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Strip for 6/20/2001  
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Have I got a story for you.

How this relates to the strip: I think I've toned down a lot in my pursuit of women this year. You faithful readers of these blurbs might laugh at that, but really, these adventures were largely lived last year and only written about now. So yes, this year, in the interest of completing enough classes to graduate on time with 2 majors, I did find myself working instead of chasing girls.

What happens when you stop chasing? Well, you really stop meeting new girls and hermit status ensues.

What happens when you don't have a steady girlfriend? You become setup fodder. Well, if you are Chinese and are considered to be "such a nice, good boy. And oh, ho lang chai."

So here's the story. For the past couple of months, this lady who is an acquaintance of my parents has been trying to get me to meet her daughter. The family owns and runs a nice Chinese restaurant and we've had some banquets and such there. Anyway, it started out as just a passing idea that must've germinated into a full blown Plan at some stage or another. The problem became that the Plan's opening stage, the two of us meeting, always got postponed for some reason or another.

It almost became a running gag for my mom and me. "Oh, Auntie F. (Chinese people call all older acquaintances of their parents Auntie and Uncle. We're not setting up some incest thing here.), Auntie F. wants you to have lunch/dinner/random food event with her daughter." My mom kept making excuses for me, which wasn't very hard since I was so busy this year. But Auntie F. got more and more insistent, to the point of utter inefficiency. Excuse: "Well, Justin will be in Chicago at school." Lightning response: "Drive to Chicago? For lunch? Sure!"

Let's ruminate for a second on this concept of arranging for the next generation of Chinese kids (well, making sure they're fully Chinese, for one). I was the victim of the most far-reaching prank in my family's history: staging a "betrothal" for me on my 13th birthday while we were visitng relatives in Malaysia. So I've been thinking in some fashion about the whole institution for about 7 years. Now I realize that this situation was not the entire marriage contract and dowry and all that craziness, but it's the same idea. Keep the bloodline pure and all that. Cut down on cultural surprises ("Mom? This is my girlfriend, Moonshowercometstar. Whup, mind her thumb piercing").

But let's look at it with post-millenial second generation eyes. Most people picked by parents probably only appeal to... parents. And how is a parent going to know if the person to be met likes subtitled films, modern fiction, and long form improv? Parents just don't ask that sort of thing. Then there's the whole mental game. The parents expect that you'll like the person, so of course, there's determination to not like them. Because if perhaps the cosmic lottery has come up with the winning ticket, who'd want to prove their parents right?

Next strip: The setup happens. The story continues.