The Promise: Love and Loss in Modern China by Xinran
"Heaven will never grow old, nor will my love for you.
Our hearts are like fishing nets,
tied together by thousand threads"
""Talking love?" you have this saying in English?
In English, we say "dating" or "making love", not "talking love". But there are no laws to language - only what we express and what we understand. What's so especial about "talking love" in chinese?"
The past century has seen more upheavel than any other time in the 5.000 - year - old history of chinese civilisation. The ways in which people show love for each other have also changed in the face of war and cultural development.
At home that evening, I started to look into the chinese term "talking love", and how its meaning has changed over time.
In a culture that traditionally forbade physical contact between men and women, "talking love" is a modern term, defined in the chinese dictionary as follows: "talking love" is a type of social activity. It is the process of cultivating love or interacting on the basis of love. It is mainly an exchange between two parties. Generaly, if the exchange is successful, you will marry, live together and rise the next generation. The moral requirements for "talking love" are as follows: First, respect human equality; second, consciously assume responsability for it; third, love each other with humility."
This impersonal chinese definition left me with a cold, empty feeling. The foundation of "talking love" is romance and the feelings it generates are invigorating, so how could this official annotation reduce it to something so completely void of emotion?
The traumas that chinese people have lived through over the past few generations have been caged in their memories. To get them to talk about what they have witnessed, one must find a way to help them open those cages."