Tuesday, October 14, 2003

It's a man's, man's, man's world...
or at least a little boy's world here. There's a term, "young emperors" that describes the way males are revered and raised here. Because of the one child policy and because males are valued more, having a son means you've won the birthing lotto. (And when was the last time you heard of a Chinese boy being adopted in the US?) Boys are also often spoiled beyond belief.
Cases in point:
* While at a McDonald's, foreign devil coworker Jeff and I are annoyed and startled when a 5-or-so year-old boy wanders up to our table and repeatedly tries to grab our fries. I almost slap his wrist lightly and we both shout at him (Yes, "No, you little fuckwad!" may have been the term I used, your honor) , drawing stares and glares from other tables. His parents - who are sitting about seven tables away - have been allowing the little bugger to happily frolic from table to table filching fries and ours is the only spot where he's been pulled up short. Mutters of general disapproval grow and we exit a bit sooner than we normally would've.
* While walking back to the Lucky Number Apt. after work I watch a woman overseeing five children across a busy street. All appear to be around 4 years old - three girls and - BINGO - twin boys; a vertible Bio-Powerball Jackpot. She carefully and firmly holds the twins' hands while allowing the girls to make their own ways threading perilously and erratically through the nonstop stream of cars, bicyclists and motor scooters.
The result, I think, is that women here - if they don't get mowed down in traffic - probably grow up to be more resourceful and self-sufficient. Virtually all of my younger Chinese male coworkers are surprised that I cook for myself and have admitted they don't have the slightest idea of how to prepare anything except instant noodles. One even confessed that he isn't sure as to when it is that water exactly boils.
"Wait for the bubbles," I tell him with authority. "That's what we do in America."

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