Turning Over a New Identity

Four years ago today, Christchurch reeled from the effects of a powerful earthquake. For four years afterwards, the entire city struggled to define itself and what made it – us – unique and Christchurch.

It’s a struggle I’m not unfamiliar with, on a personal level. Four years ago and before that, I identified very strongly as Chinese. It was what made me who I was. I would have been lost without it. My earlier posts on this blog will attest to that. I was staunchly pro-Beijing, pro-government. I had a map of China on my wall and I taught myself to speak Mandarin. Just thinking about it makes me want to shake that girl now. (Not that I regret the Mandarin. That has always been useful as a tool.)

Four years later, I no longer consider myself Chinese. I just happen to have been born with a certain DNA and in a certain place. What has happened? What has changed? Nothing. And everything.  Continue reading “Turning Over a New Identity”

Greatest Distractions to Reading (and everything else)

Since 2012, I’ve been trying to get back on track with my reading, not only because I regret devolving from a voracious devourer of books to a virtual non-reader who consumed nothing but fashion magazines and really bad chicklit (I know chicklit isn’t all bad but trust me when I say I read trash for fun during my university years. Not that there’s anything wrong with reading trash, but when you consume too much junk food, literary or otherwise, bad things happen to your mind and body).

While embarking on this journey to get back on track, I realized that there are several obstacles that get in the way of my reading.

1. Mobile phones

I got my first smartphone (tablet) in 2012. It was a Samsung Galaxy Tab v2.0 and I was thrilled with it. It would buzz whenever I got an email or a Facebook update or a like or a comment and, like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I’d rush to see what the buzz and ping was all about. It became compulsive. I had to do it just to see if there was a reward at the end of it. Yes, I knew that most of the emails I got were newsletters that I subscribed to years ago and never even opened once. Yes, I know my Facebook likes are pretty trivial matters and never really  go beyond single digits. But I still had to do it.  Continue reading “Greatest Distractions to Reading (and everything else)”

Drifting together and apart

It’s been years since I’ve written anything and it just feels like a lifetime ago. Looking back at my posts, I feel like I’m looking at the blog of someone else I used to know but haven’t kept in touch with anymore. It’s like, all of a sudden, wondering about a school friend, you click on their Facebook profile only to find that (a) they’ve unfriended you and (b) you don’t even know where in the world they are.

I’ve been looking at my other blogs and sometimes I cringe and at other times, I’m proud of the things I wrote. I just wonder, should I give blogging another go?

I guess I was wondering that because this morning, as I got up and opened a huge Word document to do another day’s worth of writing, I suddenly felt the need to write something that was a little less structured and a little more raw than fiction. It feels awkward coming back to blogging, almost, and I don’t know if anyone still reads this blog.

Anyway, I might give it another try.

China and Tibet 3: Tibetan censorship

China is often accused of censorhip, and rightfully so. However, I think the urge to censor exists in everyone. Some of us deal with it better than others.

I was arguing with Tibetan independence movement people again, as I do. Here’s one of two threads. This one is in reply to this article.

Personally speaking, I don’t think I’m hating on them at all. I might come across as a little bit hostile, but that’s because I really do not agree with what they stand for and I’m putting my alternative views across.

This is the second thread that I posted on, in reply to this article:

This is their reply to my last post, which got deleted by them; I hope you can read it.

After this reply, I said something along the lines of how we should all be multicultural societies, that race should no longer be a boundary between people and how China should represent all the different ethnicities within its geographical and political borders instead of just the race of Han. I can’t give you the exact reply because I was late in screencapping, as this happened: (This is the thread about ‘What is Tibet’s Cause’)

All my griping about censorship got deleted too.

I then sent them a couple of vitriolic messages about how if they want to advocate a cause, they should debate better and let people see both sides of the argument, and how they’re no better than the Chinese Communist Party when it comes to censorship.

The same thing happened on the thread about ‘China’s Cultural Zoo’.

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If you go to the original articles here and here you will not find my comments there anymore. On the first link, it will be as if I didn’t dare to argue with their terrific reasoning after they replied.

