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Thread: Forcing Your Child to be a Eunuch vs. Starving to Death

  1. #21
    Senior Member Ace High's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Life is very very tough back then, but if I was in that situation then I would decide not to have any kid at all. I would not want to create children and let them live a life full of miseries with little hope. At least, when I die, my misery ends. I can rest in peace with nothing to worry about. What is great about having children to pass on the family name if they have to live in misery with little hope.
    The choices weren’t yours to make if you were born in those eras. Your marriage will be arranged by your parents when you were just barely a teenager; 12 – 14 was a norm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Life does not need to be full of luxury, but you must have all the basic needs. It's better not to have children if you can't provide things like: roof over the head in a safe neighborhood, decent food on the table, public education (it's free) then some college/university, basic healthcare (it's free), basic phone, basic cable, basic internet and at least one decent (can be secondhanded and not luxury) car in a family. I think that is all the requirements. Things like million dollar house, luxury car (Ferrari, Mecedes, BMW, ect.), iphone, Ipad, Macbook are not required.
    You are judging the ancient by using modern’s standard. Even your basic needs are ‘modern needs’, not their basic needs. Back then, there was no free public education, and education was a luxury rather than a need. There were no free basic healthcare, no phone, no cable, no internet and people went around walking (and no public transport either). Rather than ‘decent’ food on the table, it’s just ‘any’ food on the table (and if there was a table at all).
    You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree

  2. #22
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Life is very very tough back then, but if I was in that situation then I would decide not to have any kid at all. I would not want to create children and let them live a life full of miseries with little hope. At least, when I die, my misery ends. I can rest in peace with nothing to worry about. What is great about having children to pass on the family name if they have to live in misery with little hope.
    Well, that was life in the old times. We have to judge their actions by evaluating their values, beliefs and circumstances back in the ancient dynasties. Let me give you an example of their lives.

    Say you are girl from a common family. You are eldest out of eleven kids. Since age 5, you have been helping your folks out in the fields. You cannot go to school as foods stops when hands stop. You get betrothed when you are 12 to some guy have never met in your life. You get married at age 13, only to find out that your husband is a middle-aged invalid with only one leg when he lifts your red cloth for your head. He probably cannot earn much with his disability. Luckily, he had a small lot of land for crops. But then you have to do all the planting, watering, fertilizing and harvesting all by yourself as your husband is disabled, your in-laws are old and he has like three children from his previous wife who is now dead.

    You are tired as hell cos you slave from dawn to dusk on the fields, then come home and have to wash, clean and cook. Let's say your husband luckily does all the firewood collecting and chopping to help you out. You flop onto the bed wanting to sleep, then your husband taps on the shoulder and wants to be intimate. You tell him no, because you are tired/too poor to have more kids/don't like him, etc... but he says "Shut up, stupid woman, you belong to me because a woman must be submissive to her husband". You still object and he smacks you around. You still say no and he forces himself onto you and has his way with you. At dawn, you have to work in the fields again.

    Three months later, you find out that you are pregnant. Your husband and in-laws are over the moon cos but you don't want the kid. What do you do? You tell your husband and he slaps you around, tells you that "Not having an heir is a greater fault than being disrespectful to your parents". You still don't want the kid. It is not harvest season yet and you barely have enough money to buy rice, not to mention buy abortion herbs. So you go into the river and stand in the waters, using the cold to kiss your own kid. You are half-dead when you are rescued and brought back home. Your in-laws hate you and your husband bashes you again. Do you think you have any time to recover? No, mouths need to be fed so off to the fields you go the next day.

    Say several months later, your husband has his way again and you get pregnant again. Say you try the river thing again and the whole vicious cycle repeats itself. You either kill yourself, or run away (get captured and beaten to death/raped by bandits along the way, etc...) Your parents cannot support you as they have ten of your younger siblings to feed, plus, you don't belong to them anymore as you are married and they force you back to your husband. After some beating, you finally decide to have the kid, (or you kill yourself)

    But when the kid is only a few months old, there is a horrible thunderstorm/drought and all your crops are wiped out. This mean that the money you used to buy the seeds are gone and you have no income despite all the arduous hours you spent. If you are lucky, you can see your ox or sheep or chicken. Your husband is cranky because of financial problems and beats you to let out his anger.

