Recently, I read an article about how Hong Kong women would rather die alone than date Hong Kong men. The article can be summarised as follows: Many women who are educated and have careers and want a man who’s financially independent, earning from HK$80,000 to HK$100,000 a month; on the other hand, such men often look for women who willing to stay at home and look after children. Both sides are unwilling to budge.
Hong Kong men’s long list of shortcomings
In the article, men are berated as “unrealistic” for asking women to “sacrifice” their freedom. They are also criticised for not being “gentlemen-like.” One woman describes a gentlemen as one who picks up a girl, opens the door for her, picks up the bill, and sends her home. Another woman said that Hong Kong men are incapable of genuine communication, have low standards for themselves, fear commitment, and lack self-confidence.
Many women long for independence and freedom
I think a problem is that many women don’t want to settle for less and their expections of men often clashes with that of men. Many Hong Kong women are independent and career driven. But is looking after children a “sacrifice”? I believe the real issue is value judgment. Nowadays, many want to develop their own careers for their own satisfaction whereas in our parents’ generation, family comes first.
A self-centred society where people only think of themselves
I believe that children are the most important thing in the world. More important than money. More important than power. Everything one achieves – they are meant to be given to children. Whether it is what you have, or legacy to be remembered for, they are for our next generations. But others might believe that achievements are personal endeavours for themselves. Their career is theirs. Their money is theirs.
Success is having a choice rather than achieving for yourself
I believe that children are our success. If I become a father, I really won’t mind being a stay-at-home dad and work part-time from home if I have the resources to do so. If children are so important, why entrust domestic helpers to raise our babies? I believe that success isn’t how much you earn so you can hire a stranger to take care of your own kin in your own home. Success is having a choice, and the ability to be there for those you love.
Being a mother is more than just a “sacrifice” but something more
Before we think about “sacrifice”, we should think about what’s most important in life. If it is ourselves before children, then so be it. That’s a choice we can make. But if it is to raise a happy family, then taking care of children shouldn’t be considered a “sacrifice.” In fact, I believe that being able to raise your own child to be the most precious moments in life. Being a part of a child’s life cannot be looked at as “sacrifice.”
A mother’s love is the most powerful force in the world
In fact, a bond between mother and child is the most important relationship there is in humanity. I’m jealous of mothers. The way my mother loves me, I will never be able to truly understand because I’ll never be a mother. I believe a mother’s love for her child is the most powerful force in this world. Surely, I don’t think raising your own child is just a “sacrifice.” It is a privilege. I think this is where the conflict lies.
You cannot have your cake and eat it too
Finally, are men unreasonable for looking for women to take care of children? In Chinese culture, men are expected to provide and women expected to be caretakers. The question is – if women desire a man to fulfill his traditional gender role, will she also fulfill hers? You cannot have your own cake and eat it. Likewise, a man who desires a housewife cannot expect to turn a career oriented woman into one. Both men and women should be realistic in their expectations.
I am not sure whether Hong Kong men are not “gentlemen-like.” But I do know that it takes time to raise a gentleman. Men need to be taught to act like a gentleman. And if you do meet one, he probably expects you to be a lady too. Otherwise, you need to be patient to let him know your expectations and see if he is able to meet them. You also need to find out his expectations of you as well. It’s a two way process. This is what’s often missing in our society.