From The Washington Post:

“I have never met a Japanese man who did not want me to be his mommy.”

That is the reason, Takako Katayama says, that she has not married. At 37, she has carved out a comfortable life here in Tokyo, with her own apartment, a good job at a cable television network, and a network of family and friends.

She has not closed the door on marriage and children. When she meets girlfriends for dinner, they ask each other, “Where are the good guys?” But she refuses to settle for a man who works long hours, declines to share in child-rearing and sees marriage mainly as a way to acquire lifetime live-in help.

“I want a mature, equal-partner kind of marriage,” she said. “Anyway, there are complete lives without a baby.”

Therein lies a dismal prognosis for Japan and for many of the other prosperous nations of East Asia. In numbers that alarm their governments, Asian women are delaying marriage and postponing childbirth.

In Japan, the percentage of women who remain single into their 30s has more than doubled since 1980. The trend is similar in Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and the booming Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing.

Equally annoying, according to Katayama, is the rarely stated but almost universal expectation of Japanese men to be fed, clothed and picked up after. “I am willing to take care of and give comfort to a man whom I care about, but that does not mean I want to be his mother,” she said.

So my thought when reading this article was that like Katayama, I’m only happy to “look after / take care” of a guy who doesn’t actually need the looking after.  Then I realised that this value proposition doesn’t  actually make any logical sense –  Only willing to supply where there is no demand?  Somehow.



August 29, 2008

Fuck.  I missed the deadline for the Stanchart.  😦

I am so annoyed with myself.

I am doing a HUGE spring cleaning – both literally and figuratively speaking.  Feels pretty good!  Anyway, I found a note I’d written to myself when I first started serving in Altar Ministry:

  1. Memorize scripture more. I was reciting Psalm 27 and then halfway through clean forgot the words. Urg.
  2. Always bring tissue.
  3. Always pray like mad before. Seek God for His word in season for His people. Cover yourself in prayer.
  4. Don’t get distracted. I made the mistake of doing the photography straight after. I was super exhausted afterwards.  Not just physically.
  5. Close in prayer – for good rest; to leave behind the cares that you prayed for; for anointing.

The funny thing about Altar Ministry is that you seriously cannot fake it.  If you are not right with God, you can pretty much forget it.  That said, being nervous and unprepared doesn’t actually help either so this little list was written in part to circumvent the “nervous and unprepared” problem.  I am amused at the methodical way I approached it.  It’s almost like a cheat sheet!  But hey, it works and if you ever tried to pray for someone on the fly without actually being told what to pray for, you will know what I mean.

BTW, I also found other things that were not so amusing, like written prayers unanswered.  I still pray for the same things, although admittedly with far less enthusiasm.

Twitter is a democracy

August 28, 2008

From Wired:

Is it cool for me to Twitter that I’m about to boff my girlfriend?

The knee-jerk response would be to castigate you for incivility both to your lady friend and your Twitter clan. Such risque tweets will likely skeeve out your girl and followers or make the latter envious. Neither action should be encouraged.

But then again, Twitter is a democracy – if users don’t like your tweets, they can vote with their PCs and drop your feeds. So on the off-chance your girlfriend is OK with having your coital calender go public, and you don’t mind losing a few Twitter pals, feel free to try this out. Mr Know-It-All is Mr Less-Is-More in this case and finds your exhibitionism sort of desperate and lame. But perhaps your Twitter crew is a more swinging bunch.”

Totally hilarious.  This is such a great response!  🙂 

(Many more thoughts on how social networking makes us rethink privacy and how we broadcast information etc. but I’m way too tired today.  Goodnight!)

A note

August 26, 2008

I love notes. I keep them in old shoeboxes. Sometimes still in the envelope in which they were sent. Sometimes with a photo or a dried flower petal or a crumpled gift wrapper. I’m sentimental as hell. I remember being in Melbourne, sitting on my bed with a shoebox of old notes on my lap. Reading the words written from miles away and feeling closer to the writer somehow. (It is probably obvious to everyone that I am an extremely literary person. Not that I write/speak well etc but that words – the nuancing, the structure of the sentence, the pauses, the intonation in the voice – are all very important to me.)

Someone passed me a note during a meeting tonight.  It was written on a scrap of paper with a blunt pencil.  “How are you?”  It would have been rude to talk so I just made a gesture with my left hand. So-so.  He wrote back. “Take it easy”. This time with a smiley face. Clumsily drawn. It was so funny and out of character that I had to smile. I thought the “conversation” ended there but a few minutes later, he turned the paper around and wrote “I heard about your tribulations and it made me sad.” Another clumsily drawn face. This time sad. With tears.  I smiled again. This time sad.

I wished I could have kept the piece of paper but it disappeared into his file.  So to remember, here is this blog post.  To remember that some people give a shit.  To remember that if you care, thinking happy thoughts is not enough.  Take the time to write it down.  To remember that the act of taking the trouble to write supercedes the words.  To remember that it is possible to be an older person, even a mentor and still retain that humility and honesty in your soul.  To remember that it is always worth the effort to care and to be kind.  To remember that God overflows in some people.  To remember that God cares. 

All very good reminders.  🙂

Mad about english

August 26, 2008

You have to see “Mad About English”.  Seriously.  It’s funny, heart-warming and hopeful.  The characters are (for the most part) endearing and earnestly adorable.  A very profitable way to spend an hour or so.

The movie got me thinking about what it means to be an english-speaking Chinese.  Actually, english is the only language I speak and honestly, I don’t really see myself as Chinese so it’s all very baffling to me. But I loved their earnest desire to improve and to contribute back to society.  I loved their passion and drive. Facing your fears. Working for what you want. Caring enough to fight for it.  Investing. Risking.  I like!

I really need to do something about my mandarin (and spend some time in China)!

 27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
       and complain, O Israel,
       “My way is hidden from the LORD;
       my cause is disregarded by my God”?

 28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40: 27-31

I cannot adequately verbalise the frustration of feeling that like an eagle with a broken wing.  Let me correct that – a lost, homeless eagle alone with a broken wing.  It is an odd sort of identity crisis.  It is knowing exactly who you are and who you are supposed to be but somehow not really knowing where you are, how the hell you got there and not having the capacity (or whatever) to find your way home.  Freaking frustrating.