    Then famine breaks out due to the natural disaster and lots of people become bandits. Your house gets robbed and you have no food left. The government wants more soldiers to be conscripted to control these outbreaks so they send men to drag away your eldest son who is probably around age 11,12 off to join the army. But they do not pay your for his services and it is his duty to serve his country. then men sent to gather the kids also take your remaining ox/pig as army food. They see you and want to force themselves on you as well. You cannot resist because they have weapons. But your husband does and gets beaten up. So you are left with no eldest son, your husband has his remaining leg broken, your in-laws have been killed, no food/animals/grain and you have like three screaming kids to feed.

    As a young (say age 15) uneducated woman with plain looks, what can you do to support the family? No one will lend money to you are they are poor too. You can (a) become a servant/washer woman but there are too little jobs with too many people applying (b) a low-paid prostitute. Say you became a low-paid prostitute. You do not get paid much even though you sacrifice your body day and night because you are not a virgin and worthless, you are not educated, not pretty and does not have special skills). Your kids are still screaming and hungry what do you do?

    Then some childless rich man hears about your baby boy and wants to purchase him to adopt as his own and pass on the family name. You can either let the man take him for a sum of money to feed the remaining two, or keep your kids and die of starvation all together. At the same time, the brothel you work yet wants to buy your 9 year-old daughter as a trainee prostitute. But the rich man would like to take your infant son in, as well as employ your remaining two kids as servants so they will be clothed and fed. What do you do? Do you decide this rich man who says he will provide for your children (but you don't really know him) or keep your kids and die of hunger together?

    Lets say this rich man never comes along. Your infant son develops pneumonia and your daughter dies. Your husband kills himself out of grief and shame as he has not fulfilled his duty as a husband/son/man/father. You bury them in the hills as you have no money for a funeral. But your infant son is still sick.

    Then your neighbour tells you that the Imperial Palace in taking in young eunuchs for a small price, enough to buy an oxen or some seeds to grow crops again. She tells you that at least in the palace, they will have food, shelter and if they are lucky enough to be favoured, he might even be able to give you some money. You horrified by the idea and refuse.

    But the 8-year old son she is referring to suddenly collapses. He is nothing but skin and bones. He is malnourished and will surely die within months if he does not get enough food. You still have an infant with pneumonia who will die too if there is no money for treatment. What do you do? I will leave the choice up to you - we do not need to hear your answer. But you have to aware that you have to make a choice as a parent in these circumstances, not as an outsider from a life of luxury.

    Life sucks, and when it does, it really sucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Life does not need to be full of luxury, but you must have all the basic needs. It's better not to have children if you can't provide things like: roof over the head in a safe neighborhood, decent food on the table, public education (it's free) then some college/university, basic healthcare (it's free), basic phone, basic cable, basic internet and at least one decent (can be secondhanded and not luxury) car in a family. I think that is all the requirements. Things like million dollar house, luxury car (Ferrari, Mecedes, BMW, ect.), iphone, Ipad, Macbook are not required.
    Even some od your basic needs are luxuries. Compared to the olden times, that type of life was only a dream. I think back then, they were more worried about being killed/kidnapped/robbed/raped while walking home from the market by thugs/criminals/bandits/hostile marauding enemy tribes/rich oppressors. Preserving life came first, then food, then shelter, and only then, so luxuries and ideals come into the picture.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace High View Post
    The choices weren’t yours to make if you were born in those eras. Your marriage will be arranged by your parents when you were just barely a teenager; 12 – 14 was a norm.
    I would tell my parents that I am not ready to get married. I am too young to live up with such responsibilities.

    You are judging the ancient by using modern’s standard. Even your basic needs are ‘modern needs’, not their basic needs. Back then, there was no free public education, and education was a luxury rather than a need. There were no free basic healthcare, no phone, no cable, no internet and people went around walking (and no public transport either). Rather than ‘decent’ food on the table, it’s just ‘any’ food on the table (and if there was a table at all).
    I live in modern day so I talked about the needs in modern society. The basic need in ancient society would be 10 mu of fertile farmland. A house in a safe village with enough food for 2 years in storage in case of famine and few hundred taels of silver save up so children can go to school, learn martial art or emergency. Daily food can be simple such as plain rice/congee with a plate of meat (pork/beef/chicken/duck) or a plate of fish/seafood/, and a bowl of vegetable with bone soup or plate of mixed vegetable. Simple fruits from local farm should be available at home for snack on a daily basis. Luxury food such as sharkfin soup, abalone, geoduck, king crab or lobster are not needed.
    Last edited by Trien Chieu; 09-15-13 at 09:55 PM.

  4. #24
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    The story you made up is very extreme. Probably one family out of a thousand.