Do I need to say anymore on the topic? Not really, except that censorship isn’t just a Chinese thing. This group of people obviously couldn’t deal with opposing ideas and so had to get rid of them. If these are the people who will run Tibet after independence…I will leave you to judge whether it’s a good or bad thing.

Luckily, not all Tibetans agree with this stance. I was messaging someone on YouTube and they said they had no problem with Tibet being counted within the borders of a truly democratic China (if that ever happened) if Tibet had cultural autonomy. He was polite and didn’t tell me I was a propagandist.

I am still open to persuasion. If you support Tibetan independence, you’re welcome to try and convince me that I’m wrong.

Tiger mother-style parenting

I am contemplating buying Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. I would have borrowed the book but alas, the library’s not open due to the earthquake, so I have to make do with my Kindle for PC. (Am contemplating buying a Kindle too coz my brother would never speak to me again if I bought an iPad, but that’s another story.)

Anyway, I read the first sample chapter, and I have to say that I found many parallels to my life, at least from what I’ve read. More traditional Chinese families tend to have a tendency to push their children to the point of insanity to make them succeed academically. I’m not going to say whether that’s good or bad –of course I have my opinions on it, but I’ll leave you to make your own judgements for now. I just want to share my experience of living under that style of parenting.

I have always been a rebellious child. I don’t follow the norms. I don’t like norms. I don’t like conformity. I veer towards right-brain thinking, which might make me see the world in a different way to the majority of people. Whilst growing up in Hong Kong, I would always refuse to do the set homework. It would be a huge battle of wills. My reasoning for not doing the homework: My hand hurt from holding the pencil and trying to control it so I could form those Chinese characters. I still can’t form Chinese characters well.

After my family moved to New Zealand, things let up for a bit. My mother used to make me remember English phrases from school and make me repeat them back to her when I got home. She quickly gave up when I started making up my own phrases. Clearly, the English language was not going to be a problem for me if I could start forming sentences after two months.

However, when I was eight, she discovered that I had no idea what decimal numbers were. Prior to that, my dad had always been the one who taught me maths. My dad is pretty good at maths, but he’s an awful teacher. He thinks that everyone should be a mathematical genius and automatically understand complicated concepts. Mum took over after I only got half the questions right in a maths competition.

From then on, it was war. I resented having extra work. Why did I need to be three or four years ahead than everyone else at maths? Why did I have to do all those stupid questions after school? Why couldn’t she leave me alone to read my books? Sure, I enjoyed getting the prizes for maths competitions. It made me feel like I was worth something. The rest of the time, I resented being called stupid or useless for not being able to grasp certain mathematical concepts. My excellence in mathematics alienated me from my peers. I was never the popular kid –I was too shy and too weird– but this just made it worse. I think I’m a bit socially awkward today because of what I experienced back then. I didn’t want to be noticed –and sometimes I still don’t want to be noticed– because the attention I got was hardly ever friendly.

When it came to maths, I had to get all Excellences (the New Zealand equivalent of straight A’s). Anything less was not good enough. I felt pressured into performing well. I felt like my parents’ show pony. They loved being able to say how good at maths I was, but I felt as if they loved my mathematical achievements instead of the person that I was. I was much more than just a bunch of mathematical formulae and Distinction certificates. They didn’t care that I loved to write. They didn’t care that I liked dancing. They didn’t care so much when I got Excellence in English or French. They cared when I failed a mock history essay. Failure was not acceptable in my family back then.

The resentment grew. Even the Excellences in Mathematics failed to boost my mood. I was not a mass of numerical formulae. I didn’t feel any sense of achievement because hey, I was only this good because it got drilled into my head every day for the past ten years. I was sick of it. Maths took up most of my time, leaving me little time to concentrate on subjects that I enjoyed and naturally were good at, such as French and English and…well, not so much history. My history grades in high school were hit and miss. But I liked history and I felt that if I had more time to spend on it, I’d be better. I just didn’t have the time.

