Wealth cannot replace romanticism

November 18, 2021 | 07:07 pm PT
Jesse Peterson Teacher
When a motorbike taxi driver asked me if I was married and I replied "no", his face showed disappointment.

He thinks I'm making the biggest mistake of my life. But I don't feel bothered, on the contrary, I find the taxi driver's words interesting. I am curious about the way people think and how they often advise others to live like they do.

If we stood on the moon and looked down the houses are just like tiny ants and the goal of marriage becomes a very small thing in the great vast civilization.

Everyone has a different lifestyle. Some people choose the path of self-cultivation; living in a temple and meditating. Some artists choose to devote themselves to honest artistic creation even though they never know when their efforts will be successful but they take risks for the sake of passion. Many of the artists I know create better when they're single and chasing unrequited love, the muse.

I am a writer and I work to improve my satirical writing skill. This job does not help me to earn a lot of money to become rich, especially in Vietnam. I live alone (except for the ghosts) but I find a way to create joy through my hobbies, making friends, and setting goals to aim for in life.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against marriage. Theory of mind holds that we are all very different and do not necessarily live according to one model, one particular style that society wants. But everyone being single also isn't great for the country and the community either. This trend makes for lowered overall family values and a lack of labor resources. In "Tribe," author Sebastian Junger explains why the family is the heart of society. And recently in the West, we can see that weaker communities lead to increased crime. It’s not my intent to encourage people to stay single, nor do I intend to do so myself.

Last week was Singles Day, and I saw a lot of people mentioning the word "ế" with many purposes and nuances.

Western languages do not have a word that can be translated for the word "ế" because it is an ugly concept, with connotations of disparaging and bullying the person assigned to this word. I consider it anti-romantic and degrading the meaning of love. Because of this word, single people want to get married just because they feel pressured by "ế" in the eyes of society, not because they found a suitable person. This is unfortunate. "" means ‘the leftover’, those that couldn’t find a mate in time and suffer perpetually left on the shelf.

I did see that on Nov. 11, the Singles Day; people didn't celebrate the beauty of true love but rather it was turned into a day mainly for sales and discounts. There are many ads that read as if a single person is desperate to buy more brands, clothes, spend more and you will find life less lonely and empty. I wonder, will there be people who fill their hearts with food or wine, or consumer products?

Singles Day is also good from the perspective of having an extra opportunity to stimulate the economy. But in my opinion, this day would be silly if it was only used to advertise and sell products, encouraging people to go around spending money to feel emotionally satisfied.

Singles Day should be an opportunity for us to talk about the positive side of love and marriage. If the government wants young citizens to actively marry and have children, this is very good for the country in the future. Many places can take advantage of Singles Day to organize community events to help single people find the love of their lives and get married. I really miss the days when my small town in Canada organized dances and activities so that young people could meet and get to know each other outside the Internet.

Companies can still use this day as marketing, but let's not turn it into a protest against the concept to fight the status of being "ế". We should remove this concept from our personal dictionaries, not use it to shame or force people into relationships with people who are not meant for them. Although the world has changed, more people are richer, social media is more dominant, wealth cannot replace romanticism.

I believe that love is the most powerful human feeling. It gives us the strength to make us want to work, fight for what is right, and contribute more to society. From a scientific perspective, the hormone oxytocin is produced by the love that binds the mother to her child and causes the lovers to cling to each other and formulate their futures together. Because of the one we love we can endure hard work, get up earlier, exercise more, work harder to support our family and benefit society.

Also, it is not too hard to avoid "ế". Exercise to get stronger, change yourself with positive thoughts, do your best, get out of the house and go to places with people with the same interests as you. And most importantly, when meeting someone, the first thing we should do is smile. The atmosphere will be more cheerful and friendly rather than frowning.

The English language has a word "sheepish", which literally translates to "like a sheep", the figurative meaning of which is to feel shy and insecure. It's like when you're single and want to ask a girl out but you’re "sheepish", you keep quiet. Maybe that's why many of us have continued to be "stuck" like a sheep in the mud. Shake the mud off and go outside, a higher rate of socialization with others combined with the learning curve will produce positive results. We all want to find the love that we can spend the rest of our lives with. But the top regret of people facing death is what they didn’t do. Remember that when you see someone you’re too shy to talk to; don't be a sheep. Be a ram.

*Jesse Peterson is a teacher. The opinions expressed are his own.

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