Why Some Asians Don’t Outright Express Romantic Affection

For some of us stereotypical Asians, showing physical affection and love doesn’t come easy. For some of us stereotypical Asians, expressing one-on-one intimacy like holding hands, hugging and kissing someone who matters to us feels hard or doesn’t cross our minds often.

All throughout school in Malaysia and Singapore, my Chinese-Malaysian parents wagged the finger at dating and romantic escapades. Physical contact with any classmate whom I fancied was frowned upon. Part of me resented this, part of me didn’t.

Love and physical affection may or may not go hand-in-hand in harmony | Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony.

Love and physical affection may or may not go hand-in-hand in harmony | Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony.

Love is often entwined with affection. When it comes to expressing love by the means of touch, at times we hold back because of what we’ve always known.

For some of us of Asian heritage, our conservative upbringings go some way towards why we’re wary of physical romantic gestures. Our parents may have never advocated touchy-feely attitudes as something to be proud of. We may have grown up following a faith denouncing men/women as objects of affection, or a religion stressing pre-marital sex is taboo. In Malaysia, “collectivistic cultures” are championed in the Muslim-majority country, with codes of conduct around public displays of affection: Muslim girls have been threatened with arrest after hugging K-pop band members.

Historically, Confucianism patriarchy was advocated since the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. During the revolutionary Mao era, Chinese men and women were comrades and wore unisex army suits. They were not supposed to be lovers; intimacy was seen as a duty for procreation. Whenever I hung out with my friends at the shopping mall in my high school days, my mum chaperoned me to the door of the mall and then lurked around in nearby shops – and made sure I never went anywhere else with any of the guys. Well, I always got home safe.

As such, expressing physical affection can be embarrassing to some of us of Asian descent. It’s something we’re shy about, unfamiliar with or we don’t see that as a respectful move towards the one we fancy (until we’ve know them for a while).

If we're bold and confident, physical affection comes more naturally.

If we’re bold and confident, physical affection comes more naturally.

Some people I’ve met are decent that way. During a break in between high school classes one afternoon, one of my Chinese guy classmates looked at me and stammered, “D-d-do you want to go shopping?” I barely heard him over the din of our classmates’ voices, across two rows of vandalised desks wedged between us. Such courage.

How we perceive the notion of love arguably rubs off on whether we’re comfortable expressing romantic affection or not. To those with the typical Asian mindset, love is much more than hands all over each other – love is practical. It’s putting food on the table and building a toilet for family. For instance, many Japanese men work round the clock for the money (and pride) and see their loved ones once in a while. One becomes acquainted with physical distance in the realm of love.

As we chase dreams and opportunities in this ever-changing world, romance and romantic intimacy willingly get put on hold as we better ourselves. But occasionally old habits die hard: matchmaking is still the norm in Asia, ironically in a time when more “shengnu” (剩女) women are embracing the single life, living independently and embracing their sexuality.

Often I get home from work, sit down for dinner and my mum goes, “When are you going to get married? You need to do all these life things…” I shovel food into my mouth. Think of finishing writing my first book. My mind flashing back to the time when out of the blue, my parents introduced me to a lanky Chinese-Malaysian guy over dinner: my lips pursed into a thin line after pleasantries. We didn’t talk much. Good. No touching. Even better.

With every touch, we might feel closer to each other.

With every touch, we might feel closer to each other.

Not all of us mind being set up with potential partners, or modern matchmaking. If You Are The One is China’s top dating show and it sees one male professional facing off with single women who will decide if he is “date-worthy” based on a series of interviews and talent stages. In Chinese culture, playing hard to get and courtship is quite the norm before the two parties get physical. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said on loving someone:

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

Consequently, some of us are all for physical intimacy and public displays of affection at any time of the day. Couple of Asian heritage holding hands are a common sight in Australia. Whether we warm to one-on-one touch ultimately depends on the company we keep, what we believe in and most certainly our personalities.

Physical affection can be a manifestation of lust, or a manifestation of true love. Showing affection can be a calculated move, or an unconscious move. Whichever way, they tend to be moments we remember. I’ll never forget back in high school how this guy always sat next to me in class and casually rested one palm on my skirt and thigh now and again. Each time I silently, persistently went inside, “No”. We were friends; today I see him as an Asian person with good Asian values. I wondered why he did that. Physical affection is never the means to an end to any friendship or relationship in any culture. At the end of the day we long to connect with others emotionally, as author Tahereh Mafi said:

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”

Physical romantic affection. It happens when it happens.

Physical romantic affection. It happens when it happens.

We might remember moments of affection because we believe these moments could very well bring us closer to someone for the reasons we hope. Standing upfront in the shoulder-to-shoulder mosh pit at dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling’s concert last year, Lindsey’s words echoed from the stage: “There are seven, seven couples who have met at my shows…” Silence, and suddenly a cheering crowd surged forwards, pressing against my back. My head jerking forwards, every anecdote in this post flashed across my mind. Just like falling in love, affection often comes around in a twist of fate.

For some of us, maybe we’re a bit more private and prefer to shy away from physical affection. Or maybe we’re inclined to wait because every bit of affection, given and received, is simply something special to us.

Do you show physical affection to the one you love?

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252 thoughts on “Why Some Asians Don’t Outright Express Romantic Affection

  1. Loved this post! I hope you don’t mind when I hug you 🙂 you’re so adorable! I am big on affection with my family, friends and partner. Having grown up in an Italian family, affection is a must. We usually do the kisses on both cheeks as is custom! What I have noticed in Asian culture is that although there is not much romantic affection, girls who are friends tend to hold hands and link arms more than other cultures. It is always so nice to see such a closeness between friends. I think you wrote about this in a much earlier post. I like that love can be shown in many different ways. As you said, in some Asian households it’s about providing for a family. I just hope you never do something because you feel it’s your duty. Just like your writing, your passions must be within you and never forced. Keep life authentic and natural. Love will come to you x

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is wonderful to hear that your family is so open with showing love to each other. It must be such a loving occasion when everyone gets together, kisses and hugs exchanged all round. Sometimes, seeing is believing and some of us can’t help but feel the love when we see hugs and kisses and partake in them. I hope your arms don’t get tired of hugging when you see many of your family and friends.

      Awww, you remember my earlier post about girls holding hands! Yes, I did write about it and it is very natural for a lot of Asian girls to hold hands with each other in a non-sexual way. There is something comforting in that.