This excellence in mathematics led to me being pushed into taking Physics in Year Twelve (twelfth grade in American and sixth form for some other nations). I slept a lot in class because of the heater. All of the theories went right over my head. My boat for my practical went backwards so its speed was in the negatives and there was a burnt plastic smell when I tried to construct a circuit for the electricity topic. To put it simply, I sucked at it.

That year was my last stand. The pressure was too much. I hated Physics and I hated Maths. What if I didn’t get an excellence for a maths paper? That would be the equivalent of failure. Besides, I wanted to prove something; I wanted to prove that I had talent all on my own and that I was right about myself all along. I was not a mathematical person. My talents lay in the arts and other more creative subjects.

My parents wanted me to take Year Thirteen Calculus. Dad wanted me to get a maths scholarship in university, then a maths degree, and then he wanted me to go and teach maths. Mum wanted me to do it because why would I not do it? I was good at it.

I laid down an ultimatum. If they made me take Calculus, I was simply going to fail it, there it was. The word ‘fail’ scared them. My mother tried to threaten me. If I failed Calculus, she was going to rip up my in-progress novel. I, in turn, told her that if she did it, I was going to leave home and never look back. I would change my name and cut off all contact with the family.

I’m not whether she took me seriously, but I think she was a bit afraid. She didn’t really know what I was capable of.

The lesson here? Raising a child goes both ways. The child trains the parent too. I started early. It’s not easy, but if you’re lucky, eventually your parents might learn. Parents have to learn that their children are not putty to be moulded any way they please. Children have minds of their own, personalities, their own inherent talents and flaws. Children can be quite different from their parents. A child is not their parents’ doll or tool or show pony. The child is a little person who deserves to be loved for who they are, not for what they achieve. Achievement should be encouraged, but don’t force the child to do something that they really don’t want to. Guide them when they are small, but as they grow, let them choose their lives. After all, in the end, the parent is not the child. The parent actually doesn’t know what’s best for their children.

I always say this; “I’m the one who knows what’s best for me. You’re not me so you can’t know.” I truly believe that.

Just a few thoughts…

Just a couple of thoughts:

On Palm Sunday:

When Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, he was supposedly alone, so how did anyone find out what he said in prayer? Same with the forty days in the desert. He was alone, wasn’t he?

If Jesus was preaching day in and day out in the temple, the Pharisees should have recognize him and they should not have needed Judas to identify him. That is, of course, the Pharisees were really dumb.

Pilate probably knew what was going on with the Pharisees and the elders, and he didn’t want Jesus to live because he was afraid of a rebellion, so he went along with it and pretended he was reluctant to kill an
innocent man.

On the Tibetan independence movement:

Fact: There are six million Tibetans and 1.6 billion Chinese.

Fact: Most of that 1.6 billion Chinese do not want China to disintegrate.

Fact: A lot of that 1.6 billion Chinese want freedom of expression and democracy.

Fact: Tibet is landlocked.

Therefore, we should not let ethnic boundaries divide us. Instead, we should work together to create a new China. A better China. Not the Communist Party’s China, but a democratic people’s China that encompasses all
ethnic groups. China should not just mean the nation of the Han. It is the nation of the Manchurians, the Mongols, the Uyghurs and the Tibetans, as well as the fifty six other ethnic minorities out there. The government should reflect that.

1.6 billion Chinese working together would do a lot more than just six million Tibetans. By demanding complete independence, the Tibetan liberation movement is alienating Chinese who would otherwise think that what they want (democracy, freedom of expression etc.) is reasonable. It’s certainly alienated me. From my earlier discussion, my feeling is that the Tibetan liberation movement hates China because it is Chinese and not solely Tibetan.

And independent Tibet would most likely be cut off by China. China would not trade with it or give aid to it. Export requires sea ports and there are none in Tibet, unless India would grant it access to the sea. Does that seem likely? Man cannot survive on bread alone, but he cannot survive on spirituality and dignity alone either.

