The conflict between traditional and modern values and beliefs.
The main character, Mr Edward T.W. Li or Ah-Wah, is a typical Chinese who has adopted a modern materialistic lifestyle and even English names. He lives in a big house with a swimming pool, he has a servant and a driver, and he sends his children to study abroad. Ah-Wah tries to teach his daughter, Ying, to have respect for the elders which is important according to traditional Chinese culture.
Ying clearly displays this conflict between traditional and modern values and beliefs. She helps at the altar but she does not believe in doing it properly. She cares about her grandmother and calls her by the traditional address 'Popo', but she still argues with her in a disrespectful manner.