      “…because you feel it’s your duty”. I think there’s a fine line between that and what the heart tells you. Then again, there’s also reality versus love and dreams. But stranger things have happened ❤

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  2. It’s the culture and I agree this is how we have seen from childhood. But at the same time, I see things changing. My husband and I are pretty comfortable with physical gestures in public but it could also be the city I live in.

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    • You are right. Time are changing and more of us are becoming more open to experimenting. Sounds like you and your husband have a good relationship going there, and if you are comfortable expressing love that way, why not. Doesn’t sound like anyone around you is complaining 🙂

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  3. All of us humans need to spend a little time in our lives learning about the customs and beliefs of the cultures that surround us so that we can be better informed and more caring about the people that surround us in our daily lives. Maybe then we could all learn to actually care about those folks in our lives if we have better understanding of what makes different cultures different than our own tick.

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    • Well said. Each culture has a different story, and no two of us have the same stories even if we are from the same background. The key is to have an open mind when it comes to learning and interacting with cultures unfamiliar to us – it is then we will gain a new understanding of the lives each of us choose to lead.

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  4. Reblogged this on Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world and commented:
    All of us humans need to spend a little time in our lives learning about the customs and beliefs of the cultures that surround us so that we can be better informed and more caring about the people that surround us in our daily lives. Maybe then we could all learn to actually care about those folks in our lives if we have better understanding of what makes different cultures different than our own tick.

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  5. Touching is definitely a culture thing. My dad was French – lots of touching. My mom was raised Dutch – no touching at all. So do I touch my loved ones? It depends on what their culture is 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very considerate of you, Colline. Some of us might find hugs a gesture of love, some of us something that makes us shudder. There’s always the simple gesture of eye contact to acknowledge someone if they don’t like touching 🙂

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  6. So true about the affection in oriental style. The first part of my life was spent at China, and second part in US, which gave me a chance to fall in love and later marry to an American guy. Even though grown up in China, I personally prefer to the passionate style through hugging, kissing, etc. After 13 years’ marriage, we are still holding hands whenever we are outing. 🙂

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    • “personally prefer to the passionate style” I like how you are so honest with what’s comfortable with you. Much respect to you. And more respect to you if you get flak from your culture for going down the physical passionate route. You and your husband are so cute, still holding hands today 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a great post Mabel. I have an Asian friend and he doesn’t show physical affection. I’ve known him for 25 years and I’ve never even seen him hold anyone’s hand. I really enjoy your photos too! They’re really great. As for me? I like to hold hands with my husband and maybe a peck on the lips but I don’t like too much. Back when I was in my 20’s I didn’t mind though. 🙂

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  8. You would know by now in my culture too physical relationships are a strict no-no before marriage and even after we don’t show much in public.

    Maybe we are conservative, but then we are better off than west where even kids are not virgins (kissing and hugging don’t just stop there)!

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  9. Hi Mabel, these are untold stories of our lives as we grow up and you have so beautifully crafted those little moments of childhood and as young adult. Love and affection are not mutually exclusive but are mutually dependent. Love is such a beautiful aspect of life and the love that comes at the tender age and the stage of life where we are bubbling with energy and where are aspirations are sky high, we need to cherish those moments and quickly learn the art of reciprocation and preservation of those lovely moments of initial love experience. We all go through and some have it in abundance and some have it once and many may not have the opportunity and miss out on those fascinating moments of love.

    As regard the affection is an integral part of families across region or religion but when it comes to outside the family it varies from culture to culture, yes in our Asian culture which is what is in India we are conservative and family dislikes especially girls going out and freely moving boys and even expressing any form of affection, even a touch or holding hands and walking in a park is not taken in good spirit…here is everything revolves around the marriage and one can so after marriage but that too cannot public display of love.

    I agree parents are behind us for the marriage and they feel they have a big responsibility and once they get their girl child married they have a peace of mind, and we have an age range where this event should happen and every passing year in that range is a cause of concern fro our parents. Perhaps our societies have not yet embraced such changes but with the digital world invaded into our life in such frantic space, the society can no more remain immune to such distraction and it has taken the expression and engagement between potential lovers into different zone and with such deep conversation in digital platform, physical engagement is taking new turns.

    Indeed Mable a very intriguing and deeply interesting post…so fascinating to read posts which touches on the finer nuances of human relationships and it resonates nicely with our cultural thoughts. Love is all pervading, is quintessential and the elements of affection are essentials to our family bondage.
    Hugs!!!
    😀

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    • What an insightful comment from you, Nihar. I always enjoy reading them, my friend. As usual, you say it so perfectly and poetically, “Love and affection are not mutually exclusive but are mutually dependent.” There cannot be one without the other.

      Often we feel compelled to give affection because we care about someone and want to show that we care. When we are young, we might be curious about love and there is a strong desire in us to explore this feeling naively – and perhaps some of the younger generation go wild with their hands all over each other at times.

      Family, love and affection. Wonderful subject to bring up. “walking in a park is not taken in good spirit” Yes, spot on. This is indeed the case with Chinese culture and even today, my parents have warned me not to walk in a park whether alone or with friends (also because it’s a safety issue). In many Asian cultures, love and marriage is sacred – and a marker of success. Divorce is still pretty much unspoken of and not entertained. Then again, there is the saying, “two is better than one”. With two people, they can rely on each other through thick and thin.

      Times are indeed changing. As you alluded to, with digital platforms dating, falling in love and experiencing affection has taken a whole new turn. If we crave any of those, we can get it almost instantly at the click of a button. Maybe that is too fast for some of us or the older generation…not too sure if this is the case in India. Then again, each generation has their own perceptions and each to their own.

      Love it when you drop by Nihar with your nuggets of wisdom. I really do and hugs right back at you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Mabel, things have changed in India with the IT becoming the driver of new age economy and metros have become the hub of mushrooming software companies and the students who migrate from smaller towns to these cities and metros and live alone, they look at life differently and parents have little knowledge and control on their life. Love and live in relationships have become quite common in bigger cities in India and with so many options and things to do and money in hand, marriage is not in their immediate priority as they prefer career and they preferring living in present and today generation look at future differently and they have a different view of life and love.

        Though when they are back to their home town or when they are with their parents that behave differently and they respect their elders and have the restraints…

        Indeed family, love and affection are wonderful subject to talk and so many things to discuss. And with local culture, it varies and has so many flavours to see as we go from one country to the other, though love is all pervading and these boundaries doesn’t matter but the way it is perceived is different.

