2010/03 – Ching Chong Chinaman

Fan asked me to read it two or three times, so just over a week ago I checked out "The Joy Luck Club" from the library.  I read about fifty pages on the bus ride back to Provo that weekend.  I cried over some tragedy, and immediately liked the book.  I felt like a very deeply buried, long-neglected attachment had been renewed… and in a way, I yearned for China.  I realized for the first time that, thanks to the Chinese ward in Salt Lake, Heidi, and others, I’ve been nearly as immersed in Asian American (or Asian Canadian…) culture as I have in Asian culture (while previously I had counted "Asian American" as an aberration of "Asian", and considered those born here but cut off from their cultural identity as deviants or failures [and, as far as language goes, I still do]).  Today I read another hundred pages of the book, liking a few parts and disliking others.

So far, the book has mentioned three extra-racial marriages: one of the moms’, that same mom’s daughter’s (so, she was half-white), and… the main mom’s daughter’s.  The first seemed to go well (that is, to stay intact), but was tarnished by the culturally bloated husband’s lazy stupidity toward his own wife’s language and views.  The second appears to have ended in divorce because of insufficient preparation, and the third looks like it may also fail.

I can see how Fan may have felt re-confirmed in her opposition toward marrying a non-Chinese, by this book… but in truth, none of the problems in these book marriages ultimately stemmed from racial reasons, but from the same self-orientation and mental unhealth that consistently manifests itself in the intra-racial divorces in this country.

Maybe two nights ago, clouded by fatigue, I brainlessly tried to force a conversation on Fan about our chances for a relationship.  Her decided reaction was negative, and in return, I informed her that we would have to sever our acquaintanceship — partly because of the offense, but mostly so that I wouldn’t start liking her any more than I had.  She protested my decision, lobbying instead for a permanent and primarily long-distance (but travel-accommodating) friendship.  I refused till, thinking that I heard the slightest quaver in her voice, I felt regretful about needlessly wounding her and abandoned my idea, offering full fellowship again.  She had also provided me a somewhat softer explanation of her rejection than the mere racism of before, citing a number of practical and familial barriers…

I probably should be glad she didn’t like me, and only concerned about why I thought I liked her.  I can’t say it would be a bad marriage, despite her reasons, because I don’t think it’s likely at all that I’ll have a bad marriage, no matter the circumstances… except maybe for well-disguised but severe mental illness on the wife’s part — and I think I would surely notice that before I married a person.  So, I think we could be happy together.

But it’s surely not "ideal".

She’s not a Church member, but I have less and less care for girls’ atheism these days.  Their disbelief is usually so flimsy and based on such obvious illogic that I’m confident that it would soon crumble if we were to spend any amount of time together.  And if it didn’t… that would naturally force us apart anyway.

Well, Tugsuu’s didn’t crumble… because of pure stubbornness…  I guess it would be naive to expect logic to dominate that gender.

I’ll surely meet many more sub-ideal people whom I’ll confusedly decide to "like", and whom, with good fortune, I’ll be prevented from getting tied down to.

I’ve thought of Tugsuu many times this semester.  We don’t talk…  I answered an e-mail of hers maybe… half a year ago… that itself was probably a response to a birthday message I’d sent.  She didn’t write back again, although I got a forwarded thing from her some months later.

I found old Jade Kim… Kim Mi-ok, if I recall… on Facebook a week or so ago, and we traded some messages.  One of hers was really long and narrative and made me think maybe she was willing to talk… but two messages later, she was extremely clipped, and I understood it as another Korean girl’s sudden disinterest, so I was hasty with a reply before blocking her.  Now she’s sent something to my e-mail box that I’m afraid to open.  If it were me, sending something because I’d just been written off on Facebook, it wouldn’t be a cheery note…  I’ll let it stew there a bit.

I also saw Vivian Smith on Facebook, the daughter of Anne-Marie (who has surpassed this world).  Secretly I have always admired Vivian, but she’s two or three years older than I am (like Tugsuu), and besides, she’s white and Utahn.  Of course, the overarching "but" is that she has no eyes for me.  Anyway, I messaged her "hello" on Facebook, and she said something about how her family and she were doing, and then I found myself sad about Anne-Marie and sent a somewhat emotional paragraph, which she answered…  I was also too afraid to read her answer, in case I’d overspoken…  That was a few days ago… Maybe this week I’ll look at it.

-Steve

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One Response to 2010/03 – Ching Chong Chinaman

  1. Steve says:

    Munkhgerel finished her busyness and decided to talk to me again. Stetson has kept in touch with her (I started introducing him to my contacts some weeks ago). Also, young Hannah from Hong Kong came online this morning and offered a refreshing chat…

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