For those who are really close to me, you know that I’ve been chasing a certain girl for about 6 years now. Through the frustration, agony and occasional states of effervescence – this girl was one those who just had my number and I would live and die by my interactions with her. The reason why I was hung up on this girl was because I could never understand how we didn’t work out. We got along so well and she always made me want to be a better person just so I could win her over everyday. I could understand racism, sexism, corruption and black holes in the universe but why we never worked out – I could never understand. So, because of this, I always kept her in the back of my head – I’ve always said that nobody’s really grown up until someone really screws with their heart and she was my medal of honor. The memories were painful but sometimes you’re willing to go through a lot of the bad just so you can have a bit of the good.
About a month ago, something funny happened – I woke up one day and all I could do was think about this girl. For no apparent conscious reason, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I even googled her name at work – it drove me nuts. At that time, we were on the outs so I didn’t want to talk to her. I just had to stop thinking about her. I had to ask Life to help me out – what was this all about? That’s when I suddenly thought of an old Chinese saying:
天上有天 – which means “there’s a heaven above heaven”.
For those of you who watch Gossip girl, let me explain this in simple terms: have you ever thought about where this universe ends? Where is the edge of the universe? What’s beyond that? A wall? What’s beyond the wall? Don’t think too hard or your head will explode. The bottom line is : Chinese people believe that there’s always going to be someone better than you. One day, someone’s going to be better than Michael Jordan – that’s already a given. Nobody thought Lou Gehrig’s record would ever get broken.
With that in mind, I got a text that day from a guy I hardly speak to. He lives in Mainland China and out of the blue, he asked me to show a Taiwanese girl around, who was visiting Hong Kong. I thought it was weird but I agreed.
When I met that girl that night, I found her really attractive, educated, great personality and had a big heart – she did a lot of charity work. She blew my mind – this person had the traits that you would write on a piece of paper as the ideal person. I was more coocoo on her than coco puffs and it was safe to say that it was crazy infatuation. Nothing really happened – she went back to Taiwan and we don’t really talk- that’s not the point. For me, I felt that it was life reminding me that there’s always someone out there better. That was the lesson and it made my mind at ease. After that, I was able to move on.
I started thinking about this saying and was pretty high on it until a few days ago, when I started asking questions about why there’s so many single people in Asia. Sure, there are tonnes of factors but I’m only going to talk about one: that same saying that made me feel better is the same one that’s keeping people from staying with who they have. Due to the convenience of technology – we’ve become a society that’s obsessed with choice. We always need to have more choices. In fact, to not have a choice is undemocratic and Socialism is so two thousand and late.
Today, I met a guy from Singapore working in Hong Kong and we were chatting. He said that Asia is great because every other place is an hour away by plane. You can get a job anywhere. I realised that it’s true and also, you can get a girlfriend anywhere. That’s the problem with Asia – everywhere is too convenient. There’s too many choices of people to date. Have you ever tried dating a Japanese girl? Hmmm, let’s get on a plane. Maybe Thai? How about Swedish Korean? I’m sure that exists. Let’s go with Malaysian Chinese – they’re all in Hong Kong too. Nobody living on Hong Kong island is from Hong Kong. Imagine a giant college dorm room filled with international students with money – that’s Hong Kong in a nutshell. In Toronto, you don’t have a choice -well, you can always date a girl from Hamilton or Rochester.
So, that’s the problem with the dating scene here – if this person is not exactly perfect, its quick to bail. Don’t worry, you’ll tell yourself that “you’re not happy” or “something’s missing about her” because everyone thinks they’re entitled to a choice for just breathing on this earth.
Is it human nature to demand more? possibly. Does living in Asia just make you more susceptible to this type of stuff? possibly. The danger of the wisdom of this saying is that it’s paradoxical – it satisfied my deep longing feelings but at the same time, created an insatiable desire for something better. A few days after meeting the Taiwanese girl, the first thought in my head was “imagine if she’s that great, there’s someone else even better than her!”
There are no bad sayings – there’s a reason why they’re pearls of wisdom. I see them more as weapons. There’s a time and a place to use a weapon. When it comes to social change and fixing a society, this idea of “a heaven above a heaven” may drive people to strive for a better tomorrow and overthrow the status quo. When you individualise it however, it just feeds your inner monster – always looking for the next hot thing.
Please apply sparingly and contact your local physician if problem persists.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.