        Yes, today love also have become mechanical and nothing is looked at as seriously it used to be in recent past, digital connection has changed the way we talk and engage with our partners and with flying options and constant travelling, everything happens with just a click…this is a reality of today’s generation and this may also change and we may see a different pattern in the next generation but this change is something difficult digest and appreciate for our parent generation…
        Thanks Mabel for a lovely discussion as always…
        Take care!!!
        😀

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        • Another insightful response from you, Nihar. India is very much the progressive society it is today, and from the sounds of it the younger generation Indians are pushing the boundaries with love and affection. That is, they are not afraid to experiment romantically and show their feelings in ways uncommon to Indian society. It wouldn’t be surprising if people in cities there got used to seeing PDA occasionally. Sounds like the younger generation are at least bolder about such expression indoors.

          Seems like some of us might be having two faces or living two lives when it comes to putting on our attitudes to love and affection: one face for who we feel we are and another face for those around us who have certain expectations of us. It does beg the question: is one being fully honest with everyone around them, and with oneself?

          “ove also have become mechanical and nothing is looked at as seriously” This such a great thought. PDA and expressing love through touch is becoming more and more common – maybe love is becoming more of a physical thing, maybe we start to lose sight of the true essence of it because touching is to easy to do (digitally, we do it through emoticons…). Then again (in the real world), in order for physical affection to happen, there has to be physical presence…and often presence speaks a lot.

          Always love our discussions, Nihar. You really make me think 😀

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          • Yes Mabel, things have changed and have changed rapidly in India, like every society there is a tipping point where things take a massive turn for new beginning and Indian society is at that cusp of tectonic shift. And it the people emotions and relationships that drives the change.

            Love is universal and natural to human beings and we have created barriers and we have created perceptions based on the culture and traditions, there is a paradox…it is love that brings and binds people but we are using it differentiate and stipulate one’s behavior. You are right, one are something inside and we show something outside as we are bounded by conditions, regulations and expectations and false manifestation of our image. With change of age and stage people change their opinion and impose their restriction, elders would have love to express their love but they didn’t have the environment but today the new generation have the environment, they should be given the space and they know what is good and to what extent is right…more mature and more modern in their thinking.

            Technology is at the epicenter of change and it is driving the beginning of a new mode of expressing love and engaging with our partners…attitude towards love and expression of love has to change and we cannot carry the same mindset, even if we don’t accept the society changes with the collective forces and the underlying pressure that gets built, there are trends that comes and takes the society into another orbit and it is happening in India. At no cost one questioning the ethos, the traditions and culture, these are invaluable and to be treasured but at the same time these also have to add new dimension and new perspective to make it relevant and make it acceptable with changing time. Indeed it is a virtual world where we spend more time than the real world, it is bound to foster the virtual love and physical love may slowly get a secondary treatment.

            Yes Mabel, I love the insightful an intriguing discussion we keep having, and I’m so happy to have met you.
            Serendipity this Sunday for you Mabel…take care.
            😀

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            • Again you have said it so well, Nihar. It is intriguing that some of the older generation aren’t too keen on allowing the younger generation to express love and affection in the manner that they desire. Perhaps its because they fear the younger generation will go off the rails, or do something that they will regret years down the track.

              “it is a virtual world where we spend more time than the real world, it is bound to foster the virtual love and physical love may slowly get a secondary treatment.” That is such a profound statement. Maybe because of technology like social media and mobile platforms, the whole notion of love will change. Then again, some of us seem to see technology as a means to hook up with someone fast, and get physical affection fast – even if its just for one night. Strange world we live in.

              It is so nice to have connected with you, Nihar. Always appreciate our discussions, and maybe you should write your own post on love at some point. You speak so well about it 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • Generation gap is always an issue in society but today this chasm has become bigger with the technology is picture…digital is changing the pace of change and it is changing so rapidly that is not easy for the older generation fathom and fit into the new perspectives of younger generation…

                Indeed is becoming a strange world and where things have becoming upside down and there are things that we have no clue, we are flowing with the stream of technology changes…
                Indeed Mabel always a pleasure conversing with you…yes will touch on the subject of “love” and I love the beauty and force behind the word.
                😀

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  10. Hi Mabel,

    I can relate sooooo much to all you have written about expressing love. Yes! Love for us has always been ‘practical’…taking care, cooking and serving food with a smile on our face, sacrificing your own desires and joy for our near and dear ones, waiting for your spouse to take all the decisions…sometimes it becomes oppressive!!

    It was also due to the culture of staying in joint families, where romantic love was a taboo, even holding hand of your spouse was frowned upon…love was more of a duty! As teenagers we couldn’t even think of expressing our liking for a boy and if we had a crush on somebody, we were expected to suppress our emotions as we were told – ‘complete your studies, stay away from distractions.’

    Yet there were the bold and the brave who dared to love surreptitiously and were always ready to face the consequences! There is a big change now especially in urban societies and schools. Adolescents are changing the age-old traditions, joint families have disintegrated and love is coming out of the closet.
    Thank you for a fantastic take on love. Stay blessed!

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    • We certainly share the same sentiments, Balroop, especially from a female perspective in our cultures. “love was more of a duty” You hit the nail on the head. In some cultures up until today, the woman is expected to be at the beck and call of their spouse, and he is the one who determines when affection should come around.

      I smiled when you said as teenagers, our parents saw love as a distraction to our studies 😀 I suppose they wanted the best for us in terms of a good education

      But yes, times are changing. Some might say Asians are becoming more Westernised but maybe some of us are bored with the tradition after all these years. But I’m sure that doesn’t mean we forget about our roots and conservative ways. I’m sure we still remember them and take them to heart most of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow. That’s a great post! I totally agree about the conservative upbringing and the frowning upon physical contact and all of that. Indian families are conservative too and it’s quite sad because parents probably need to know when to give their children space. My own parents aren’t too comfortable with these ideas but at least they are reasonable! I have friends who have given up on their relationships because of nosy and irritating parents and those that have given up on parents for the sake of their partners. It’s just sad if you have to pick between people you love! But well things are changing and I hope they change to be much better 🙂

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    • Thanks, Aishwarya. Indian and Chinese culture certainly have common ground. Physical contact is not something that’s highly looked upon. Nice to hear that your parents are reasonable. They sound quite open and have trust in you.

      You are so right – it is sad if we have to choose between two parties, between parents and our own social circles. One side or the other will get hurt and it is never nice to burn bridges. But yes, times are changing and hopefully, all of us can respect each other’s decision when it comes to love.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Some Asian cultures have skinship, right? Friends will hold hands. Interestingly, in Western cultures due to homophobia it’s taboo for same-gender friends to hold hands but in China and Korea it is normalized.

