I had a rather unpleasant conversation with a taxi driver this evening about the role of men in families and society. It had to do with tradition and Chinese New Year.
It began seemingly uncontentiously with the driver talking about how young people don't respect tradition anymore, but unravelled into a spiel about how the father is the head of the family and when one visits a person's house for Chinese New Year, one must always offer one's oranges, signifying luck and prosperity, to the father or oldest male in the house. When I said I'd offer them to either parent, he was rather vexed and exclaimed, "The woman has nothing to do with it! The man must be the one to receive the signs of prosperity, and when you leave the house, the woman is the one who offers them in return to the visitor!"
He lamented about how men had given up their role as head of the family and let women rise in standing and take care of the family. And he offered an analogy of a tree growing in the soil. The soil is the mother, and the seed is the father. In his opinion, the soil is nothing and the most important thing to the tree is the seed. In other places, where there is soil and no seed, there are no trees. WTF?!
A misplaced sense of duty and responsibility is one thing, but I think what that driver had in his head was just male chauvinist crap. I was wondering if his wife and children hate him.