On China:

Right now, ‘Chinese’ is synonymous with Han. It shouldn’t be. The Han people make up a great part of China, but China is comprised of many different cultures. There needs to be more education about all these other cultures that we don’ hear about. Han culture is not the pinnacle of civilization and should not be treated as such. No culture is the pinnacle of civilization. Cultures only grow when they take the better things from other cultures and evolve.

Other general thoughts:

Ethnicity should not be a boundary. There needs to be more connections between different ethnic groups. There should be cultural exchange, respect, understanding, acceptance of differences.

China and Tibet (2)

I was twittering with a Tibetan liberation group on…yes, Twitter, asking them about the situation in Tibet in the past ten years and why they are so eager to be free of China. I know there are a lot of things wrong with the Chinese government, but if you are so opposed to something, there has to be a reason for it, right?

First tweet from them when they saw this post linked on my twitter.

@F_Le_Rulz China’s achievements:52 yrs of Brutality,52 yrs of  killing & continue,result 1.2 milliom Tibetans being Killed in occupied Tibet

And then the conversation took off:

@TIBETANS Can you tell me of the situation in the past ten years? Has anything changed since 1979 when China opened up?

@TIBETANS Also, what is the source for the statistics?

@F_Le_Rulz Tibet opened to bolster population transfer, big lost 4 Tibetans & means more China brutality http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php

@TIBETANS Can you be a little more specific? What sort of losses has Tibet suffered in the past ten years? What sort of brutalities?

@TIBETANS Also, are Tibetans treated differently than Han Chinese?

@F_Le_Rulz China is deeply afraid of Tibet & its people, fearful of the truth-Tibet is an independent Nation.”Facts”: http://t.co/OBuzMru

@TIBETANS You haven’t answered my question. What has Chinese govt done to the Tibetan people in the past decade?

@TIBETANS The article you linked me to did not talk about history before the twentieth century, which is central to China’s claim on Tibet.

(This is in reference to the Emperor Qianlong’s military campaigns in Tibet during the 18th century, when rebels were quashed by the Manchurian army and the Dalai Lama was re-instated but as a vassal of the Qing dynasty. Whenever Chinese talk about Tibet being part of China, they cite this event as proof that Tibet is part of China. The article in the tweet, which you can read for yourselves, only talks about Sino-Tibetan relations after 1911. I want the Tibetan take on Qianlong’s campaigns, but that is not addressed.)

@F_Le_Rulz As I said what we counting is not material development. In past China brought alot suffering result 1.2 milliom Killed in Tibet.

@F_Le_Rulz We’ll never thnx China unless China ends brutality & leaves from occupied Tibet,History with Tibetan,not with China, so pls leave

@TIBETANS Ur doing wht China’s doing; trying to stop ppl from xpressing their views. U hvn’t given me any specific evdnce. I’m not convinced

@F_Le_Rulz Yes Ppl can express their views in truth way but we not allowing propagate Chinese propaganda on Tibet,we’ll challenge those lies

@Peace0310 I’m asking questions. You haven’t given me real answers with real evidence. I want historical events, dates and credible sources.

(All of a sudden, a different account is answering me. I don’t think they want me asking questions on their official twitter feed. I can’t let them foil me, therefore…)

@TIBETANS I’m asking questions. You haven’t given me real answers with real evidence. I want historical events, dates and credible sources.

@TIBETANS Credible sources include Amnesty international reports, UN reports etc.

@F_Le_Rulz Appeal by Dalai Lama regarding situation in #Tibet. #China must stop this brutality, force is not solution!

@Peace0310 Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama is not a neutral party. Anything from the UN or Amnesty International?

