Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 08:04:33 +0800
Subject: a little story to share
First of all, I am proud to say that Barbara and I share the same alma mater in Hong Kong. However, she is my senior. I was a teenager when Barbara passed away. I was deeply upset by her sudden death and even more upset at some of the media speculations as to her background and circumstances of her death.
Rob, reading your stories brings back memories. I remember how I had to date my first boyfriend in secret. Although he was Chinese, he could not speak a word of Chinese being British born. My family was downright strict and uncompromising. If I were ever caught, there will be dire consequences. Once a male classmate called me and the whole family was in uproar, all two generations of it. Without going into details, life was not easy. The lower level achievers were constantly compared with the high achievers and made to feel awful. If any girls in the family dated before they had graduated from University, they were deemed as cheap and worthless.
By a stroke of fate, I lost contact with my first boyfriend. He will always have a special tiny space in my heart. By the way, we recently got back in touch on one of the social media sites. I guess most people will always have a special place in their hearts for their first boyfriend/girlfriend. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we managed to keep in contact. Would we be happily married by now? We led very different lives then. He, like you, was the social one. I, due to family pressure, was the introvert one in those days.
I finally met and married someone else. It seemed the thing to do and the family was quite happy to see me get married and have children. Even before the wedding and during the ceremony, I had my doubts. Call me a coward but I could not let everyone down and back down. After marriage, I focused on my career and totally neglected a doting husband. I was a high flyer and travelled a lot on the job. When not travelling, I was either working or partying with my friends. The best thing that came out of that marriage were my children. Till today, I am still thankful to my ex husband for the lovely children we had.
As I found fulfillment in my career, my marriage crumbled and my then husband had an affair. After some arguments, we decided to split amicably for the sake of the children. Till today, we are still very cordial to each other.
After the divorce, I decided to move back to Hong Kong to work. There, due to my "westernised" approach, I had more western friends than Chinese. Chinese tend to keep to their own group, even at work. It is hard to penetrate to their group/cliques if you are not locally born and bred.
I started dating a western man. It was not something I was used to as I was still a bit self con-scious. It was one thing hanging out with them as friends. It was another dating one. I felt self conscious. However, my then boyfriend had such a great sense of humour that all self consciousness faded away. I knew he was the one.
Naturally, the family was not pleased with this but they were not going to break us up. Over time, despite the cultural and language differences, they accepted my boyfriend. In the end, we did get married and started a family of lour own. We have our little fights over cultural expectations and differences. My parents have relented with more grandchildren to distract them. They have also learned to accept him as their new son-in-law. They adore their Eurasian grandchildren as much as their pure Chinese ones.
I must say I am very fortunate in that Hong Kong has become much more open to mix-cultural relationships and even same sex relationships. There are more of it than ever and this helps. Of course, there is always the case of things being a bit more open in Hong Kong Island than Kowloon etc.
Rob, in case you do not already know, amongst a certain group of expats in Hong Kong, there is this geographical divide. Hong Kong Island residents are more affluent than the Kowloon residents and Kowloon residents are more affluent than those in the New Territories.