Monday, May 11, 2009

Taiwanese and Children

The Taiwan people love kids. No one hesitates to stop and talk to the boys (and Amalia) and it is a feeling that is pervasive through all walks of life. Rich people, poor people, white collar, blue collar, young and old -- everyone loves kids.

Now I know people in America and other western countries love kids, too. What I am talking about is how openly this manifests itself in everyday life. It is not just western babies, but all kids. I am sure ours get some extra attention because of the novelty, but the sentiment is ubiquitous.

My favorite is when we go by construction sites and the builders will fawn all over the kids, or trips to the supermarket are another highlight. We can go shopping sometimes, and the nearest stranger will take our child(ren) around the store while we can shop in peace. In the third part of this riveting three-part series, I will talk about how this has affected the boys' attitudes toward strangers.

I have heard similar statements about Brazilian culture with regards to attitudes toward kids. In fact, we went to a Brazilian friend's house here in Taipei last year and saw first-hand how affectionate they are with kids. So what is it? What makes it more acceptable for these cultures to publically show affection for other people's children? It is most certainly a combination of factors including both the homogenistic nature of the people and the extended family homes. 

It is not uncommon for grandarents, parents, kids and sometimes even aunts, uncles and cousins to live under one roof. Moreover, some kids live with their parents into their thirties. This is one aspect of Taiwan we would definitely miss if we were to leave.

This is a picture of Elliot as a baby. We were at a bus depot in the south of the island when the man in charge decided he would take Elliot off our hands for us. I can't remember how long Elliot slept in his arms for, but I am pretty sure he was awake when the man took him from us.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, I can't read you blog when Angel is around, because she starts pestering me to have kids!

    Too much inspiration