    In general yes, and its interesting how this kind of conservatism seeps into Confucianism, Islam, Christianity, and Communism!

    Do you think this is something that holds you back? Australia is generally a very liberal place, I’d imagine. Matchmaking seems very awkward in modern cultural settings. Do you ever feel resentful about these cultural attitudes? Or do you think it’s a moral way to be?

    Personally, I blame many of my various social afflictions on my parents and culture (then again blaming one’s parents is a decidedly Western trait as well)

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    • This is the first time I’ve heard of the word skinship. But yes, it is soooo common for Asian (girl) friends to hold hands down the street in a platonic way. The homophobia argument does bring an interesting dimension to this discussion; it opens up a whole new can of worms.

      To be honest, I feel on the fence about matchmaking and traditional culture attitudes towards love. On one hand, personally I don’t like to give love away too easily – I want to mean it. So, personal morals. Or maybe that’s the introverted person in me coming out. On the other hand, I do feel stereotypical norms contricts the horizons on love…and I’m one who is very open within that realm.

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your social afflictions on your blog and books. It does seem you have come across so many personalities with different takes on romance and affection. Fascinating.

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  13. Mabel, I don’t know if I told you before, but matchmaking is alive and well in Taiwan. I remember eating at a restaurant one time with my husband and he pointed out the couple in front of us were on a match-making date. And sure enough, they were – with three women seated at the next table constantly butting in and encouraging/forcing them to talk more. Even as an onlooker, it was so awkward watching them. So, I understand your feelings of being set-up by your parents.

    With regards to Taiwan, I see couples holding hands and linking arms. I always hug my friends when I see them. And in all honestly, I don’t think anyone here really cares.

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    • “a match-making date” So they still exist in Asia. I hope those two people on the date eventually found their own way, whether together or on their own down separate paths. This isn’t something that is too common in Australia, at least out in public – haven’t seen that here.

      It is great to hear that more and more of us are open to physical affection. There are different forms of love and sometimes, that is how we prefer to show love. If we do meet at some point, I’m expecting a big hug from you, Constance!

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      • Although not the norm, I know some of my friends who have been on blind dates in Canada. However, they were usually set up by their friends and peers, not parents or aunts or someone from an older generation.

        My oldest brother-in-law was actually set up by his mom [my MIL] and his wife’s mom. However, they did it in a more subtle way. The two families went out for dinner. My husband even attended the dinner and didn’t even realize what was going on until his brother and now sister-in-law started dating.

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        • It is interesting to hear of one’s friends and peers setting up blind dates. I vaguely recall some of my friends trying introduce me to some of their guy friends some years back and I was never comfortable with it. Not because I am against getting close with someone I don’t know, but I don’t believe you can force love.

          Very happy for your oldest brother-in-law to find love through matchmaking. Love can certainly happen that way for some. If love happens, love happens.

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  14. It must be a testament to your writing skills that with nearly every post I read I might hesitate to write anything in response – in this case because of the personal nature of the topic – but eventually I feel compelled to write at least something!

    Regarding your question of showing physical affection in a romantic context, I suppose I haven’t had many opportunities for that kind of thing. I recall an Australian-born Vietnamese girlfriend I had in high school years and I think for us, growing up in a western culture, it wasn’t really a problem to express affection towards each other. In fact, I remember during a Personal Development class, we were collectively asked to list what was important in a relationship and we both ranked affection fairly highly in that list. We were never over-the-top in our expression – I remember some couples would be all over each other in the playground (those relationships tended to last but mere days) – but we would sit together in class and on the bus, hold hands and hug, that sort of thing. If there was any reservation about showing affection, I think it was only when it came to kissing each other goodbye at the end of the school day – and I think that was more due to embarrassment about being around our classmates rather than any ingrained cultural hesitation.

    In a more general context, what I wish I had growing up was more affection from my parents. I’ve seen many of my western friends give/receive hugs to/from their parents but – at least once in primary school – I only recall having that from my own parents on rare occasions like when one of them had to go away on a long trip, and even then it felt awkward. It’s just not something we did normally! It’s not that they don’t love me, they just express it in other ways – much as what you described in love expressed in practical terms more often than through physical affection. It reminds me of the fact that true love is not about how one feels but about doing what is best for the other no matter the personal cost. And that ‘greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

    I know there are some people who are very free with their hugs. I’ve seen this apply to both Asian and non-Asian Aussies. For these people it’s an expression that they care – but most often in the context of friendship and not more than that. For someone like me who doesn’t have the opportunity to give or receive many hugs, I cherish these moments but must be careful not to attach more meaning to them than what is really intended. What an interesting world we live in when the same thing can mean so many different things to different people!

    Thanks again for your thoughtful posts.

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    • I’ve never had a Personal Development class that touched upon relationships. Sex education yes, but never a class in school on the importance of relationships. It sounded like you and your Australian-born Vietnamese girlfriend had a loving relationship back then – if not loving, then at least memorable. I’m guessing those moments of affection like holding hands on the bus felt right in those moments. It is interesting to hear affection was ranked high on the list. At times, seeing is believing; sometimes the heart translates love into action, what can we do about that 😀

      Like you, my parents were never big on hugging and affection when I was growing up. But they certainly showed their love in practical terms and I’m guessing yours did as well.

      “true love is not about how one feels but about doing what is best for the other no matter the personal cost.” So well said and I couldn’t have said it better myself. True love is about going the distance with the other person, respecting them for who they are. It is then that we can stay close to each other, and that is often where affection manifests strong. Learning not to attach meaning to certain kinds of physical affection? That is whole other topic altogether and a complex one.

      Thank you so much for sharing, Simon, and for a very thought-provoking comment. I really appreciate it, and it amazes me how you and a few others have opened up about their personal stories on this subject. Thank you.

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      • It was just the one class, as I recall. I remember that particular instance because my girlfriend and I both rated affection highly whereas others not so much. My girlfriend thought that we rated affection highly because we had the opportunity to share and appreciate that aspect of relationships with each other, whereas others might not have had that opportunity yet. As you say, when you’re together you can’t help but express what you feel in your heart. There was sex education too, but that was more in years 6 and 7 for me in Sydney (and in the equivalent of year 3 when I was in London!) whereas this class was in year 8 or 9.

