Dear Lulu Jeh: I come from a fairly traditional Chinese family. While my parents allow a large degree of freedom when it comes to my studies and career, it’s still expected of me to be a filial and obedient daughter.
I recently introduced my boyfriend to my parents, and immediately they said he is not “good enough” for me, because he comes from a poorer family and does not have a bachelor’s degree. What do I do? — Confused Daughter
Well, CD, for those of us that have grown up watching Hong Kong television series, I think we are pretty familiar with the parents-trying-to-stop-their-daughter-seeing-her-boyfriend plot, and we all know that DOES NOT work. What’s worse is it almost always pushes the daughter into the arms of the guy.
Yes, they have a really outdated perspective and their tactics will likely backfire, but try and see where they’re coming from. I mean, this is Hong Kong for heaven’s sakes, and we all know how ridiculously expensive a flat is, let alone groceries, primary schools, tutors….
Your parents are not terrible people — they think you’re a rock star and want the best for you. In their eyes, the best means that you’ll be able to buy you a nice home and enjoy a comfortable future. You may never win their approval, but you can advocate for your boyfriend’s redeeming qualities and prove that you can support yourself as an independent woman first, and a future wife second. Even if it’s not quite the lavish lifestyle they imagined for you.
P.S. And if that fails? Be sure to get your boyfriend to send your family gifts on big holidays like Chinese New Year. That should sweeten them up. – Lulu
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