Your first course of action if you found out your husband was sleeping with the secretary:
- Confront him, eager to talk about what's happening to the marriage (35%, 32 Votes)
- Take the kids and leave him -- no second chances (33%, 30 Votes)
- Pretend you don't know, and/or sleep with the handsome Chinese tutor (16%, 15 Votes)
- Hire thugs to beat him up (but not kill him) (12%, 11 Votes)
- Other (I'll write it in the comments) (4%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 92
Gasp! Shock! Over dinner last night, I heard the latest expat community/Shanghai international school scandal. Here’s the form of the rumor that made it to my ears (I’m being very clear that this is how I heard it, not claiming that it’s 100% true):
The Western head of this (for now unnamed) international school’s Hongqiao branch was caught cheating on his Shanghainese wife with, surprise surprise, his (also Chinese) secretary. This school head and his wife have been married for a number of years, and have young children. The wife, who is well-connected, responded to her foreign husband’s infidelity by hiring a group of thugs to put him in the hospital (a “beat him up, but don’t kill him” type of thing). So now he’s indeed in the hospital, with a swollen, unrecognizable head.
The couple I heard this from are a Western husband-Chinese wife pair themselves. His comment after relating the story: “If my wife did that to me, and darling I know you never would, I would also hire some thugs to beat her up.” His wife’s response: “Never mess with a Shanghainese Tiger lady.”
The scandal stayed with me when I got home, and the rest of the evening became a “who was wronged” debate between myself, myself, and myself:
Christine 1, on the Shanghainese wife’s side: Clearly, the jerk deserved it, right? He had to go and be such a disgusting cliche! First, to cheat on his wife; second, to cheat on his wife with the secretary; third, to cheat on his wife with another Chinese woman, his Chinese secretary — yellow fever, mister? And he has young children — was he thinking of them when his penis went astray? He hurt his family, so damn right he should be hurt in return! What’s being beaten up compared to destroying a family? Tit for tat.
Christine 2, sympathetic to the Western man: But then again, tit for tat should have been the Shanghainese wife leaving him and taking the children with her; if she wanted revenge, kicking him out and then using her connections to make sure he never saw his kids again would have been cruel enough. Resorting to such violence is just uncalled for. And if the wife is crazy enough to be capable of such things, I can understand why he needed to be with someone else.
Another question is whether she would have hired someone to beat up her husband if he were Chinese. Is it easier to hurt a foreigner, because she felt more wronged? Why didn’t she just humiliate him in public? Did it become a foreign/Chinese war? A loss of face?
Christine 3, on neither one’s side: Both of them are repulsive human beings. Him for doing that to his family, whatever reasons were behind it, and her, for being a mafia-connected lunatic that makes my Superior Chinese Girlfriend sound like a wallflower.
My ever-practical boyfriend put an end to the debate by pointing out the real wounded party in this case: the children.
“They are going to be living with the consequences of this for the rest of their lives,” he said sadly. “Imagine living with the knowledge of what both your parents did, that your father cheated on your mother (and everyone in the community knew it), but also that it didn’t stop there — your mother hired people to beat him up until he ended up in the hospital. Imagine when the kids are older, and they’re making friends, and dating — it’s going to be something shameful they feel they need to hide from the world.”
And he’s right — since there are children involved, it would have been nice if their mother had been strong enough to refrain from revenge for their sake, even as Tiger blood coursed through her veins.
Note: If you know the details of this incident, don’t post the name of the school or the names of the people involved in the comments — I don’t need Chinese thugs sent after me as well. Thanks.
Update 22/04/2011: Someone has tipped Shanghaiist in defense of the husband, saying he never cheated, and the wife is just crazy. Am curious about which rumor is true, but like Elaine Chow says, “Divorce proceedings sure get sad once the husband and wife are no longer cut-out character villains, and the break up of a family (no matter how crappy the family) never seems as funny as when it was just a sound bite to gossip about.”