        Yes, I certainly loved her and I think she cared much for me too, at least for a time. I’ve heard it said that you never forget your first love so yes, it was memorable for that reason at least. I’m reminded of day we went to Australia’s Wonderland (former amusement park in Sydney) for a school excursion (some loose justification relating to maths or physics classes) – we spent it together and with two friends. Ah, fun times.

        I think you understand something of what I meant by true love. But I would perhaps describe it more than just going the distance – if necessary, carrying the other (metaphorically speaking) in times of need or suffering. It’s more than just respect, but loving the other even in the times when they seem unlovable. It’s a sacrificial love, that’s the ‘personal cost’ bit. The Greeks had a word for this kind of love, it’s called agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay).

        Regarding not attaching meaning to hugs, I was simply referring to the fact that people who give hugs a lot don’t necessarily mean too much by it, whereas for me every hug is special. I didn’t mean for you to think too deeply on it. 😉

        Thank you for sharing first – I think that you are bold to share some personal things makes it easier for others to share their stories too. I hope everyone continues to benefit from the thoughtful discussions you put forward.

        Regards.

        Like

        • Opportunity. That jumped out at me. It made me think of this: is there a right time and a right place for physical affection? I suppose so for the most part and it depends on the context and the people around you as well. Sometimes when we have the opportunity doesn’t mean we will have the heart to actually act on it. Very heartening to hear that your first love was memorable. The amusement park outing and excursion sounded like a lot of fun.

          Agree with you on the essence of true love. You share the good times and the not so good ones, prop each other up in both instances. Personal sacrifices might be involved, or the heart to be there for someone when it hurts you physically and emotionally.

          Like you, each hug is special to me. There have been countless times where I’ve rejected hugs because I didn’t feel comfortable around that person or don’t know them too well. I’m sure those people have the best of intentions. Thank you for your kind words, Simon. I really appreciate it.

          Like

  15. Hi Mabel,

    What you have written is so true!

    I am an Indian national and PDA is a no no there. Great risk. People who are romantically involved or even people who are married refrain from showing affection in public. Guess it’s just the culture and up bringing. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • “PDA is a no no there” That is what many Chinese think too. The mentality goes: if you PDA, you are committing a sin and you will bring shame to the family. But at the end of the day, there is always a lesson and significance behind these values.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Nice post! I wonder how much is nature and how much is nurture.

    I grew up in a very White Anglo Saxon family, with the occasional hug and kiss. Physical contact seemed much more common — and even acceptable — on dates, whether in the form of an embrace, handholding, or kissing. But very amorous Public Displays of Affection were simply Not Done. Which is fine by me. I am not a super touchy-feely person. My hugs are fast and fleeting!

    My Chinese-American better half, on the other hand, would happily shock the neighbors, the restaurant, the beach-goers, or the mall with any PDA short of sex (I think). And this is despite a father that only hugs his children under duress.

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    • I always thought you were a touchy kind of person until I read your blog for a while. Fair enough. Hugs and affection aren’t some people’s cup of tea. Your big family has always struck me as boisterous, but loving and I won’t be surprised if they are the kind to be hugging and kissing out in the open.

      Andy has always struck me as the adventurous kind. He has lots of love to give.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, it SEEMS like I would be touchy feely, right? And I do all kinds of ridiculously touchy-feely stuff on the dance floor. But it’s all a performance. It means nothing. My family is very talky, but only boisterous when drunk. So every wedding is insanity, but that’s mostly it.

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  17. Great post, Mabes, very thought-provoking.

    Interesting how cultures and people differ. Physical touch is an important part in my life; it’s how I express emotion in many ways. It’s how I communicate my caring for another person as a friend or as more.
    The emotional intimacy I feel when holding hands with the person of my affections builds a stronger connection on an emotional level,

    I couldn’t imagine not having that one on one contact because it’s a part of who I am

    Like

    • It sounds that you are comfortable with it, and know the different degrees and different means of physical touch when it comes to saying what you want to say. Good that you know what makes you tick when it comes to expressing emotion. Not everyone has it figured out.

      I’m a bit on the fence with physical affection. Over the years, I’ve been burned by it. Oh well, You live and you learn 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, more and more of us are warming to physical affection. What a wonderful world we live in.

      Thank you, Joshi. I really like this collection of long exposure photos I took. Had to wait for the right moments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. love the photos , Mabel 🙂 I am looking at the composite again, which you mentioned on Instagram, and once again I think you did great and I’d never tell it’s a composite… 🙂

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  19. Mabel as always an eloquent and thought provoking article. I must say that your photos in this post are spectacular. Such wonderful reflections and so vivid. A very romantic mood setting. In my family of origin there was not a lot of hugging but to me it just seemed natural. Perhaps I was a hugger from birth. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you very much, Sue. I really enjoyed taking these romantic photos and felt they went great with this post.

      Sounds like you are a kind person with a lot of love to give, Sue. If we ever cross paths again, I will be sure to hug you 🙂

      Like

  20. Indeed I show physical affection to the one I love. At the beginning is was rather weird for my wife but she got used to it after a short while. However whenever we are in China it is like a nono. First of all there are many very stupid people who make bad comments whenever we would hold hands but some even getting aggresive and violent towards us. So in China we just don’t hold hands or similar at all…
    I think the younger generations are slowly changing in the Asian countries, at least what I can see in China (As long as there aint a Chinese girl involved with a foreigner!!! 😀 ). The older generation have still some hold over the youth but it is slowly slipping and I think in many countries there will be much more public affection to be seen within the next decade

    Like

    • I saw your comment on Eleni’s post. It must have been uncomfortable in China when you and your wife held hands and got close to each other out in the open. To those with the typical mindset, that attitude is shameful and sounded like they tried to shame you expressed how you felt.

      Aggressive and violent towards you? Now that sounds very scary and I hope they didn’t hit you or anything like that.

      So many of my Chinese friends are so open to holding hands in public. It is a start and times are certainly changing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • All those comments and stares by some people don’t really mater to me any longer but my wife still does not get used to them. Well when it comes to being aggressive…few years ago I was walking with my wife through the city center when some guy jumped me from the back and started beating on me and kicking. I couldn’t get him of me as I was on my stomach and the Chinese around were just filming it. Luckily it was the time when my parents where with us in China and werent too far away, my dad (back then he was already 70!) picked up that guy and threw him into the crowd. I guess it was a rather humbling experience for this guy to be thrown around by such old man 🙂
        In the whole thing I didnt get injured too bad, just bruises and bloody nose. The police just said it is nothing, I should come back when I end up in hospital…

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  21. Apparently, in Vietnam the kids are all over each other in parks because they have no place else to go! There’s always someone who bucks the stereotype, eh? But, yes, for the most part, besides Asian girls holding hands (so weird), Asians don’t really show affection in public or privately. And the boys/men can be affectionate in ways that Westerns find – gay – for lack of a better word. Locked legs, holding each other, horsing around that looks too affectionate.

