A NEW DOWRY ITEM: THE COMPUTER
(This article was written at 90’s)
Min Huang is a banker in a small city in China. She surprised her new in-laws when she
showed them a computer in her dowry. It was there with the traditional items like furniture,
dishes and linen.
When the family asked about the computer, she explained that she wanted to improve her
professional skills. Her office was computerized. “I also hope to connect to the Internet at
home to broaden my horizons,” she said. When she told her parents that she wanted a
computer for her dowry, they didn’t hesitate to buy her one. They knew a computer would
be important to her and to her new family’s future.
People who study Chinese marriage customs are very interested in this story. According to
those customs, the groom’s parents are responsible for the couple’S housing. The bride’s
family supplies the daily necessities. However, the contents of the dowry have changed over
time. In the past, when rural people lived in fairly harsh conditions, they usually provided
grain and clothing for daughters who would soon be married. This showed their desire to
protect them from hunger and cold.
In the 1950s, farm equipment and animals became popular items. Parents hoped that their
daughters’ lives could be improved through hard work. Modern times, however, brought the
need for VCRs, stereos and computers. Through these dowry items, parents hope that their
daughters will be part of a successful, modern world.
Min’s parents said, “We want our daughter to be part of a new world. A computer is part of
that world.” Min completely agrees, and is thankful to have such generous and intelligent
A. What do the following refer to?
1. them (para.1)
2. one (para.2)
3. those customs (para.3)
4. these dowry items (paraA)
B. Answer the questions.
1. What was in Min Huang’s dowry?
2. Why did she want a computer? (Give two reasons.)
3. According to Chinese traditions, what are the bride’s parents responsible for?
4. Why did rural people give grain and clothing to a daughter before her marriage?
5. Why do Min’s parents think a computer is necessary for her?
6. What does Min think of her parents?