When Returning Home for Chinese New Year is Too Painful | Speaking of China

4 Responses

  1. Vee
    Vee February 6, 2018 at 7:41 am | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn,

    My partner and I were living together in Australia while I complete my PhD, but unfortunately he couldn’t find a suitable job during his 6 months here. He just recently returned to China, bowing to pressure from his parents to return, and he’s already dreading spending New Year’s with his family. I’m 31 and he’s 29 and they keep bugging him about getting married and having kids, even though we are not at a stage in our lives where we could financially support that (never mind my studies!). He told me his whole family is gathering this year, for the first time in 4 years, to “give him a hard time” about his current situation. It’s such a stressful time and so much unnecessary pressure is put onto him to succeed. He’s the only one in his family to have gained a PhD and moved outside of China, yet is still considered a disappointment in their eyes.

  2. Dan Yeh
    Dan Yeh February 8, 2018 at 7:10 am | | Reply

    After viewing this article, I decided to query the immigrant co-workers about this phony “show of success” after residing in a more prosperous area of the world. These co-workers were originally from Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and north Africa. As it turns out, it is a universal obligation to distribute gifts whenever one of them happen to return to their homeland after residing in America. Any failure to follow through with the gift distribution of course would result in a great “loss of face” and they would be much better off if they had not returned at all. The timing of the return to village for the Chinese New Year occasion just happen to further magnify the Chinese dilemma of “traditional obligation” all the more and winds up ruining what it was initially intended to be an otherwise joyous reunion.

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