    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    Even some od your basic needs are luxuries. Compared to the olden times, that type of life was only a dream. I think back then, they were more worried about being killed/kidnapped/robbed/raped while walking home from the market by thugs/criminals/bandits/hostile marauding enemy tribes/rich oppressors. Preserving life came first, then food, then shelter, and only then, so luxuries and ideals come into the picture.
    Luxury?? You are considered the things I listed below are luxury?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Life does not need to be full of luxury, but you must have all the basic needs. It's better not to have children if you can't provide things like: roof over the head in a safe neighborhood, decent food on the table, public education (it's free) then some college/university, basic healthcare (it's free), basic phone, basic cable, basic internet and at least one decent (can be secondhanded and not luxury) car in a family. I think that is all the requirements. Things like million dollar house, luxury car (Ferrari, Mecedes, BMW, ect.), iphone, Ipad, Macbook are not required.
    These are very very basic things that you need to have in modern day in Canada. If you work hard and live responsibly, it's almost certain that you will able to afford all these things.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Ace High's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I would tell my parents that I am not ready to get married. I am too young to live up with such responsibilities.
    Your opinion does not matter at all to your parents and the society if you were born back then. Whether you like it or not, you will get married with the person your parents have chosen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I live in modern day so I talked about the needs in modern society. The basic need in ancient society would be 10 mu of fertile farmland. A house in a safe village with enough food for 2 years in storage in case of famine and few hundred taels of silver save up so children can go to school, learn martial art or emergency. Daily food can be simple such as plain rice/congee with a plate of meat (pork/beef/chicken/duck) or a plate of fish/seafood/, and a bowl of vegetable with bone soup or plate of mixed vegetable. Luxury food such as sharkfin soup, abalone, geoduck, king crab or lobster are not needed.
    You are judging the ancient by using modern standards, which is hardly fair at all.
    How do you expect to have a fertile land when there is a wide spread famine?
    How do you expect to have two years storage of when you are working hard just to earn the day’s food?
    How do you expect to save a few hundred taels of silver when even the rich have to sell their lands?
    Do you even know how much the average peasant families back then make per month?
    You plant a garden and the flowers do not bloom, you poke a stick in the mud and it grows into a tree

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The story you made up is very extreme. Probably one family out of a thousand.

    Luxury?? You are considered the things I listed below are luxury?

    These are very very basic things that you need to have in modern day in Canada. If you work hard and live responsibly, it's almost certain that you will able to afford all these things.
    And you keep judging things from a modern Canadian perspective. Get it into your head that, until one or two generations back, the situation you're now in was the exception, and the further back you went, the extreme exception. You called the story charbydis told to be an extreme exception, one in a thousand. It would be more accurate to call someone with your present supposedly basic amenities to be one in a thousand, and the story charbydis told to be more representative of the general peasantry. Read up on surpluses and the historical ratio of rural and urban populations. Put yourself in a typical historical Chinese situation, and your expectations would leave you starving and extinct within a generation.

  7. #27
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I would tell my parents that I am not ready to get married. I am too young to live up with such responsibilities.
    Hey! We are talking about ancient Confucian China where a woman is not considered a human but a property. There is no concept of self for an ancient Chinese woman; in your youth you belong to your father, after marriage you belong to your husband, and after your husband died, you belong to your son. You father can sell you to a brothel if he wants to and you can do nothing about it because you are socially considered his property.

    Furthermore, if we are talking about peasant class, having a daughter is a liability. Their belief is that sons will stay with the family and carry on the family bloodline and support them in their old age. Daughters eat a lot, and sooner or later will belong to someone else.

    You are lucky that they actually marry you off properly with rites and a dowry instead of selling you cheaply for an ox. They do not want waste limited resource (food, education, etc..) investing in a daughter that is an imminent loss rather than a son who will be a profit.

    You can argue all you want but your father is legally binded to a betrothal contract which can be brought to court if broken (i.e you run away or you annul the betrothal). Considering that your father is poor, he cannot afford to pay the compensation as well as suffer the social humiliation of a broken betrothal. He can smack you around, starve you, tie you up and gag you, etc... but you will be delivered to the bridegroom's bed on the date of the said wedding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I live in modern day so I talked about the needs in modern society. The basic need in ancient society would be 10 mu of fertile farmland. A house in a safe village with enough food for 2 years in storage in case of famine and few hundred taels of silver save up so children can go to school, learn martial art or emergency. Daily food can be simple such as plain rice/congee with a plate of meat (pork/beef/chicken/duck) or a plate of fish/seafood/, and a bowl of vegetable with bone soup or plate of mixed vegetable. Simple fruits from local farm should be available at home for snack on a daily basis. Luxury food such as sharkfin soup, abalone, geoduck, king crab or lobster are not needed.
    Well, we are not talking about modern Canadians sending their sons off to be eunuchs so lets stick to ancient Chinese peasant class, where dried meat (fresh meat is a luxury) is only reserved for special occasions (festivals, weddings, etc..) Do not even think of seafood. Being peasant class, the more they sell, then more they earn. The bulk and quality crops are sold off for the annual income before winter hits. Only the low quality goods (if they is any leftover) goes to the family's pantry. Snacks are a luxury. The more you eat the less you sell. White rice is a luxury. You are lucky if you even get coarse grain for food. Try sweet potato or dried corn.

