Monday, April 26, 2010

A kinder, gentler one-child policy

Yesterday the Cape Cod Times carried this article: Demographers warn of baby shortage in China, as many Chinese choose to have one child.

It reminds me of something our Beijing guide said: "We are all only children in my generation. As only children, we got more opportunities. However, when I get married, we'll have to support my parents and my wife's parents AND our own child. It will be very difficult."

The Chinese, we learned while we were in China, love children. They always have. But it's been 40 years since having a large family was normal and expected.

Things change so quickly there. We can't imagine what it's like. You can't imagine it and neither can I. I've tried and tried to put myself in the shoes of the everyday Chinese citizens who have to make life decisions based on the Government Policy Du Jour. I try to imagine what AwesomeCloud's parents went through that led them to giving him up. And i can't. It's too far outside my personal experience.

1.3 billion people living on the edge of a cliff during a 40-year-long political earthquake.

For all I've read up on Maoism and modern Chinese communism, the one thing I've really learned is that I don't know a thing about what it's like to live in it.

So I hope - not that I've ever had a problem with this before, but you never know - I hope no one wants to form an opinion about the circumstances leading to AwesomeCloud's adoption. I guess I should clarify that this rant is inspired not just by the above article, which is written for Western consumption and does not convey the earthquake politics I'm talking about. My more dedicated readings have inspired it.

I think everyone should read a good, solid book on Maoism at some point in their lives... but I'm also aware that my sense of Important Reading Material is... well... a bit thick, but in my defense, we all live on this Earth, right? Doesn't it make sense to want to learn about life on Earth, and then, while doing so, want to share that knowledge?

Also, I can't lay out my entire thought process in a single blog post, so I feel it would be easier on me if my audience exposed themselves to my context in their own time.

Okay, essentially, I'm too lazy to explain how awed I am by the Chinese/American cultural divide, and why. Sorry.


  1. Your posts are always different! And thought provoking thats for sure!