he might have the same general values. But there's more to a relationship than that... I'm having issues putting this into words.

Of course, this is all conjecture.
Feb. 25th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC)
I think it's a bit like a huge age gap. It's not impossible, but it's harder when you don't have common experiences and a common culture to draw on.

Jokes and other spontaneous things end up having to be explained which takes the fun out of it sometimes. And like chenpion says, dates start to feel like "lessons", you're explaining every last thing.

It's also exhausting to be speaking a non-native language.
Feb. 25th, 2004 09:19 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think its interesting for me to consider a question like this.

My parents are not in the whole arranged marriage thing. The relationship I have with my parents is strained at the best of times, but nonetheless, I'd hope they'd be pleased with the person I (may) marry,

Of course, its easy to say you're marrying the person and not the family, but I dunno. I think its trivial to consider which place a person came from, though it might make things easier to understand certain cultural norms.

In any case, its happiness. I know, if I found someone special halfway across the world, and they felt the same way, I'd jump on a plane to go see her. Yeah .. I'm being philosophical (and probably cheesy), but that's how I feel. --Ray
Feb. 25th, 2004 09:27 pm (UTC)
I know what you're saying =) Of course, you would try to get together. Your phone bills would be through the roof before long as well =)
Feb. 25th, 2004 10:42 pm (UTC)
LOL. I'm never too too much on the phone. Though I can see what you mean. *shrugs*. Who knows. ;o) --Ray
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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