    With social media, the world wide web, Hollywood, Korean soaps, etc., etc. I do wonder if this is changing.

    For me, your article made me think about how refreshing it was to be in a Latin country always getting kissed on the cheeks by strangers in greeting! Kind of missed when I was back in SE Asia. But I don’t like it when I see couples showing too much PDA, it’s uncomfortable for everyone else!

    Like

    • What, Vietnamese kids getting touchy in parks? That is so interesting to hear because as per my comments to the others, parks are no-no places to go in other parts of Asia. Maybe the Vietnamese kids you’ve come across aren’t afraid to be rebellious.

      Horsing around…now that is a phrase I haven’t heard for a while 😀 Asians don’t show affection privately: I believe that is still very much true. It’s something I am all for…often true love goes unspoken in my opinion.

      Lani. If I ever see you, I am going to hug you long time 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  22. It really has to do with the culture, you are right. Your post reminded me a story, one of my Caucasian co-workers who was facing divorce, but she and her husband were still hugging and kissing at the parking lot. So I wonder whether some of the physical touches are truly romantic or just a habit?
    Your photos are remarkable, Mabel! I haven’t been able to capture night light shots. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing, Amy. That sounds like a very amicably divorce. Or maybe they were still in love and eventually got back together. Or maybe habit, as you mentioned. Or maybe emotions.

      Blue hour is my favourite time of the day to take photos. Don’t know if you could tell, but the second one is a composite image. The others were challenging: tried to do long exposures but most of the time the couples kept moving 😀

      Like

      • Thanks for sharing the photo adventure. You did a great job.
        The divorce story was pretty ugly actually. He decided to go with a man after 30 years and she was in anger. The hug and kiss probably was from the guilty of the husband and she was just so used to the morning h/k. I guess it’s not always a pretty… judged from on a gesture. 🙂

        Like

        • Your story brings up this thought: that physical affection isn’t always equate to love, and at times it is something we turn to to get a quick fix when we’re feeling down. A gestures is always open to interpretation, but funny how we all like to attach stereotypical meaning to it.

          Like

          • Physical touch is needed. Love leads to physical touch, but not always vise verse. It’s hard not to attach stereotypical meaning. But,ike one of your blogger said that the touch doesn’t end there. that may not what we want…

            Like

  23. Mabel, what an extraordinary post. So much insight I have gained about your culture and I am so grateful to you for sharing. When I was younger I used to show a lot of affection out of a huge NEED to be LOVED, or what I thought at the time was love, but really was not. I Love to be hugged and to hug and that holds true to this day.
    Your style of writing is excellent and again I say to you how much Talent you have for one so young. I encourage you so much to focus on your Gifts because marriage, to be truthful in a lot of cases, not all, is a lot of work and so much changes. Your photographs are amazing as well so please keep on clicking and writing. When the time is right for you to fall in Love, it will happen, and I really hope for you that you are strong enough and honest enough to tell your husband to be that you have every intention of following your dreams. Great post, my friend, one that I totally enjoyed this evening. Thank you!!! ❤

    Like

    • Thank you, Amy. I debated for a long time on whether or not to share this post. In the end I thought why not. We could all do with sharing love and thinking about what it really means.

      If we ever cross paths, I’d give you one big hug. Or two. I hear you. Every time I step out with my camera in hand, I let nature and the world speak to me. When I sit down to write and actually write, I think of what has happened and what could be. In short, each time I put art in to practise, I feel that the world loves me and I love the world back ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am really glad you did share, Mabel. Don’t you agree with me that it is so freeing to write about our personal lives, for it that writing you are giving validation to aspects of YOU? The hardest posts for me to publish are my personal ones, for my Heart continually guides me to post some pretty intense articles. If ever our paths cross you will be getting a huge hug from me, that is a given!!!
        (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

        Like

        • Definitely. When we write about our personal lives, we reflect and admit to what and who we have become. Writing about ourselves so honestly, we stand up for ourselves and what we believe in – and I think confidence does stem from there.

          Lots of hugs to you, Amy ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi Mabel, Love your photos and they have people showing some degree of affection. Being Hispanic and growing up in a Hispanic community am use to see people showing affection: hugging, kissing, holding hand, the whole nine yards. For me since I’ve never been in a relationship and also that am an introvert, haven’t been in that position to show physical affection. Something I wonder if I would be able to do if I ever find myself in a relationship. Would I be able to break that shell of showing physical affection.

    Like

    • “Would I be able to break that shell of showing physical affection.” That is such an interesting question to wonder about. I think the same can also be applied to someone who is not all for physical affection but their partner is. Perhaps something will have to give in the relationship.

      I am sure love will come round to you some day. Often, love takes time 🙂

      Like

  25. Beautiful photos – makes me miss Melbourne! And interesting to read your perspectives on this topic. My mum is Japanese and rarely showed affection to us when we were kids. My dad, on the other hand, who’s Australian, was more affectionate and it’s possibly for that reason I felt closer to him. Being the naturally affectionate person I am, I have since trained my mum well 😛 Living in Japan now, the lack of ‘touching’ is something that is very obvious to me and I miss it a lot. Like when I see girlfriends, we kind of just wave and bow rather than hug. But I have been noticed people becoming more and more open – I especially love seeing dads holding hands with their kids or playing with them, as I feel like it’s completely the opposite of the stereotypical Japanese male. Times are changing!

