Five years ago Kellie Schmitt wrote, “Love & Other Catastrophes: Conquering China’s young-love taboo“, and she blew up the Western stereotype of the Chinese.
In fact, at the time Schmitt was a Shanghai-based writer whose work had appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist’s Business China, Marie Claire, World Hum, Afar Magazine, and Backpacker. I haven’t read all of her work, but this piece was worth sharing.
If you want to learn about China, you would have to travel to China often or live there as an expatriate as Schmitt did. Marrying into a Chinese family like I did also works.
While living in China, Schmitt moonlighted as a restaurant reviewer for City Weekend Shanghai. She went falcon hunting in Yunnan, drank fermented mare’s milk in a Mongolian yurt, and attended a mail-order bride’s wedding and donned qipaos with Shanghai’s senior citizens.
Another example of being young in urban China. The world this generation knows is not the world their parents grew up in.
Instead of playing it safe and staying primarily in modern China around other foreigners and expatriates as many do, Schmitt “tasted” what being Chinese really means, and she wrote often of China from Shanghai’s lesbian sub-culture to debates held at the 15th century Sera Monastery by Lhasa monks.
As for young love, Kellie Schmitt writes, “In Shanghai, teachers and parents widely prohibit dating in high school, urging students to study instead.”
But for Enid and Michael—the Chinese couple Schmitt writes about—their love was “worth a little sneaking around” when they were sixteen.
When they turned 22, they were still together and got married. When Schmitt wrote the post for CNN Go Asia, Enid and Michael were 26. Today, they would be in their thirties. As in all marriages, Enid and Michael have had challenges but it appears that love kept them together. I recommend Schmitt’s story to learn more about how China is changing.
Kellie Schmitt now lives in California’s Central Valley.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.