An interesting observation from the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”

CRA_FPTB_0164r.0.jpgI saw the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” the other day. Bravo! It was so powerful to see an all-asian cast for the first time on the big screen. I applaud the movie– so fun, poignant and engaging! Plus, the soundtrack was just plain awesome.

At one point near the end of the movie, Eleanor Young, the mother and matriarch of the family, says something that struck me. She is from Singapore, and she is speaking to her son’s girlfriend Rachel, a Chinese woman who was born and raised in America. She says, “All Americans think about is their own happiness. It is an illusion.”

This moment demonstrates the huge difference between the two women’s cultures. Eleanor believes one must put family above all else– career, romance, etc. Happiness is not the top priority on that list. She does not believe the young Rachel will ever be able to make those sacrifices because she was born and raised in a culture that preaches happiness above all else.

What do you think? I am reminded of this quote by Hugh MacKay:

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
—Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life

I don’t know about you, but my darkest days taught me more than all my happiest days combines. And while I am tempted to say I am happy right now in life, perhaps I should really say I am feeling whole right now.

I’m curious, what is your take on this topic?

P.s. Photo from here

 

Ten Moments

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  1. I was crying on the train and the man sitting across from me handed me an entire packet of tissues to keep.
  2. A little Kurdish boy started at our school this week. He doesn’t speak a word of German, so he and I colored together all class long. He is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, with long eyelashes and dark hair that sticks up in the back.
  3. I taught a lesson about California, and at the end asked the kids to break up into groups to prepare a typical news broadcast. It was so fun to see them stand in front of everyone and talk about the weather, sports and breaking news in California. One boy even said, “Grab your snowboots everyone, it’s going to be minus fourty degrees in Los Angeles”(!)
  4. Today is the school festival, where prospective students and their parents come to check out the school. I will do facepaint. Fingerscrossed that I don’t make anyone look too weird.
  5. I visited a friend and her thirteen year old daughter the other night. We sang songs on the piano and ate sugar cookies. The daughter turned to me before I left and said, “I like you, Micah.” It was sweeter than the cookies.
  6. I found Cup o’ Noodles at the supermarket. I’m never going back to regular cooking again, nutrients be damned!
  7. I visited a student Christian group at the nearby university last night. Everyone was so welcoming, and when one girl discovered I’d been to Texas she freaked out, because she lived there for a year. I do what I can.
  8. In my English conversation club, we wrote Valentines day cards. One boy wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I love Trump as much as I love you…I don’t.” Haha!
  9. My little brother makes me proud. I read his university essay recently and it is so good!
  10. I went to Mainz for Fasching (a German holiday like Halloween), and they throw candy from floats. Someone threw candy and it hit me in the nose SO hard that I burst into tears. It’s still bruised. At least I experienced the culture in all it’s glory, for better or worse, and have a story to tell!

P.s. Photo from here