Marnova – of and from a wandering mind…

Marnova's musings on life, media and Mongolia

Notions of romance

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The last day of Chinese New Year is Chinese Valentine’s Day. Drop a mandarin orange with your contact details scribed on it, into a lake and some other lonely soul will fish it out and contact you for a date.

I can imagine the hopes and dreams that someone might fling into the lake together with their orange, especially in the reserved Chinese culture where people don’t really “talk” – they chit chat but don’t really engage or get beyond that first layer as if that would be rude.  Traits of stoicism and control are admired.  How have Chinese couples even managed up until now? Let alone become the most populous nation.  How have they survived for so many centuries, placing their hopes on an orange floating away into the distance? 

Maybe that’s why the Chinese have their legendary epic tales of love replayed on many a cinema screen – they need to be able to dream that it exists.  Or maybe that’s why they are so good at making business – because they rule with their heads and not their hearts;  to show emotion is a weakness, you show too much of yourself to your opponent.  And too right, marriage was only ever intended to be for status – to build  bridges between families and dynasties.  When on earth did love come into the equation?  That is nature’s some-might-say-wonderful-some-might-say-cruel curveball.  Somewhat incompatible with our social conventions.  It must be a rare chance to find a situation where nature and manmade society can meet and walk a path together hand-in-hand.  And yet, we seem to think that it is our right for that to happen and  that it can happen time and time again – attainable for each and every one of us. 

Anyway, what’s good for our families isn’t necessarily good for our souls.  Someone I recently met had to abandon his life when he came of age and inherited the family empire.  He was philosophical and said he likes all that he has.  And he does have a world at his disposal.  And yet, when we spoke I came to understand that there is nowhere he really loves, nothing he really loves doing.  Nothing he loves about his life.  But love is one of those rogue emotions he shouldn’t show anyway.  He thinks of his youth and can’t place his finger on what it is he has lost, but he knows he misses it.  He was handed the world on a plate and is playing the role of playboy millionaire businessman in an exemplary fashion.  He knows that he should appreciate it but the reality is he is uneasy and lonely.

I wonder if next year, I should send him down to a lake with a mandarin orange in hand.

Where the sky meets the Earth

Where the sky meets the Earth

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Written by marnova

February 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

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