Real Life Interviews

Image by Erika Varga from Pixabay

The other day, I watched an Asian TV program, in which a young reporter–a girl probably just graduated from college–went around to interview several centenarians in a mountainous subtropical region, which is well known for its clean air, pristine environment, and people who have longer life spans than those from other regions.

It just happened that all those centenarians being interviewed were women. Before the pandemic, the place was enjoying booming tourism–people from other areas would come to visit the place, and pay money to chat and take photos with centenarians, who are considered the symbols of good luck and longevity. And recently, the area has been recovering from the tourism slump caused by COVID.

Anyway, the reporter asked each of them this question, “what is your best advice to give to young women?” And these centenarians, obviously equipped with well prepared answers, all gave pithy one-liners as positive as one can imagine, like “expediency can lead to disaster”, “love is rare but it exists”, “if he doesn’t love you, he’s not likely to share power with you.”

I was waiting for something like, “I wish I had more opportunities to meet more people, explore the world, shed my bias, learn new things. I wish young women will do that.” But this was never said. Actually nothing that revealed the centenarians’ true thoughts was ever said. At least I felt this way. These centenarians behaved exactly like my mother and my grandmother (both extremely narcissistic by the way) who only revealed their true thoughts when they were complaining or venting or infuriated; when they were not complaining or angry, they could be didactic, scheming, purposeful, which make them sound more like an indifferent school teacher than a mother.

I don’t know how other people feel, but my experience has been that my mother, grandma, or aunts can’t offer any advice at all. Since my relatives are all very narcissistic and quite different from normal people, I can’t say that other people feel the same way as I do. And even if one of their advice sounds reasonable, I often suspect that they insert their own agenda into it–although I don’t know what that agenda is. It is usually hidden until one day it explodes in my face in the most inopportune moment. Probably I speak too negatively about my narcissistic relatives, but that is how I feel about them.

Well, now I think of it, I shouldn’t be so hard on my relatives. For my mother and my grandma’s generation (and many people of my generation), women’s life, thoughts, issues, problems were supposed to be hidden and unrevealed–people even developed an absurd aesthetic feeling, such as the feeling of “silence being profound”, “unspoken words being more beautiful and imaginary”, just to cater to the social norm. When I was little, married women always spoke in hushed tone about their pregnancy, the childbirth, or any issues related with it. They didn’t share this with children or unmarried women or even their husbands. Sometimes I could catch them complaining bitterly and angrily about something when they thought I was not present. Obviously they were not happy with the profound silence or couldn’t feel the beauty of unspoken words.

I wonder what kind of interesting stories the centenarians will tell if they can share their experiences honestly and openly. I want to know how they survived WWII, bandits, famines, family tragedies, social turmoils, how they fought for themselves and their children, how they defied or stalled the system that pressed them to conform, how they made true friends even if they were not allowed to speak up or be truthful. They have so many things to share with the world and to benefit women younger than them.

6 thoughts on “Real Life Interviews

  1. Unfortunately, older people are not open about things the way we are. I’m not saying all of them but that generation and the older generations tend to keep things to themselves and put on a happy face. That’s what they have always done and will always do. And it’s a real pity because we could learn so much from them if they were more honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The first thing I that pops up to mind is a youtube video I saw of a British guy living in Japan and talked of how he was featured on Japanese TV. He was basically coached to act in a certain way to appeal to the camera. In this case, he went to a small village. He had to act all surprised when shown a potato from the farmland. When eating at a local restaurant, he had to act like the local delicacies were marvelous and out of this world. The whole show was basically scripted.

    Which you can see here:

    Later on I saw another video recording of an actual TV show of this American going to a small village in Japan doing almost exactly the same thing as the British guy . . . beat by beat.

    Which you can see here:

    It’s hilarious in their own ways.

    I was also thinking that maybe the reason why some women don’t like dispensing advice for the younger generation can also be because of jealousy. I can imagine someone thinking, “I went through all this hardship! Who are you to take it easy!?”


  3. Sometimes people do suppress their true views for various reasons referenced in this post and the comments. But sometimes people ask for advice and then dismiss it when it doesn’t conform to their own beliefs or biases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, tell me about it. I’ve experienced that several times and one time I was almost in tears since my ideas were ridiculed by others. And you know me, I just can’t stop myself from giving advice no matter what.


  4. While I agree more thought should be shown, those advices are solid. Most women here can’t even take simple advice like that and apply it because they can’t even get basic knowledge on even a little of their power.

    Also, they may or may not be narcissists and don’t want to share their opinions or life to people because of they might be vulnerable. Also, most people are completely fine with staying in the same space forever with the same life with the same people and if it’s not bad life, it’s still ok enough for them. I’m sure there are more older women that want to share their lives but like what happens to most groups, they’re going to play stoic instead or they didn’t get interviewed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very true indeed. Thank you for sharing. Yes, some people don’t really mind about living in one place forever and not exploring the world. And some people do share while other people don’t. I am so glad that right now people can share their views on social media, which is a very good thing for women especially, even women in very conservative communities, since they can find people who have the same problem and same issues online.

      Liked by 1 person

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