@TIBETANS Wht wd Tibetans do if China became democ that respected human rights? What sort of govt wd Tibet hve if they gained independence?
@Peace0310 As for spreading Chinese propaganda, it might interest u to know that I don’t support the Beijing regime and want reform in China
@F_Le_Rulz His Holiness Dalai Lama of TIBET often says: Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. How could be Tibet is a part of China?
@TIBETANS Tibet was conquered militarily. If military conquests are not legitimate, then countries like the USA wouldn’t exist right now.
@TIBETANS If violations of human rights stopped in Tibet, would you still reject China?
@F_Le_Rulz Yes 6 million Tibetans will determine our owm future,if China became democracydemocracy.we have freedom of speech &access 2 media
@TIBETANS Believe me, I’m Chinese and I want what you do; freedom to determine our own future. We must push for reform for all of China.
@TIBETANS So would you say you wouldn’t mind being being labelled as being part of a greater Chinese state if there is democracy?
@F_Le_Rulz again “Independent Tibet:The Facts” – http://bit.ly/cql5ij Stop Chinese Propaganda & Distortions on TIBET. We’ll never accept CN.
@TIBETANS Well, let’s say you did get independence. What sort of govt would you have in Tibet?
@TIBETANS I don’t think asking questions is propaganda. You need to look up what that word means.
@TIBETANS Just because you say something is a ‘fact’ does not mean I’ll believe it based on your word alone.
At the time of publishing, the conversation is still going on. However, suffice to say that I haven’t gotten the information I want. All I really know is that the few representatives of the Tibetan liberation movement only seems to know that they hate China because China is China and that China should not have anything to do with Tibet. I’m still convinced there are very valid reasons as to why the antagonism has continued for so long, but it’s hard to say when you can’t get any information on what Tibet is like these days.
Are Tibetans being treated worse than Han Chinese?
How is their culture being ‘annihilated’?
How do Tibetans address the issue of Qianlong’s conquests?
If the CCP’s invasion of Tibet is considered illegal, then what are the implications for colonial countries like Australia, New Zealand, USA, and most of South America? Should New Zealanders of non-Maori descent move back to Europe and re-establish Maori sovereignty? Does that mean Israel is not legitimate? Does that mean Mexico’s official language should be Nahuatl instead of Spanish?

China and Tibet

I will go ahead and admit that as a Chinese girl, I’ve always thought of Tibet as being a part of modern China. For me, Tibet became part of China after the Manchurians, the then rulers of China, established their sovereignty over it in the 18th century.

What I am most interested in, however, is why Tibetans have so much antagonism towards Han Chinese. Many peoples have been conquered and incorporated into foreign kingdoms in the past. Many of those conquered peoples accepted foreign rule and didn’t really care as long as they could live their lives. A recent example is New Zealand, which was colonized by the British. The Maori now live in harmony with all the other racial groups, and the government seems to be predominantly caucasian. Another example is England, which was conquered by the Normans in 1066. The only people who did care and tried to revolt were the privileged minority. However, from what I can see in the media, it seems that all of Tibet has something against
the Chinese, from peasant to Lama. I want to know what the reasons are.

Would Tibetans still oppose Chinese rule if China became a real democracy? Would they still oppose Chinese rule if religious persecution stopped? Are they against the Chinese because of their policies or because of their race?

Also, another important question must be asked: What sort of government would be established if Tibet did gain independence? Who would be the head of state? And would this government be better than the Chinese?

China has many flaws; I will admit that. The Chinese government is an oligarchy and thinks it can rule as the emperors of old did. Chinese people are not well informed about other cultures and so come across as being disrespectful a lot of the time. However, it is extremely inaccurate to portray Tibet before Chinese rule as being some sort of utopia. It wasn’t. There were gross violations of human rights, all the same. Peasants suffered and were forced to work for the Lamas as serfs. If they disobeyed, they were mutilated and left to die of exposure. I’m not saying that it makes the persecution carried out by the Communist party okay. It isn’t. All I’m saying is that we should be realistic here. Tibet was not a perfect society before the Chinese came.

I would really like answers to my questions, especially from people who have a) been to Tibet or b) are Tibetan. If you’ve been to Tibet or lived in Tibet recently, as in the past decade or so, I would be really interested in your perspective and your experiences. All I want is a bit of clarification about the situation from real people, not governments and their PR machines.

About the Japanese Quake

I won’t start by introducing my topic. I’m sure we all know about the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 and the subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster. And I think we all know about all those fundraising efforts that are taking place right now.