    Like

    • I’ve always wondered if something has to give in a relationship if one partner is not affectionate but the other one is. Then again, love works in the strangest ways. Good to hear your mum is more open to affection these days 🙂

      Times are certainly changing especially with the younger generation. I think we tend to be curious about the things we don’t know or don’t see to often. But it also doesn’t mean we still aren’t sticking to our roots. It’s a fine line – for instance, some of us might not mind holding hands but we might mind kissing or getting intimate in bed.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Great post Mabel 🙂 My family are very ‘touchy’ people and we always greet each other with a hug – brothers, sisters and parents. My wife and I are also big fans of the hug 🙂 – but not so much with holding hands and kissing in public. I have friends (male and female) whom I hug and friends (male and female) that I know don’t want a hug. This post interested me because the friends that aren’t big fans of the ‘hello hug’ are mostly those originally from Indian and Bangladesh, the Asian friends who don’t mind a hug are from Vietnamese and Taiwanese backgrounds. Having said that – non hugging friends also come from England and Croatia, so I wonder if it is more a family upbringing thing, rather than a geographical thing. Interesting 🙂 Thanks heaps for this post I have enjoyed reading it and the comments – can I offer you a ‘virtual hug’ as thanks 😀

    Like

  27. The mood, the setting, the choice of words……you have captured it well in your photos, Mabel.

    Recently, I was asked to comment on a piece of writing centered on the word, miss – one letter, four words, such depth. It is evocative of many things; love, soul, touch….a fleeting glance, a smile; it says so much, it touches so many.

    Here’s a hug, Mabel for a wonderful post. 😍

    Like

    • Thanks, Traveller. This post was a hard write. Not only because of the personal stories, but because for so long I struggled to get a structure that flowed 😀

      Miss. Never thought of it that way. How true. It also touches upon love and affection… Here’s a hug for you 🙂

      Like

  28. Yes, Mabel, I do…now. I mean after we got married in 2008.

    When we were in college, nobody knew from our classmates that my then friend named Cyril and I were dating–except our close friends. The entire class only knew about it after graduation day. Having said that, we were actually intimate when we were alone like when we watched the movies or simply during our countless dates. The picture was like this: inside the campus we were classmates…lovers when we were on a date.

    But then, after we got married I was unconscious of how I became all-out showy. Being affectionate this time around is whenever and wherever. I am still private though when it comes to showing affection to my family on my social media accounts. My wife and I had a mutual agreement about this. She well understand the reason why we stopped flaunting romantic matters on social media. We both cling on to that idea of privacy amid the fact that everyone is now making social media as absolute platforms for private matters not to mention love.

    She knows that what really matters to her and to me is not what people see on Facebook or any of our social media accounts, but what they see of us in reality. I always tell those people in our circle who wonder why I do not post pictures of my wife and kids to directly ask my wife and children as to how I am doing as a parent and husband, respectively, to them.

    Like you, I grew up in a family where affection or, in this case, love should not be shown through words or public display of affection but through actions that will be intensely felt. I never had a hug from my father. BUT, I so feel how much he loves me–beyond question. It is just the way he is and I stand proud in saying I do not need that hug more than ever because I know, what he has done and gave and still doing and giving for/to me and rest of his children are more than a hug. His love cannot be quantified. He may be the old Asian stereotype being described as irrelevant in the contemporary world but I would not care.

    That explains why I was not the showy type before but cliche’ as it may sound, love can really make people change. So I did.

    Like

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Sony. “love can really make people change.” That is so true. When we fall for someone and if the relationship goes the distance, we learn to be there for the other person as well as what makes us tick.

      Sounds like you and your wife were very comfortable with each other physically and emotionally back in the day, and today too. I am very happy for the two of you 🙂 You have every right to hold back your relationship on social media. When you share everything out in the open including the romantic moments, what really is left between the two of you to be regarded as special and just for the two of you… However, some might argue sharing special moments you let others share in your happiness…

      I share your sentiment, and for that reason I don’t talk about my romantic life on the blog or anywhere else. This post does touch a bit on my perspective of love, but it is as far as I will go.

      “actions that will be intensely felt” I really like that phrase you said. When our heart is touched, it is a wonderful feeling. Sometimes a promise and a good word speaks much more volumes than a hug or any other kind of physical affection. Your dad certainly knew that and loved his family a lot.

      Thank you, Sony. I always love reading your comments. They are so well thought-out and insightful.

      Like

  29. Many times I’ve wished I could go back in time when expression of affection was more commonly just for those who were in love. Permissiveness of the display of affection seems to be leading to society’s downfall. Sure, many may call this “old-fashion”. So be it. Change isn’t always for the best.

    Like

    • Such a great strand of thought there, Glynis. Hugging someone or having an arm around them doesn’t mean that that’s love. It could be a sign of friendship or comfort and nothing more – and it can be hard to read. Sometimes that causes more hurt and disappointment. Agree with you on that.

      Like

  30. Well said and written as usual Mabel. When you love someone or care for them, it is normal to show affection and there are many ways of showing it. I am also one of those who don’t mind holding hands in public places or a quick kiss now and then, but the clinging and hot embraces doesn’t look good. I’ll tell them quickly to ‘get a room’. LOL!

    As for marriage – I don’t believe it’s part of ‘life’s things’. Too many young people get married too quickly and it ends up in divorce and if there are kids, they usually suffer. My oldest son is 30 today, no serious girlfriend and the same with the youngest that is 26. If they want to one day live with someone they love and they are happy, who am I to tell them to get married? As long as they are happy and healthy, I won’t ever stand in their way. 😀

    Like

    • Like you, personally I’m not one for slobering and feeling someone all over in public because I think some things should be kept special and secondly, that would probably block someone else’s way 😀

      For some of us, funny how when we love someone we feel the natural urge to show affection. I suppose some of us are wired that way and it’s all part of human nature.

      Agree with you on marriage. It may not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea. That is such a positive and open attitude towards your kids, Sonel. No pressure on them and they are free to find their own way. They must love you very much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Mabel and yes, it would most probably. 😆

        Yes, I am sure we are and yes, I agree. It’s all part of nature. 😀

        I feel people who don’t want to get married shouldn’t do it just because ‘society’ says so. They should do what’s best for them and live the way they want to. Too many marriages end up in divorces because of that. They do and know I love them very much as well. Thanks. ♥

        Like

        • I echo your sentiments, Sonel. Marriage isn’t the be it, end all. I think some of us see it as something that promises happily ever after, when in actual fact love and the way one expresses affection takes work.

          You could be in a romantic, non-marital relationship that lasts a long time, and you could have a careless marital relationship that lasts for a short while. Or maybe just as long. If I had to pick one, I’d pick the former.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well said Mabel and yes, marriage definitely isn’t about just love & roses. It takes work from both parties and so is any relationship.

            I agree. That is why I feel everyone should be able to do what they think is best for them, and not being decided for them. They should be free to choose without any judgements. 😀

            Like

            • Affection takes work, love takes work, any relationship takes work. Love and affection – and hence a relationship – works when we don’t force it.

