May. 27, 2020

WHO DECIDES WHAT'S RIGHT---WHAT'S WRONG?

I was in a tiny village near The Great Wall, desperately searching for boiled drinking water and Chinese peanuts-- my only source of protein-- when I saw the very young Chinese boy in “split pants”.

The instant he saw me--a tall white-skinned woman wearing a large backpack with numerous bags hanging from my waist--he began crying hysterically. So frightened, so fearful of the stranger, the little boy ran in search of his grandmother, his caregiver. I watched as the child’s grandmother scooped him up, sat down with him on her lap, and immediately put her hand between his legs. As the grandparent cooed and babbled in some rhythmic, sing-song dialect, she also stroked the little boy’s penis slowly, in a very-familiar manner.

Soon the little boy stopped crying and began to smile.  Then, little by little, the young child laughed, ever-so-softly.  In a few short minutes, the child’s eyes slowly closed and-- just-like-that-- he was asleep. There were villagers everywhere-curiously eyeing me-all wanting to know where I’d come from and why I was in their village.  They were all-around the grandparent and the child---but not-even one of them seemed shock at what the grandparent was doing to stop the child’s crying. No one was concerned that a grandparent was masturbating her grandson.  No one, that is, except me.

For the rest of my Great Wall journey, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d seen. I was horrified to believe this was a common practice among Chinese. I must know the truth.

Almost five years later, when I returned to China as their first Communications Specialist, I learned the truth. Living among the Chinese People, I quickly noted that young Chinese couples gift their parents with their one-child-only….then become fulltime professionals with one goal—to make lots of money. These young couples are parents in name only.  Traditionally, young Chinese are too busy making money--to raise a child. Their parents--the grandparents-- are responsible for raising the one-child-only because ....for centuries...that’s what Chinese Grandparents do in their retirement years.

I never got "use" to it but-- every day-- I saw very young children-- male and female-- being masturbated in Beijing Parks, on street corners, even in McDonald’s!  It was the accepted method for stopping tears, for ending emotional upsets, and the best method for putting a cranky baby to sleep.  And, it was used by both Chinese Grandparents.

Yes, It's an ancient Chinese custom that's been passed from one generation to the next and…apparently…is not related to anything sexual.

Even today... writing about the interaction between Chinese babies and their grandparents… makes me uncomfortable. Living there for nearly ten years, I learned how vastly-different the Chinese Culture is when compared to America’s Culture. 

There were many other customs/traditions I experienced in China, more I’ve written about, and many-more I can't accept.  Nevertheless, the Chinese customs/traditions will never stop me from loving both the country and the people.

I won't change my opinion BUT----Who’s to say which culture has it right?

Sally Miller