But, but, BUT…

Are donations really reaching the people of Japan, or are we merely paying a government who doesn’t give a damn about their people or the environment? Reports say that when aid (in the form of food and clean drinking water) reaches Japan, the countries who donated the supplies also have to distribute the supplies themselves because the Japanese government doesn’t care enough to allocate human resources to the distribution of basic necessities amongst those affected by the disaster.

As for the nuclear crisis, they’re dumping the contaminated water that’s been leaking from the power plants into the ocean. I guess I won’t be eating seafood for the next sixty years until all the Caesium’s decayed.

Sure, I feel bad for the regular people of Japan, the ones who are truly suffering, but as for the Japanese government, I have no sympathy for them at all. Those politicians are sitting comfortable in their own homes whilst the survivors of the disaster are freezing and starving to death in a developed country.

Disasters often reveal the true nature of a nation. When the earthquake struck Christchurch on February 22, people from all over the nation rallied to help, driving their own cars down to deliver home baking and forming clean up armies to clear out liquefaction. The emergency services’ efforts must also be mentioned, because a lot of these people focused on saving the people trapped beneath collapsed buildings even though many of them were really worried about their loved ones in other parts of the city.

In Japan, people are left to their own devices. No help is given. Some went back to their homes within the area affected by radiation rather than stay in government operated shelters. Japan has often been touted as a very advanced and sophisticated country, and yet no help is reaching the people who need it.

I feel bad for all the people who are suffering. I want them to get the help they need. I will pray for them. However, I am not going to donate money as I don’t know where it’s going to go. I don’t want to feed an unworthy government.

The Issue of Comfort Women

Two days ago was International Women’s Day, and I came across a video on YouTube posted two years ago about comfort women. It reminds me of the fact that even though it’s been sixty six years since the end of the Second World War, there’s been no official apology for women who were forced to be sex slaves for the invading Japanese armies. There was a whole lot of furor about this a couple of years back, but it’s since then died down.

That’s what’s most disturbing. I think that it’s still there at the back of our consciousness, but no one is talking about it. No one is talking about Japan’s refusal to take responsibility and apologize for what was done sixty six years ago. As we all know, anti-semitism and holocaust denial brings in a lot of backlash, but what about denying this other holocaust that happened in the east, in China, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines and other places in South East Asia? What about those women in these countries that were forced to serve Japanese soldiers as sex slaves? They occasionally make the news, but it’s more like once every three years. Whenever the Chinese complain about this injustice, some people argue that we have no right to complain because the Communist regime killed a lot more Chinese than the Japanese did.

Although it’s true, it’s completely beside the point. Does the fact that someone else killed more people negate the fact that the Japanese murdered millions in cold blood and treated these women in an unspeakable manner? Of course it doesn’t.

I don’t want to hate Japan. Hate is such a tiring emotion. I don’t want to punish them either. I’ll leave the punishing to God (gods, whatever), and at any rate, most of the individuals who deserve punishment are already dead. However, these women deserve justice. The fact that they’re being denied an apology is an outrage and an insult towards women everywhere, because by doing so, the Japanese government is condoning rape as an appropriate weapon and activity in war, which is most definitely is not. I just want them to admit that what was done was wrong, and stop honouring their war criminals, which they still do. It’s like the equivalent of the German government honouring Hitler, which it does not do. Should this be tolerated? I can’t decide for you, but I certainly won’t stand for it.

As an individual, there is not much I can do except speak out, both with my words and with my wallet. I am boycotting Japanese goods, and I have been since 2005. I refuse to buy Japanese cars and I won’t watch Japanese shows. I would rather pay more for a European or American car than let my money help fund a government that refuses to admit that mass gang rapes are atrocities.

Video by koreanblog.

An update:

For those of you who are longtime readers of my blog, I guess you’d know that I’m one of those people who have to debate. I left a comment on the video under TelcontarRulz, and here’s the ensuing discussion:

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Needless to say, I am beyond disgusted by the attitude of this other person.

