Friday, November 19, 2010

Ghost Writer: Son-Father relationship

 pix source: baidu steven ma

asianfanatics #23

Discussions re-posted with many thanks to good friend, Akazukin.   
Akazukin: 09 July 2010 - 06:29 AM Most of the characters that he acted in the past was smart, loyal, and filial. But in here, even though he is smart, his ignorance and inexperience had made him an unfilial son... 

Tamaya: Akazukin, We’ve already touched on PSL’s unfilial conduct toward his father in earlier discussions on Steven’s thread.  Reposting them as the following quotes.

But I would like to add to your bolded statement. That indeed PSL's ignorance and inexperience had made him an unfilial son, initially; but his father has a hand in his unfilial conduct, too. Like the Chinese saying goes: 父不教,子之过 – A son’s misconduct can be a father’s fault. It was his father’s long term neglect that has misled PSL in his preconception of his father’s corruption and shady dealings. So, to be fair to PSL, if only his father has respected his son by talking candidly of their precarious situation, the tragedy could have been avoided. I can so totally see where PSL is coming from with his accusations.  PSL's father made the mistake of underestimating and disrespecting his son's intelligence, while overestimating his own. If a father treats his son as a child, the son will always remain a child in his eye, and the child can in time become resentful in a relationship where "father knows best.'  But of course, a son with a different personality from PSL might have indeed be a filial son, but PSL is who he is.

And rambling on:
Ironically, PSL has inherited his father’s righteousness and compassion for the weak and the poor, so when with his own eyes and own ears he saw and heard how their competitors and their workers were so vengefully and shabbily mistreated by his father over a slight, he was filled with indignation, anger, disappointment and disillusion. Like how it tends to be with the young and untried, the feelings felt are all the more deeper and magnified, especially when the perpetrator is one’s own father.

Whereas, his father has years of accumulated life experiences dealing with the real hard world, PSL’s life experiences, on the other hand, are derived from a sheltered and easy world of a pampered and quite spoilt young master. Moreover, not only does he not have a father’s guidance, he doesn’t even have a mother’s love while growing up. He has only his servant and animals for companionship. But still, much to PSL credit, he grew up to be a good and compassionate man; his unfilial conduct is not an inborn flaw in him, it is a cause and effect arises of misunderstanding and lack of communication and mutual respect. PSL is heartbroken, totally heartbroken when he realizes just how much he has wronged his father. 
Steven's PSL is delightful to watch. Even though I have to disagree deeply with his character sometimes, especially at the scene he was scolding his father after all his father had done to him. However, for the first time watching such scene where I disagree with the child, I can actually where he is coming from. I love the mix of emotion he showed in that scene. He is still that naive single perspective child who can't see his father's perspective. Yes, he is smart but doesn't mean he has been through enough to feel his father's shoes. And the complex angst he showed in that scene, I love it, he is mad at his father, he disagrees with his father, his retaliation at his father was very disrespectful in terms of ancient standard, but he can show his love to his father and his family at the same time.
After all his father has done for him --- problem is, we, as the omniscient viewers, can see that but PSL can't. He sees what he thinks he sees or perceives, and through colored glasses to boot.  So I too can totally see where he is coming from. Lots of family tragedies down the ages happened and will happen precisely because of this disparate and sometimes irreconcilable younger vs older generation pov.

Indeed, that. But to be honest, if PSL hasn't been so spoiled and ignorant about how his father manages business, it wouldn't be so hard to understand his father's action, even if he is not in his father's shoes. But of course, it is partly his father's responsibility for never explaining to him in the first place. I think the scriptwriter did very well in capturing this kind of gap between the two generations, but of course, the actors also did well.

Kids always hold their parents to a much higher standard, therefore more censorious of their parents’ transgressions or what they perceived as transgressions than on other people’s. Moreover, their youth and lack of life experiences often inflate their idealism hence imbuing in them a tunnel vision on life and a sense of entitlement. The passion and fire that burn ever so strongly in their ‘tunnel’ are precisely because they have not being tried by life, therefore, can’t put themselves in their elders’ shoes because they just can’t see or feel their elders’ life experiences. (Steven once wrote this caption in his book that parents remember every little single thing of their kids’ experiences, conversely, kids often don’t try to understand or want to know their parents’ past life experiences.)

Until his near death experience, PSL has been carrying this huge chip on his shoulder against his father, which when augmented by his impetuous personality, his volatile emotions at the time, a son’s sense of superiority and condescension towards his father, a spoiled young master’s sense of entitlement, and an inflated sense of misplaced righteousness and ego, made the altercation scene with his father especially explosive and emotional.

You captured and fleshed out PSL's shortcoming really well. I honestly think that his misunderstanding with his father is largely and critically due to him being indulged in the financial abundance he had been born, growing up, and living with ever since he came to life. In that sense, he took it for granted, never understood that earning money is never that easy to begin with, and he also does not understand what lack of money can do to him or his family. That's why sometimes over-protective parents are actually putting their own children at risk in long run. Those that let the children bear the burden with them, from the very young age, train their children to be prepared at the real world when they grow mature. Those that only gave the best to their children when they were young would only send the children to a rough ride when they grow and once they find out that all the beautiful world is crumbling upon them to reveal the real world.

Both PSL and his father are depicted as the flawed son and father that can be commonly found even in today's society, which makes them heartfelt to watch and easy to relate to. It also send out a good warning to people that may misunderstood their parents.  Agreed. The scene was brilliant and both of them were so strong in buying people's perspective to theirs, that you can agree and disagree with each of them, yet you understand and feel for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment