Anything Under the Sun
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Modern Cinderella Story
I didn't think that fairy tales can become true in real life. Well, I do hope that these "Girls" will have a "Happily Ever After" ending.
Who are the heroines you ask?
They are the Vietnamese brides married to Taiwanese men.
No cruel stepmother in the horizon. Just desperate parents who gladly exchange their daughters for a Princely sum of around US $ 3000 which is equivalent to what a family would earn in 10 years or more.
Prince Charming you say!
More like middle aged Taiwanese men, usually farmers who treat their spouse as nothing more than someone to warm their beds, produce babies and work on the farm. As it takes years for a Taiwanese farmer to save up money for a wife, he is usually middle aged by then. Did you know that in extreme cases a Taiwanese husband could be older than his Vietnamese bride's grandfather!
No jealous and ugly step sisters, only a society that ostracises and treat these brides as a second - class citizen. While Vietnamese mothers are ostracised at parent-teacher meetings, their children are ostracised in the classrooms and playgrounds.
The Fairy - God - Mother who comes to the rescue of these "Cinderellas" is none other that the Motherland of these brides, that is, Vietnam.
With a twist of the wand, these Vietnamese brides have a much rosier future. Suddenly having the role of a Vietnamese wife has changed. The wife is now the key to the new riches. Trading, manufacturing and property investments are all smoothened by the Vietnamese connections. Vietnamese relatives who used to only write pathetic letters asking for money now offer chances of investment that other Taiwanese have no access to. A Vietnamese wife has, almost overnight, (actually after about a decade or two) become an asset.
As Vietnam grows at the speed of up to 9% annually, the fastest in Asia, the status of Vietnamese in Taiwan is rising. In the past, Vietnamese mothers who taught their children their native tongue had met with objection form their husbands who saw no merit in it. Today, the ability to speak Vietnamese is a boon. Vietnam is looking so attractive that many Taiwanese want to retire there.
How will the story end?