I 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
“I wonder how many people would have fallen in love if they had only spoken to each other. Strangers sitting next to each other on an airplane at night, watching the world grow smaller beneath them. Or in a tiny bookstore filled with old stories, their pages yellowed and dusty with age. Or sitting next to each other at a concert, both wanting to linger in the same note of a song that they think contains a universe. How many strangers have shared lovely, beautiful moments together? How many people would have found the love of their life if they had decided to say something?”
P.s. Photo I took in Heidelberg last night 🙂
“A good soup attracts chairs.” -African proverb
“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.” -Plautus
Johnny Cash, when asked about his description of paradise: “This morning, with her, having coffee.”
“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.” -J.D. Salinger
“It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” -The Catcher in the Rye
“RETURNING TO LIFE AFTER BEING DEAD – When I am feeling dreary, annoyed and generally unimpressed by life, I imagine what it would be like to come back to this world for just a day after having been dead. I imagine how sentimental I would feel about the very things I once found stupid, hateful or mundane. Oh, there’s a light switch! I haven’t seen a light switch in so long! I didn’t realize how much I missed light switches! Oh! Oh! And look – the stairs up to our front porch are still completely cracked! Hello cracks! Let me get a good look at you. And there’s my neighbor, standing there, fantastically alive, just the same, still punctuating her sentences with you know what I’m saying? Why did that bother me? It’s so… endearing.” -Amy Krouse Rosenthal
P.s. Photo by Sofie Sund