Diary of a Chinese Woman

Diary of a Chinese Woman

Diary 1 Date: 20th July 1814

In this year, I am a teenage girl aged fourteen. I have always had an interest in learning, especially literature. Since I was five years old, my admiration of books stacked in the home library has increased with years. By the age of seven, I knew more than a thousand Chinese characters. Today, the previous lessons on poems and Chinese proses have been of great help on learning and broadening my knowledge base. My life goals are to be granted permission by my father and to continue my education. I do not support the current Chinese traditions that dictate a woman’s duties as a domestic helper and raising children. The rejection of my father’s bid to go back to school is influenced by a Chinese cultural wisdom stating that ignorance is women’s virtue.

For many years, I have been learning the history of China and the country’s culture that depict women as weak and undeserving. The fact that China is now a republic that agitates for democracy does not mean that the nation does not hold chauvinistic ideas. At this time and age, I know that my after cannot understand or help me in getting education. I know my quest for information will not satisfy my thirst for learning history and the truth of life. At the age of fourteen, I completely understand the importance and potential of an education in changing the world. I have heard stories of how other cultures in the western world are allowing for democracy and education of the girl child. Truly, my desire to make a difference in this world in the future is not over.

Diary 2 Date: 20th May 1818

In this very day, I want to make a decision that will end my singlehood. However, my marriage tomorrow has brought sadness in my life. As a norm in the Chinese culture, my parents made the ultimate decision about who I am to marry. Surprisingly, they have already chosen a man I am supposed to become my husband tomorrow. Naturally, parents want a daughter to marry a wealthy man. In my cases, marrying Mr. Lan is appealing because he comes from a rich and prosperous family. Interestingly, the traditions allow for polygamy, and a man is free to marry many wives. Personally, I would have preferred to marry Yong, who we had a long-term relationship for many years. Yong is the man who makes me happy.

My relationship with Yong has been full of memorable moments. I remember being friends with Yong since our childhood. Yong’s actions imply a sense of great love and that which is honest. Unfortunately, the Chinese culture does not give considerations to a woman’s thoughts and wish in matters of marriage. Interestingly, parents are inclined to marry off their daughters to men who come from a wealthy family. The Chinese culture on marriage implies that wealth is a significant element. In any case, a woman who marries a wealthy man is lucky. My thoughts on such cultural practices are that the ideology does not give women the right to choose. The society is feudalistic and demeans women without any consideration of their emotions and psychological needs. The manner in which the Chinese culture perceives marriage is similar to a trade where one monetary worth determines what one can buy. In these cases, I feel the society has violated my human rights and liberties as well as deprived happiness and freedom. I am not happy at the moment.

Diary 3 Date: 20th May 1839

Today is the one-year anniversary of my husband Lan, who died as a result of cancer of the liver last year. We were married for twenty years, and there was no affection. Lan was an ardent traditional Chinese man who adored culture. He married ten wives and additional concubines as expected of a polygamous man. In such a scenario, one feels ignored, unloved, and gets no joy. Therefore, Lan’s death started my freedom to choose as well as be happy. My decision was to reconnect with Mr. Yong, my past lover. Yong is pleasant and knows how to love and treat a woman.

The society still holds my choice to remarry with contempt. It does not approve a woman’s decision to be happy. For example, I experience segregation and alienation from my neighbors and friends. The old generation views my action as a taboo, while the youth is still confused about making decisions without following traditions. The Chinese perspective on morality is skewed and does not offer show equality or a sense of equity between men and women. In this day, the Republic of China does not recognize such traditional views on marriage and morality. The modern country allows a woman to pursue true love and choose a husband. However, the dominant ideology about marriage and women is still upheld by old and young generations. For example, family and friends have refused to bless and accept my new marriage to Yong. People still think that I am obligated to uphold the traditional marriage to Lang even after his death. Nonetheless, I do not regret my decision and will hold to true love, enjoy freedom, and happiness as a woman with rights. At least, I can now enjoy my freedom with a man who knows how to treat a woman with dignity.

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