The New and the Old

Ever since I’ve returned from Europe, I have been confronted with liberal vs. traditional view points of life. I’m confronted on two fronts: culturally and religiously. Yesterday, I made my mom cry. Yes, I felt like a terrible person. What happened was that I told her that I found it difficult to be living with her again, even though I had only been back for a few days. For over five years, I haven’t spent more than a couple months living in the same place as a my mom and to be honest, relish in the freedom of living on my own. Traditionally, Chinese families live together; you have the grandparents, parents and children living together, regardless of the latter group’s age. This clashes with what we’ll call Western practice where the child goes out and lives on their own around the time they become 18; of course, the recession has seen a decline in this practice at the moment, but the sentiment is still there. Due to my family’s circumstances, I understand why my mother reacted as such but how do I find the balance between my love and loyalty to taking care of my mom and pursuing my life outside of her confines, as well intentioned as they are? Most likely, I will be living elsewhere and potentially not even in the same city as my mother due to professional pursuits.

The other side is the question of where I stand in terms Christianity I suppose. I’ve always counted myself to be a more liberal and open than some others I know and met. No, it doesn’t make me any better than anyone else nor does it mean that I believe in God and Jesus any less (yeah, they’re one in the same for the sticklers who are reading this ;]). But I understand where people may get the idea that religion, not just Christianity, is seen to be intolerant, elitist and unaccepting. I said a couple things that don’t necessarily jive with the traditional religious view point my mother holds and her reaction was distasteful and to some extent, even hurtful. Perhaps it’s because I’ve traveled more, met many other different people or just think the world should be generally more tolerant of one another. I have gay friends, friends of every colour and (non)religious belief, mates from all over the world and I love them all to bits. I fear that by clinging to one’s traditions so tightly and not being able to hold on to those traditions without taking into consideration the changing societal context may breed intolerance and isolate different groups from one another.

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One thought on “The New and the Old

  1. What you said about societal context is a definite truth. In the same way that your mom is going to need to accept the compromise of her own ideals, be sure to do just the same when you have kids of your own.

    I was slapped by the same problem a few years back… just thought I’d share the relevant excerpt.

    “There is no real doctrine on how to be the perfect son. I know that at times, the ideals of the world have conflicted with the ideals which she clung to, leaving me with no choice but to go astray, at least in her eyes. Did I miss something? Was there an option that I overlooked that would have maintained my ties to both the world, and her ideals, or was I right in the decisions I’ve made? If only matters like these were that simple.”

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