    You are definitely kidding about the savings of food and money right? If people had 10 mu of land, then they will be landowner class and not peasantry and can afford to employ workers. Most peasants rented land from landowners and their rent will be deducted from their income, regardless of harvest quantities and weather conditions.

    We are talking about survival, not comfort.

    I really think you should read up on ancient China peasant class so you can come to a better understanding of everyday expenses, their difficulties and their way of thinking. Do not base it on TV series because they whitewash everything. If you have trouble understanding, then look into modern third world Africa where famine, corruption, war, pillaging, natural disasters are affecting the people's everyday lives.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
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    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    If you have trouble understanding, then look into modern third world Africa where famine, corruption, war, pillaging, natural disasters are affecting the people's everyday lives.
    Regarding suffering in Africa, it's mostly self inflicted. If they are willing to work hard like people from other countries, they will not be where they are. Africa has lot of natural resources such as oil, gold, diamond, ect.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    If the families had more than a son, sacrificing one to secure income and survival wouldn't be too much, I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    If the families had more than a son, sacrificing one to secure income and survival wouldn't be too much, I guess.
    Human life is precious, not something can be sacrifice for monetary gain. People should not create the children if they don't have the means to raise them which include basic food on the table and education. Children deserve better.

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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Human life is precious, not something can be sacrifice for monetary gain. People should not create the children if they don't have the means to raise them which include basic food on the table and education. Children deserve better.
    They didn't exactly have the best birth control methods and knowledge back in those days. Depending on how you look on it, life may or may not be over as an eunuch but my personal view is that a person's life is not determined by his/her ability to create children. I mean, it's pretty sad if that's the only thing going on for you.

    And speaking of preciousness of life, if sacrificing one could ensure a better life or even survival for at least a few others, usually it won't be too difficult of a decision to make.
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 01-22-14 at 10:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    They didn't exactly have the best birth control methods and knowledge back in those days. Depending on how you look on it, life may or may not be over as an eunuch but my personal view is that a person's life is not determined by his/her ability to create children. I mean, it's pretty sad if that's the only thing going on for you.
    There is something called ABSTINENCE. Life is not over as a eunuch but no one should be forced to become one. If a grown man wants to become a eunuch, I have no problem with it. However, it's wrong to force a child against his will to become one.

    And speaking of preciousness of life, if sacrificing one could ensure a better life or even survival for at least a few others, usually it won't be too difficult of a decision to make.
    I am against it as life is precious. For people who don't have the means to raise children, don't create them. It's wrong to create them and then sacrifice them like animals.

  13. #33
    Member XiaoYe's Avatar
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    Some interesting replies here and great story charbydis, I enjoyed reading that.

    Trien Chieu, have you met people without much education and are having a poor low life? What do you think of them? Do you believe they can do better than they are now if they just worked harder and expected less? I have to say I do agree with how in think in some respect. It's true that if people expected less and worked harder, it's not hard to put food on the table and have basic needs. However, over time, I realise that sometimes it's not as simple as that. As I grew older (and hopefully wiser. lol), I realised that everyone thinks differently. For some things which might seem obvious to me, might not be so obvious to other people and vice versa. So while I think working hard and slowly building my wealth is something very basic and easy to do, some people find it hard. It's hard for some because of their personality, they just don't work the same way as I do because we are different. It may also be hard for some because they didn't have as much education as I was lucky enough to have. So they don't see as many options in their world. They may not have had as many experience as me so they can only choose what they have seen, which may be very limited. They can't choose to do things that they are not aware of, or that their brain is not capable of thinking of something beyond their knowledge. They haven't been taught to 'think' for themselves the was we are encouraged to think outside the box since we were young. You might sometimes wonder why some people are dumb enough to take drugs, well, I would say it's because they couldn't think of the consequences. They couldn't think far enough and conscious enough for them to make a wiser choice. You might also wonder why some women who live with violent families don't leave and start their own life. I would say not all women are lucky enough to have a decent education. They don't know enough of the world outside to make that decision. They fear their husband or parents, but they fear of living on the streets with nothing to eat as well, because they don't know how to make a living themselves. They are weaker than you and I because they were never taught how to choose a better life. They may never have had education and seen the outside world, so they don't have the courage to make an alternative choice. While we can continuously judge them and say things like they brought this on themselves, but I do believe that one of the main attributing factors is their lack of education and the way how society makes them feel.

