It's amazing how one is able to remember a specific conversation which took place more than 20 years ago when one was about 18 years old. It was during one of those camping trips we had organised to the Police Bay in Pulau Gaya.
One night, some of us gathered to discuss about the mysteries of life. We talked about Buddhism as a way of life (as opposed to a religion); we talked about the many different meanings of richness to different people. This topic, that topic; and then finally we got to talk about marriage and compatibility between spouses. Bear in mind that we were all still teenagers then.
Someone said that he did not care very much about the looks. He said the most important thing to him was the "inner qualities" of the woman. If I'm not mistaken, by "inner qualities", he did not mean it in the physical sense. Or did he? It's been such a long time since I last saw him. I heard he's happily married and has three kids now. But I've never met his wife. I'm curious to know what his wife looks like. Well, anyway, I remember vividly that it sounded a bit unnatural somehow—that I've read or seen all these talks about "inner qualities" from some books or movies.
Another friend put higher priority on family background and upbringing. He was convinced that those were significant factors to choose the right woman! He said one can't go wrong very far that way. Maybe he's right, I don't know.
Yet another friend said that he would prefer a girl who's attained more or less the same level of education as him. He reckoned that if the girl was not up to his level of thinking, they'd have difficulties communicating at the same wave length. I argued that education can't guarantee one's level of intelligence.
I had a different approach. I let fate decide. This thing about looking for that special woman with specific "inner qualities", with commendable family background and upbringing, and compatible level of intelligence did not sound very natural to me. I reckoned that if I tried too hard to stick to a predetermined formula, I might never find that dream girl!
And so it happened that one fine day I met a girl who's not exactly a beauty queen and far from what anyone could describe as sexy. In fact, she was so skinny that if she gained 30lbs overnight, no one would have noticed the difference. She came from a moderate family with a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. And she wasn't very brilliant in school too. But we shared a common interest in outdoor adventures. We travelled a lot; went to Selingan Island and watched the turtles lay eggs. Went mountain-climbing several times too.
About 4 years later, we were married. I then pursued my degree in estate management while she pursued a law degree. It wasn't smooth all the way, especially during the earlier years. One thing about being married to the legal people is that whenever there's a debate, you will know that you're up against a huge concrete wall.
I still think she's not the smartest woman around, and I sometimes find it hard to make her understand the simplest of things. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that her breasts are a bit undersized, I don't know. But contrary to what my friend thought many years ago, it's not exactly a bad thing if the woman isn't very smart. In fact, it can even be a blessing in disguise, if you know what I mean! Intelligence has its pros and cons.
What really matters to me is her determination and will power whenever she sets her mind to achieve anything. Because she has that attitude herself, she can easily understand me whenever I'm obsessed to achieve whatever I want to achieve.