Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting Harder These Days to Hold My Head High as an American....

Pound for pound, I think America is the best place in the world to live.  And while I have found a more personally satisfying life overseas in China, I still believe that American ideals and practicality afford the best opportunities for success and fulfillment when properly understood and applied.  My decision to live outside of American has nothing to do with American philosophies of government, laws, and citizen responsibility.

I am very proud of America's abundant freedoms, particularly the freedom of speech.  Yet I am increasingly embarrassed by my arrogant and often ignorant countrymen and women who brandish this freedom as an excuse and in fact a reason to carry out actions that are in essence utterly selfish.  Being in a country such as China has made me more aware of the importance of social responsibility and courtesy, which it seems that Americans are too quick to ignore.  Yes the Constitution guarantees virtually unlimited freedom in a lawful context but this does not give the freedom-bearer license to exercise these freedoms in aggressive ways intending to intimidate and antagonize others in the society.  I find a massive body of Americans are looking for every opportunity to get in someone's face and bellow "I'm free, dammit, I can do whatever I want!  Whatcha gonna do bitch?  Just try, JUST TRY to take my freedoms away, see what happens!"  What purpose does this flagrance serve?

Many Americans cling to their freedoms and the right to defend them as a statement of machismo in a country where "true" machismo is suppressed by law, i.e., men being the sole owners of their property and not having to pay taxes on it to the government, duels, wars fought on home soil, etc.  How are you going to prove you are a man?  Why, carry guns to town hall meetings.  Or come armed with incendiary placards and bumper sticker slogans and hurl them red-faced at the local congressman whom you have no intention of listening to, no matter what he says.  Arrogant, selfish Americans applaud their friends and neighbors who go to town hall meetings with the intention to disrupt rather than converse.  "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!"  Yeah well that's nice, so where does that get us?  Do blind statements of outrage help the situation at all?  The Boston Tea Party was a one-night-only show, and this is hardly equivalent to King George's taxation sledgehammer.  New predicaments call for new tactics.  This juvenile one-upmanship of who can have the rowdiest town hall meeting is patently useless as far as pushing the people's agenda into the spotlight.

It's fine to be angry- anger is a powerful motivator.  But the opposition to America's government has become a barrel full of monkeys.  Damn fools exercising their inalienable rights in a way that helps no one but makes them feel better as they thump their chest and demand to be heard.  Have something to say first, prissy self-indulgent bitch.  High decibel vocal cords and your cherry-red mug don't do anyone any good.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In Defense of The Old Foreign Dudes with the Hot Young Asian Girls - Cut 'Em Some Slack...

Disclaimer: just for the record, I am not an old white guy with a hot young Chinese girl on my arm.  I am, however, a young white guy with a hot young Chinese wife on my arm, but I am certainly not rich and we are making our home in China, so she is not a golddigger or after my passport.  She loves me for who I am and I love her for who she is.  And in fact, she's one a half years older than I am (though she still has the body of a teenager- cha-ching).  I just want to take a moment to offer my perspective on a tired but never-ending topic.  I hope I don't offend or come across as culturally insensitive.  If you really have an issue with what I say, please leave me a comment and I'd be happy to clarify and/or correct my opinion.

Go to any Asian metropolis and you'll see them: middle-aged or decidedly old foreign guys, usually white, not particularly attractive, and actually often the opposite, looking very proud of himself as he walks arm in arm with a beautiful perky twenty-something Asian girl wearing the latest fashions and looking proud of herself as well.  These couples receive a fair share of condescending glances from foreigners and locals alike, and can usually be translated as follows:

Younger Foreign Guys: she's too hot for him, she should be with someone closer to her own age, like me.
Older Foreign Guys: Damn, I'm gonna have to get me one of those or Damn, she's prettier than mine.  Lucky bastard.
Younger Foreign Women: Ew, gross.
Older Foreign Women: Enjoy your sugar daddy while you've got him sweetie, cause as soon as you get your first wrinkle, he'll move on and leave you high and dry.
Local Men: 1. If she's pretty but not drop-dead gorgeous: She's not beautiful, why do the foreigners always choose the ugly girls? 2. If she is drop-dead gorgeous: She's just a KTV girl.
Local Women: This girl has no shame.

It's easy to hate on the old white guy/young Asian girl couple.  He's a pedophilic refugee from his home country who came to China for the easy buck and easy bang, and he seduces a naive kitten with promises of travel and luxurious hotels and restaurants just to get her into bed to satisfy his cravings for young flesh.  She's either an empty-headed girl with ridiculous fantasies about getting swept off her feet by Prince Charming and she throws herself into the arms and bed of anyone who can sweet-talk her into believing that the exotic notions she's concocted about the West are actually true or she's a desperate shameless girl who will do anyting for the promise of designer bags and a chance to live abroad.  While these notions are sometimes (maybe often) true, I think these couples get an unfair beating in society's gossip circles.

In browsing expat discussions forums, this topic frequently rears its flame-throwing head and the responses are usually very similar.  The older dudes get bashed for being losers who were unable to find true love back home so they come to Asia to plow more fertile and willing soil.  But I think that's an unfair accusation.  Okay, say Joe Schmoe has been unlucky in love back home.  He comes to Asia and finds that girls half his age are willing to be his romantic partner in exchange for security and the promise of a better life, which he is easily able to provide.  Why shouldn't he accept?  She is able to give him what he is looking for: affection, companionship, energetic sex, a helper in and out of the house.  Is he wrong for wanting these things?  These are instinctive male desires, so why should he abstain just to maintain a more moral (i.e., does not alienate his Western counterparts) social position?  If someone moves to Farmland USA and builds a beautiful mansion because the land is cheaper, do we scorn him for not striving for the unaffordable penthouse in Manhattan?  Maybe some guys can't get a quality girl back home, but I think every man who is willing to wholeheartedly love someone deserves a woman who loves him back, regardless of nationality or ethnicity.  And if it's easier for him to find such a girl in Asia, then so be it.

But now many people will counter: they don't really love each other.  He just wants a girl to make him feel young again, she wants someone to take care of her.  Okay, maybe that's not love.  But not everyone has the same needs in life.  Of course everyone is looking for their soulmate, but he or she doesn't have to come from the same culture in order for their souls to connect in an emotional and spiritual plane.  I can testify that there is a different bond between two intercultual lovers but it can still be just as strong as one between people from the same culture.  And generally, Chinese girls have the mindset that they love someone who is faithful, honest, and a good provider for them.  This is why they are so attached to their parents.  Is this love?  Of course.  Maybe not in the traditional Western perspective but there is still a powerful attraction that can go much deeper than just satisfaction of basic biological and psychological needs.  Some couples don't bother with the deeper layers, because they get what they want from the other person and that's that.  But there are many couples who truly have a love connection, one that perhaps people who aren't in intercultural relationships can't quite understand, but I assure you it's genuine.

So that's my long-winded two cents.  Yeah I still get a creepy vibe when I see Little Miss Doe Eyes hand in hand with Mr. Magoo, but it's not our place to be hostile or crass.  Could she do better?  Of course.  Is he just a horny bastard with lots of money?  Perhaps.    But he's not a child molester and she's not a sex crime victim.  They both know what they're doing, and they both have their reasons.  I just know one thing: nobody likes being alone.