From the archives:
I think I have always been against Valentine's Day: so obviously constructed to play upon our romantic insecurities to sell cards and flowers. And when I see stories like this one, from today's China Daily, I am only confirmed in my opposition:
Florists, restaurateurs and jewelry makers have pounding hearts waiting a year for this huge business opportunity.
Romantic gifts at astronomical prices are popping up in China's big cities - commercialism is in the air, overshadowing the love.
In Beijing's Guohua shopping mall, a rose made of platinum was priced at 199,999 yuan (US$24,691). The life-size rose, weighing 258 grams, attracted curious buyers but no buyers.
Ah yes, the sweet smell of commercialism in the air. It's really rather pathetic. If you have to buy things to demonstrate your love, then that love does not run very deep. Confucius would surely scoff. For him, love must be performed everyday in the fulfillment of our duties to those closest to us. And Taoists would shrug. For them, love has a natural flow that cannot be altered by an array of material goods. So, who do I call to complain that taking on the claptrap of Valentine's Day runs counter to deep Chinese traditions?
Of course, after all of my protestations, I am trapped by the social expectations created by the "holiday," and I will buy my wife a plant, a flowering plant that she can put in the ground outside as soon as spring is far enough along. But I am still against Valentine's day...
(Originally posted: 2006).