Saturday, November 25, 2006

同床異夢,貎合神離 / Same Bed Different Dreams, Same Togetherness Different Destinations

I read the articles written by both Mad Dog and Ruth regarding modern-day couples. I think Rev. Kong Hee康希牧師 in Singapore was referring to the loss in spirituality and meaning of marriage among some of his congregation members - married but still live a single life, or as the Chinese say: "同床異夢,貎合神離 Same bed different dreams, same togetherness different destinations."

This is quite different, although just as painful in many ways, for couples who have to separate for economic or other reasons. They are married but are separated and live as singles in different cities. A historical example was the many Chinese men in the early 1900's who had come over to "Gold Mountain" and then faced the harsh Chinese Exclusion Act 1923-1947 and were unable to see their family for decades or for life. The lucky ones were able to reunite later with their spouses and children. But, many died lonely and destitute and their bones were buried in mass graves under the "Gold Mountain".

In the modern-day context, I would think couples in the former case can be "rescued" if love can be rejuvenated (a big 'if' without a religious anchor, I presume). However, in the latter case, it's a matter of personal choice and priority as well as circumstances within or beyond one's own control. Nonetheless, both cases are equally challenging.

We are all part of history, including couples who are married but live like singles, married couples who live as singles in separate cities, and Canadians of Chinese descent whose ancestors went through the hardship of separation. I would suggest that in addition to faith in religions, one also has to believe in self-independence and reliance with a certain degree of hope for the future. As witnesses to these changes and as we are taking roots today, we will be the story-tellers to the generation of tomorrow.

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