    Now back on topic and into the ancient times, education is scarce. Only noblemen had a chance to be educated, and even then, they were taught the believes and values of their time. Peasants would never have had the privilege to be educated. The only thing they were taught is to work hard, get married, have kids and carry on the family line, and the cycle goes on. The average peasant don't know how to read, so there is no chance of self studying, not to mention that books aren't just laying around in a library for them to help themselves. Books were precious, there was no mass printing so books are usually hand written and there are limited copies. Only the very elite would have books. They also wouldn't go on trips to explore the world and have first hand experiences either because they would be working as soon as they can. The only experiences they will be having is how to plough the field, how to cook, how to farm, etc. They really don't know much about the world apart from what is told to them from their parents, which don't know just as much.
    You and I might come up with a few options to earn some dough and have a basic living, but for them, they might only know 2 ways, or 3 ways, and if the other 2 doesn't work out, then they are left with one way. It's not that they don't want to think up of more ways to make a living, but they really just physically can't think that much. They have already reached their thinking capacity and to them, this was their best option. The way we think is shaped by our environment, it's not entirely up to ourselves. If we were able to think independently from birth, then children who were raised by wolves would know better to leave the wolves and join human civilisation.

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    XiaoYe, you are a master of political correctness. People are not born equal but ultimately it's their personal choices that lead them to where they are. No matter how poor they are, if they are willing to work hard and live responsibly they may not get rich but they will be ok. Even the Mexicans, with no documents, working in the US by picking fruits for less than minimum wage still able to make it. Did you watch the reality show "THE FIRST 48" from A&E? What do you think of the criminals in the show? They are US citizens, mostly young, physically strong and english is their first language but rather than working for a living they deal drug, rob and murder for a living. Do you blame society for their wrong doing? Sorry for being not politically correct.

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    Trien, no I haven't watched the show 'The First 48'. I am in Australia and that show hasn't been broadcasted here. However I think I get the idea of the show, and we have people like that here too. I admit it sometimes is frustrating to think about why these people are like that, given opportunities are more abundant in today's society, and in modern countries like the US.
    Yet coming back to ancient China, I wouldn't say the opportunities are the same. Also, I don't know if this is true, but I would say their brains and intellect may not be as developed as modern day humans to think of the alternatives?
    Plus, some people are just....not that smart. Fact of life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XiaoYe View Post
    Trien, no I haven't watched the show 'The First 48'. I am in Australia and that show hasn't been broadcasted here. However I think I get the idea of the show, and we have people like that here too. I admit it sometimes is frustrating to think about why these people are like that, given opportunities are more abundant in today's society, and in modern countries like the US.
    Australia is just like the US and Canada, the land of opportunity where you can earn a living easily by working hard. Yeah, who is to blame for those people situation? No one else other than themselves. Since you live in Australia, you know how easy is it to earn a basic living. But no, for those people working is not good, it's better to rob, deal drug and murder. They should be rot in jail for what they did if there is no death penalty.

    Yet coming back to ancient China, I wouldn't say the opportunities are the same. Also, I don't know if this is true, but I would say their brains and intellect may not be as developed as modern day humans to think of the alternatives?
    Plus, some people are just....not that smart. Fact of life.
    Life is much much harder in Ancient China. However, for lot of people, they should not create the children they could not afford to raise properly. What is good about carry on the next generation if the next generation is dirt poor with a very very harsh life?

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    Life is much much harder in Ancient China. However, for lot of people, they should not create the children they could not afford to raise properly. What is good about carry on the next generation if the next generation is dirt poor with a very very harsh life?
    I believe this is a fairly modern idea and concept. In Ancient China, I don't think they thought of it this way. People had children because it was in their nature, it was part of a process, they had children to help with the farm, but the farm isn't doing very well and isn't feeding everyone. There is famine everywhere and....they may not see their kids the way parents see kids today. In the modern world and in many modern societies, parents adore their kids and they are irreplaceable. In Ancient China (or even in some parts or rural countryside in today's world), children are seen as objects and assets. There isn't such a strong attachment to them, and if they have many kids, it probably doesn't mean much to give them away. Just like how there are still arranged/forced marriages today.

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