“Asia is not going to be civilized after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia and she is too old.”~ Rudyard Kipling
Last night, I tortured myself without realizing that I was doing so.
I watched a documentary from director Debbie Lum about American men who are asiaphiles, or have what is considered yellow fever.
These are men who are strongly attracted to the people and culture of Asia.
The program followed closely a 60 year old man who lives in the San Francisco area who is just in love with Asian women, particularly Chinese in his case.
Right from the start, it was nearly unbearable to watch this man’s reaction.
He had a number of Chinese penpals and on his computer contained literally thousands of photographs of Chinese women.
When the director of the film (who happens to be Chinese) asked the man why he was so interested in Chinese women, he couldn’t even answer the question! He just sat there in silence. As he failed to come up with any kind of response that would make sense, he kept giggling and laughing and going back to his computer monitor to look at his collection of images.
The only thing that came to my mind while watching him was that he was a giant pervert and his fetish for Chinese women was immense.
He had traveled to China a number of times to visit these women that he was corresponding with during the filming of the documentary. And I just didn’t find it surprising that whenever he would go to China to meet a specific woman, in that first visit he would propose marriage. The thing about it is that he did this many times with many women.
Finally he would go to China one more time to meet a 30 year old woman. He actually brought her back to the United States and she was allowed to stay in the country for three months. At the end of that time period, she either had to marry him to stay in the country or leave.
The plan was to marry.
Right away, you could tell by the expressions of the Chinese woman who went by the name of Sandy, that she was not impressed. I felt so bad for her.
The man took the time to eliminate his shrines to Chinese women before she arrived in his rinky-dink small apartment which was heavily cluttered. Instead of eliminating them entirely, he hid them. I just sat there wondering what in the world he was thinking!! He got rid of evidence of any other photographs of other Chinese women in his life, but he didn’t take the time to clean up his own home. Where were the priorities? It appeared that they were more focused on keep things a secret from the woman who was about to enter his home.
He barely understood Chinese. So whenever she would speak, he would have no idea what she was saying. And her grasp of the English language was just as poor.
Probably the only thing throughout this documentary that made me laugh was the fact that she was trying to get him to learn Chinese phrases, which he couldn’t successfully pull it off. The only phrase that he was able to clearly speak in the Chinese language was “I am stupid!” and I just laughed and laughed. As did she.
It didn’t take long for the strange couple to have some major problems. Mainly because of the language barrier and the fact that there are vast differences between American and Chinese cultures.
The director found herself not really being a director of a documentary any more. Her role in everything began to change more into a language translator as well as a marriage counselor.
As the man went to his job at the San Francisco airport, his soon-to-be Chinese bride found the photographs on his computer. She found binder after binder of printed out e-mails from other Chinese women. Particularly one from a woman who went by the name of Molly.
All hell broke loose as you can imagine. The guy attempted to defend himself, but he had no case. She had believed that he was a liar and a cheat and she was no longer happy and was ready to go back to China.
The thing that he did not understand was in the Chinese culture, when a couple calls it quits… its a total separation. They do not even remain friends in China. And she was not liking the fact that he and Molly were remaining friends. Plus all the words of love that he expressed to her in his e-mails just really hung him.
His only response that he had on camera was that HE was an American. That HE had American cultures. And that SHE was in America, not China.
And that actually gave up some good thinking for me. If a woman comes from China to the United States, does she live by her Chinese cultures or does she adopt the cultures of her new home?
So in this case, who was wrong and who was right??
Sandy’s visa to the United States was about to expire and it was do or die. Some way, some how the couple had moved on from the fight and continued to live together.
But the fighting would continue over other things such as him being such a slob to live in clutter. Yet with the help of the director, they would always work things out. I began to wonder how well this relationship would have went without her being there. And the director’s narration also wondered the same thing at one point. She was there to film a documentary, not play referee into someone’s relationship.
They would eventually marry. The man’s brother paid for everything since the couple was seriously broke and in financial danger. That was another thing that Sandy was never thrilled about. She expected to come to the United States and be taken care of, and in turn she would care for the needs of this man.
Many times Sandy would confide in the director of the film by saying in Chinese that she had plans to marry the man and get a job and then leave him. It left the director struggling whether or not to tell the man that she was thinking about it as a warning.
The inevitable in my mind would actually come several days after the wedding. Sandy moved out of the tiny cramped apartment and stayed with HIS friends. That really didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I suppose that she really had no place to go because she didn’t know anyone.
Sandy really was lost.
By the end of the documentary, she had returned to her husband. And wouldn’t you know it….. the man went on a cleaning frenzy that turned the apartment completely into a brand new space. The old cluttered place was gone. It looked more like a home.
Even after all this time, they still struggled with their language barriers. Although Sandy was speaking more in English than he was speaking in Chinese.
At the end, the narration said that they were soon to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary. So I suppose that they were able to triumph after all.
However it was almost unbearable to watch him as the camera would get a close up on his face. His actions and demeanor actually creeped out the director at the beginning. And he just came across so juvenile. And at 60 years old, one would think that he would act more his age. Or at least I thought that.
He married a woman half his age, who didn’t understand his language, and honestly at the beginning couldn’t really stand him. But in the end it all worked out. It was very difficult for me to watch this man act the way he did. I felt that because of those kinds of actions that these men act upon, well… its a huge turnoff for women. I can understand why. But often times (not all of the time) its actions and attitude like that of this man who ruin women for other men that they met who would treat them so much better. But because of the horrible experiences, it appears that men who are better than that don’t get a fighting chance.
I don’t know what else to say about it all, other than I was shocked to hear that they were still together. There wasn’t much else of an update to their lives and marriage. The film never did explain whether or not Sandy was able to go to school or get a job or do anything to better her situation or their situation.
I put myself through this trauma and paid the price for it as I attempted to sleep. Being creeped out by this guy proved difficult to find peaceful sleep.