Friday, November 07, 2008

Subtle Glimpses of China's One-Child Policy

While Steve and I were out on a date the other day, I was struck by something simple, yet very indicative of the mixing of Chinese culture and politics. We were in the gift shop associated with the cloisonne factory and I was browsing through all of the trinkets, vases, ginger jars, and...chopsticks...chopsticks decorated with beautiful enamel flowers and swirls. While these were certainly a wonderful demonstration of Chinese handicraft, what was odd to my eye was the way in which they were sets of three. So used to even numbers, twos, fours, and sixes, which is the way many things are packaged and sold back in the US, it was strange to see three pairs of chopsticks in a box. Then, of course, it dawned on is a tiny, yet very visual display of Chinese family pair for ma ma, one for ba ba, and one for xiao hair.

Later, as we headed back home on the subway, my attention was drawn to two large billboards in the station. Each one depicted a "happy" Chinese family...Mom...Dad...and child. What was compelling here was that, in both advertisements, the child shown was a daughter. Given the gender imbalance issues that are part of China's current state, the focus on girls as part of a happy family is subtle, yet apparent once you know what to look for.



At 2:26 AM, Blogger praja said...

haii :)


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