That was what I mumbled at my age 19 when I encountered new world, new type of relationship I'd never seen ever in my days; old White men and teenage like young girls in Thailand and the Philippines. Wherever I was, shopping malls, streets, beautiful islands within Southeastern countries, I was able to see lots of couples like them. I naturally thought, girls might desperately need money and passport, and old men looked for young beauty - such a great exchange and deal under official social form called 'marriage'. The overflowing social symptom was interpreted as 'power paradigm - colonization', 'overused power' between Whites and non-whites, West and East, the haves and the have nots
Years later, I could get a chance to examine this matter closely for my research paper titled 'international love'. Behind of this contemporary issue, there was historical factor I figured, wars. During the West-East war periods including Vietnam war which hugely impacted on human life, tons of American soldiers landed these regions and they made lots of contacts with local women which continually affects on current culture. Also, thousands of local women moved and settled down in Americas through 'men'. I sometimes found couples that men had disabilities, or injured physically and ladies took care of him; they were the alive evidence of the wars and love relationships. In the meantime, local women eagerly searched methods to escape from hopeless their home filled with corruptions, colonization, poverty, yes, absolute survival game. White men were the most effective and safest way of sustaining their life, White men were their money, VISA, love, and simply everything.
'Do you really sincerely love each other?'
I'd always wanted to ask them, 'love' might be extravagance to two desperate people...? Passed years again, I visited the interesting paradise like countries again. It happened to me sitting next to a couple - an old German and a Filipina and a really beautiful 6 years old girl - and chatting in a breathtakingly great sunset beach. I just listened to them how they met, how long it took to build their beautiful and stable love life, how painful and touching time they gone through to reach where they were. A gentleman treated me fancy cocktails saying he's really enjoying being my company and appreciating me understanding warmly their stories. The more I got into their stories, the more I realized they were a total normal couple who fights, argues, loves, cares, and gets jealous. His eyes were frequently fixed on his wife and his daughter with mild smile; she smoothly patted his shoulder, her eyes were full of love to him I could read - wow, that was a real love that I didn't even fully experienced. They had kept this love for almost 20 years, till this old man turned mid 50. I sincerely wished their eternal love and cheered our last glasses watching golden orange sunset.
Moved up to Manila, I gathered with 4 local Filipinas and we started typical 'girls talk'. They opened up whole their love relationships from lesbian loves to international loves with mostly White men, Europeans and Americans. The jerks played, did drunken international calls, stole money from their girls, left ladies, but at the same time they had met girls' family, promised, told them beautiful words, kept in touch, and loved. Interesting stuff. Normal things were found from them, lovers. Women blamed and missed them while they were lost in memories that they buried in deep mind.
My conclusion was they were in LOVE, not general love but more special love beyond the language and cultural barrier with respect and open mind. I was shameful and weaker in front of their red passionate loves and emotions. I also remember that I overheard 'guys talk' among my male travel mates aged twenties, well educated, from Europe and Americas "can't stop thinking of her, such an intelligent and nice girl!, really want to see her again, I don't know how to ask her out! blah blah." Some guy really changed his trip plan to stay longer with a local lady. Actually, our generation were undergoing the same situation falling in love with locals not because of wars, VISAs, or money but of pure chemical connections.
Love is endless question and homework as long as human history runs, and we always look for a true love. They have met and found loves crossing miles miles and oceans by destiny. Of course, exotic culture and time usually get us make mistakes too easily and lose our judgement and weaken logic, however, love is meant to be silly anyway. There are countless terrible cases we shouldn't oversee as well when it comes to international marriage or international love relations - oh seriously a lot to talk! 'Japino, Kopino' problems, and unbalanced/ gaps marriage ratio within the local men and women, and more - but I believe in something more positive and beautiful. I intend to focus more on real lovers' stories for now.