I honestly can’t think of a title for this post–at the moment, at any rate. Anyway, I was reading a fashion magazine as I drank my first cup of tea of the day this…errr…afternoon, and it got me thinking about what it means to be a woman in the modern world. This is probably just going to a slightly random feminist rant, so if this is not your thing then…well, I’m not forcing you to read on.

I turned twenty one last year, and people have started telling me about what I should expect ‘when I get married’ and all that stuff. It’s like it’s expected that I will get married. Bear in mind that I’m a girl who hasn’t even dated yet, and the last time I was interested in dating was when I was sixteen and having a crush on one of my classmates. Ah, yes, I was so young back then.

I remember there was a time when I was terrified I wouldn’t find a guy (excuse my unenlightened fourteen year old self). That coincided with a time when I wasn’t very confident about my own abilities and under the belief that the ideal life for a woman was one in the home. Stereotypes really influenced me back then.

However, I’ve changed. As I grew older, I read about strong women –successful women– who were happier single than married. I’m not saying that raising kids who can contribute to society is not a success in itself, but I’ve been thinking that perhaps this is not the type of success I want to have.

Not every woman is well-suited to being a mother. Some probably shouldn’t have had children because they clearly don’t like what being a mother entails. I’m not naming anyone here, but I’m just saying I have met women like that, and their kids suffer for it. It’s not about bossing people around, being a mother. It’s about learning about this person you’ve created, who might be fundamentally different from you and might even have opposing viewpoints, and learning to compromise with and love this person unconditionally. It’s about learning that you’re wrong about some things and totally right about others. It’s about sacrifice and being content with the consequences of having children.

When I think about my own mother, I think about how she gave up a career she loved and flourished in to become a housewife after moving thousands of miles away from her entire family just so that her kids and her husband might have better opportunities. I think about a woman who made herself learn maths (even though she didn’t like it at all at school) so that she could tutor her children and make maths class easier for them. I think about a woman who cooks everyday even though she hates cooking, and picks up after three messy people without complaining–much, anyway. I just don’t think I can do that. I can’t see myself giving up everything and dedicating myself to a man. I can’t see myself sacrificing so much for my –thankfully non-existent– kids.

But does that mean I’m not a proper woman? No. I simply want different things, and the modern world and its infrastructure allows a woman to do what she wants. Sure, a woman can’t have everything. I read in a magazine that the most successful women, career wise, are mostly divorced or never been married. You gotta choose, but does choosing my career make me any less of a woman?

I’ve reached the age when people always ask me whether I have a boyfriend or not, and when my grandmother starts nagging me about finding a boyfriend or else I’ll end up old and single and lonely, because older women have more difficulties finding husband and bla bla bla. I’ve actually been tempted to tell her that I prefer girls just to get her to stop (there isn’t anything wrong with girls liking girls; I just don’t happen to be one of those girls).  

Even a friend of mine, who is younger than me, told me that I am emotionally immature for not wanting to settle down with a mate. I am not fundamentally opposed to the idea of marrying, as long as I’ve found the right guy who’s worthy of such devotion. However, marrying for the sake of marrying? No thanks. I don’t need a man to complete me, and I’d rather be single and devoted to my career than trapped by a lukewarm marriage. Luckily, my other grandmother is busy nagging my older cousins, so I’m way too far down the line in terms of age for her to get to me in the next five years.

When it comes down to it, being a woman doesn’t mean that you are destined to settle down with a guy, marry him whether you like him or not, pop out a couple of kids and raise them. There should not be a definition for what being a proper woman means these days, and as far as I am concerned, there isn’t. As a woman, I can have a high powered career that can rival any man’s. I can choose to stay single and not raise a family, just like any man. I can choose to have a kid without man. I can dress in whatever I like however I like –short of indecent exposure, that is– and I can think and act in ways that are not considered to be proper for a traditional woman. However, as long as I feel like a woman, I am a proper woman. Feminity is not a limitation. It is a something that I was born with, and that I’m going to relish.