              What is best for one person is certainly different to the other person. Same goes for how we define love, and express love and affection 😀

              Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi Mabel, Another wonderful essay on cultural nuances. Interesting, too, the changing attitudes of young people and how they are dealing with the pressures still imposed by the older generations.

    Like

  32. Liebe Mabel der Samstag neigt sich sein Ende zu es war ein sehr kalter Tag und keine schöner Sonnenschein hab einen schönen Abend mit vielen lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

    Like

  33. When I met my partner….25 yrs. ago, I had to learn to be physically affectionate.
    Our preference with one another in public is warm hugs /greetings, holding hands and light kisses.

    Sure, I grew up in a family that didn’t demonstrate affection except for babies and very young children. I did remember as a child, wishing occasionally that my parents would at least hold hands.

    But in hindsight, their faith, helpfulness and respect to one another daily, is the best lasting love a child to witness…that love is more than just kisses and handholding it is the expression of what you do willingly for the other person.

    What my parents lacked in physical affection for one another, they made up in long, long conversations with one another about anything and everything under the sun. Decision making on big ticket purchases was often a thoughtful dialogue of weighing pros and cons. Hence, I associate a reasonable marriage with lots of friendly, thoughtful dialogue and sharing of thoughts..like 2 lovers who are also the best of friends to one another.

    By the way, my mother was a picture bride: when she landed at Toronto Airport and was picked up by my father, it was the first time they met. They got married in a few days. So …I’m extremely lucky the match between my parents worked out ok (yes, they had some rough spots in marriage).

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing, Jean. I’ve always found it fascinating as to how someone who is not used to affection, becomes used to it. Sometimes they may never get used to it, but in your case you have. There must have been a point where you must have thought something along the lines of, “this is isn’t so bad”.

      “it is the expression of what you do willingly for the other person”. A great take on love. If a relationship is just physical and based on affection, hard to see that it would go the distance. Anyone can touch anybody, really, or at least work towards getting physically close to each other.

      Your parents certainly put family first and from the sounds of it, thought about things in the long-term. The more you talk with each other, the more you learn about each other and learn the meaning of give and take in a relationship.

      Like

  34. I always love the reflections that you make about your culture. We all have been influenced by culture and expression of love is no exception. My extended family didn’t really express affection or welcome it.
    Love – so complicated

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    • “Love – so complicated” You summed it up, Leslie 😀 Affection can be learnt. But sometimes we prefer to keep our hands to ourselves because that’s the way we are. It’s our personal choice.

      Like

  35. Interesting read. I know you’re writing from an Asian viewpoint, but from what I’ve seen of the world, couldn’t this topic apply to any culture and some religions?

    Off topic: Your opening paragraph mentions “stereotypical asian” twice – if you weren’t asian, that phrase could easily be interpreted in a negative sense.

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    • You are correct. Affection and love are universal across cultures. Just that different cultures might have different interpretations of it.

      It is true that not everyone warms to stereotypes. But fact is, stereotypes do exist.

      Like

  36. I am not Asian but would like to answer your question, from the perspective of someone who appreciates and respects Asian cultures. I am affectionate and have been shown affection quite openly with hugs, blown kisses and “I love you” at random points in conversation. If anything, I’m the one who blushes from all of that. I find that the embarrassment to show affection in public is multicultural and not just limited to Asian cultures. We have an idea that Spanish, French or Italian people are most open but some of my most reserved friends are from those cultures. If someone said that “Asians don’t like to show affection,” I’d challenge that assumption with my own very positive experiences.

    Like

    • “If anything, I’m the one who blushes from all of that.” Very honest and brave of you to admit that. Sometimes I do feel that way too and feel it inside…I wonder if it shows on my face.

      Yes, there’s a kind of embarrassment we all feel whether we’re receiving or giving out physical affection. It can be hard to read a person no matter what background they come from – you just don’t know if they will be open to affection (or the other way round). It is very thoughtful of you to stop by. Thank you so much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  37. A very interesting post! I grew up in a very religious family, and was never allowed to be alone with boys until I moved away from home, at age 19. Even then my step father watched me very closely, and interfered a lot. I think that is over doing it, unhealthy. I am a warm affectionate person, but only with my closest friends. I guess everyone have to find a balance that is right for them. For example, I know that many mom my friends wouldn’t think twice about sleeping on a (male) friend couch if they are traveling and needed somewhere to stay. Personally, I could not do that. We are all different. I think that’s a good thing.

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    • Sorry to hear that your stepfather interfered with your life. It must have been unsettling. You are right. Everyone is different and interesting to hear you mention that you couldn’t crash on a male friend’s couch (or bed) on travels. I have my reservations about that as well, and reason being safety but more importantly, what I believe in. It would really depend for me – on how well I know the person, whether I trust them and how tired I am.

      Like

  38. My family did not show physical affection at home Mabel. When I went away to college I visited my college roommate’s family one weekend and everyone hugged and kissed whenever there were comings and goings. By the end of the weekend I was kissed and hugged as much as any of them. From that I learned that there is indeed another way and the next time I went home I made a point of kissing and hugging my parents and my 4 brothers. While they were a bit shy about it at first, it soon became our family norm and now we kiss and hug with the best of ’em. I like it much better this way 🙂

    Like

    • Very interesting to hear you went from no affection to affection as you grew up. Something must have ticked in you when your college roomate and their family hugged and kissed you. When we touch each other, in a sense we are connected as one…and it can be hard to not feel the love if it is a friendly gesture. Good to hear your family warmed towards your kisses and hugs 🙂

      Like

    • I heard about that too, that it is not “man” for a man to show emotion and affection – it is a sign of weakness. Like you, I hope this will change because sometimes we can’t help feel what we feel.

      Like

  39. You know, my mom used to suggest me going for matchmaking events too, and she even once tried to engineer a meeting for me. I threatened her with “I will only come back for visit during CNY from now on” and that effectively stopped all her scheming.

    I’m surprised you know that matchmaking show from China! I loved it too… until the host said he will boycott Malaysia, that is… 🙄

    Like

    • Your mum and my mum think alike. If I threaten my mum with your words, she will only tell me off more, launch into a ‘don’t be rude’ tirade and go back to what she was talking about at the start.

      That Chinese matchmaking show is shown on Oz’s multicultural public broadcaster TV channel SBS, with subtitles. It has been getting decent views locally 🙄

      Like

    • That is such a good point, Meihsiu. Sometimes we prefer to let our actions do the talking, discretely, because that is our style. And you know what they say – the smallest actions often speak the loudest.

      Liked by 1 person

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