It used to be that marrying beyond one’s village was taboo. Blood had been shed in the name of upholding the honor of the village. Then as the world grew smaller, facilitated by improved transportation network first and then later, communication network, people of different backgrounds and cultures began to mingle and something got to give: the imaginary barriers that straightjacketed people into different molds based on ethnicity, religion, culture, and a myriad of other nebulous notions.
Love began to blossom sporadically across these barriers. In the name of love, these brave souls dared to put their faith in each other to the test, sometimes with costly/deadly consequences that we only read about.
With time, marrying across village boundaries were less frowned upon. Then across county, province, state, and eventually race, culture, religion, and nation, one by one love conquers them all.
Admittedly, time has changed. So do social norms and mores. But some aspects do so at a much slower rate. We may discard the traditional garb for the western suits, but inter-racial couples are still a rarity, back in Malaysia that is.
So far I have only one non-Chinese brother-in-law, on my wife side. And that is about to change, very soon. Actually the sign was already on the wall for quite some time; it’s the solemnization of the occasion that is a matter of days away.
Both my wife and I are open-minded parents, harbouring no prejudice against any human being. There are only good and bad human beings, and those in the latter category are merely temporarily lost souls who need guidance to be brought back to the right path according to Buddhist teaching.
When we made the move to send our children to US to study, we are under no illusion that they will restrict saying wedding vows to those in the same ethnic group, Chinese, or from Malaysia for that matter.
We have to trust them to make their own choice of the other significant half, believing that our incessant drilling of morally defensible thoughts into them, our constant dispensation of well-intentioned guidance, and most important, our own steadfast adherence to leading an ethically upright life, will equip them with the capacity and capability to see through the facades that people tend to put up, some with malice, and see them for who they are.
And if in the process some sparks fly, some paths coalesce, then so be it. The union of two souls, while started from a chanced encounter, is continuously nourished through contacts as they get to know each other better. And when the thinking meshes in more ways than one, when the little irritations born of idiosyncrasy are endured, and when the seeming chasm of cultural disparity is bridged, by a crossing that is founded on a solid understanding of each other’s goals in life and underpinned by a lifelong commitment to staying together to face life’s challenges, then we offer our blessings to them, with the proviso that they would always count on us to be there when needed, anytime.
Welcome to the family, Dan.