I didn’t have time to watch the Oprah interview of Meghan & Harry, but I caught something last night from a channel in Southeast Asia. The cultural differences demonstrated in the comments from the program hosts are so blatant that I just couldn’t help laughing. I won’t say which channel it is since I don’t want to make them uncomfortable with my opinions.
After translating and describing the whole event, the two hosts proceed to give comments and explanations. The first portion is dedicated to the brand and the price of Meghan’s dress and each piece of her jewelry. This program happens to be hosted by two men. Obviously the two hosts have no notion of female fashion and they only read from a script to match whatever is shown on the screen. Still, this is an important portion to those girls who want to emulate, I guess, but I have no idea and no interest in this portion.
After that, one of the hosts starts to describe Queen Elizabeth and her age, which is something that excites respect and admiration. I used to watch a TV program about young people travel hundreds of miles to visit a centenarian in order to hold her hands (most of centenarians are women) and take pictures–to gain a piece of the centenarian’s spirit of longevity. The centenarian takes “donations” from each of the young people and touch their shoulders to give them luck. This eventually becomes such a profitable job for the centenarian lady that the tax collector is alerted.
Then the screen suddenly turns black and white to describe Queen Elizabeth’s experiences during WWII. It’s said that she drove motorcycle, fix trucks, and shot enemies with rifles. “Nobody dares to offend the Queen. If Harry and Meghan displease her…” One host says in a foreboding tone. And the other host follows, “The queen is tough and she can shoot.” I am not sure I understand these two. What is their point? Are they implying that the Queen will take the rifle, fix her truck, drive across the Atlantic (a truck is able to drive across the pond I think), and camp outside Harry and Meghan’s house? I just can’t help laughing. The colonial era ended long time ago. Even if she wants to do that now, she won’t be able to.
The mental health issue is only shown very briefly and never mentioned again, which is not right. As we know, Asian women have the highest suicide rate in the world, regardless of age, social economic condition, or the country we live in. However this issue has never been treated as an issue at all, but it should be. The mystic of being obedient and filial and self-effacing has its dark and bloody consequences. My uncle’s wife committed suicide three times and the last time she succeeded. When I was in primary school, the girl who sat not far from me went home one day and saw her mother hanging herself. When I was in middle school, my neighbor’s daughter committed suicide but didn’t succeed–she jumped off a building and was left with a limp for the rest of her life. When I was in college, there was suicide on campus every year.
I mean not only Asian women, but all women need to express ourselves and need to live an authentic life, not to be a slave to other people’s expectations. I know. Easy said than done. I can remember numerous times that I live for other people’s approvals and not for myself. Old habits die hard.