Commie Copies Clutter Canada

I never said I wasn't a sucker for illiterations.

So, with wedding looming, it's a bit ridiculous to think that the topic of babies and such hasn't been breached with Maggie, rather 'by' Maggie. Chinese get married to have babies, ah, a baby. Just ask any mother in law. Actually, you won't need to, as if she's yours and she's Chinese, she's likely already asked you when the little bundle of boy is on its way.

'Babies' has always been a vague and loose concept that was way in my future. As was marriage, so I recognize things change. In truth, before coming to China I was scared of kids. Scared I'd break them, couldn't relate to them, etc. Now, having worked with kids on pretty much a daily basis for two years, I'm comfortable with them and don't at all get the willies when considering having my own – and aside from shooting a kid in the eye with a suction cup gun, haven't broken a single one.

I've sort of maintained one firm thing about Maggie and I living in China – once babies come into the picture, we're not. I know LOADS of expats raise babies here, and I've a great friend here that is doing it with his Chinese wife (wait, that sorta came out wrong… but well, technically fits as well) and their baby is healthy and happy.

The problem I see though, once you get past the air pollution, crap education system and hapless hospitals, you hit the cold hard fact that you just can't trust things in China. A baby trusts us, the parents, for everything. As us parents can't provide everything, we're forced to trust others. Namely, well respected companies that produce products that aren't going to harm our pudgy little droolers. This trust just isn't possible in China.

In 2004 milk powder made headlines when counterfeited copies of major brands were found in many supermarkets. The counterfeited products looked and tasted the same as your regular stuff, missing one major ingredient – any form of nutrition value above sawdust. This resulted in the death of a bunch of newborns and caused a "crackdown" on such products. A crackdown that did little good apparently.

So, raising a kid in China = dangerous. This is a country that counterfeits eggs for christ's sake. Eggs!

Well, turns out nothing is so cut and dry. Apparently a return to Canada is beginning to run the risks of similar problems. This recent CBC article explains that counterfeit business in Canada has increased by 1,000 percent in the last decade (as compared to 75 percent for regular business). Unsurprisingly, the products are coming from China… 

Sorry Magz, you're going to have to breast feed the kid until puberty, psychological problems or not.

Canada has one redeeming quality over China in regards to the proliferation of fakes – it has a lot more consumer rights. Perhaps this will change in China before we have a mantou in the steamer. Not to tread on my previous post, but as fast as landscape changes in this country, things of a civil nature tend to be wrestling with the second coming for last place.

9 Responses

  1. We left China after our first child was born, but not so much for the health/safety/pollution reasons you cite. More because of the rigid ideas they have about child rearing and the need to do everything a certain way – kids have got to have a certain kind of food, x hours of sleep, and you will be bombarded with instructions from all the aunts and uncles grandparents etc. If you let them, your Chinese in-laws will have your kids dosed up with health tonics, glucose injections and will be practising maths and the violin before the age of four.
    If you do anything the western way you will be branded as bad/casual/uncaring parents. China is actually a very child-friendly place to have kids for a short while, but you don’t want to put your kids though the Chinese education system.

  2. “little bundle of boy”:

    Freudian typo or brilliant cultural insight?

    PS I don’t think I could raise my kid in a place where open-assed-pants are the norm. (then again, I don’t hink I’ll ever have kids — babies are too fragile!) My American co-worker has just had a baby w/ his Chinese wife and they plan to stay here w/ the extended family while the baby’s small, but move back to the US before he starts school.

  3. @Michael: I hear ya. I am certain that if we did stay in China with a child, we’d be moving closer to Maggie’s folks – this has all the advantages of support and all the disadvantages you state.

    @Hek: You inspired a confused comment in an e-mail from my aunt… and I just have no way to explain it to her.

    @Sarah: Hey, someone had the chance to come down and see me in the summer but didn’t make the drive 😛

    @Meg: I don’t know about brilliant, but it was purposeful. I’ve often pondered if I could market the open-ass pants thing to adults as the latest style from Japan.

    @Steven: I wonder if it will catch on. “Like a Chinese typewriter”, mean ridiculously large and complicated, is another one I am itching to coin.

  4. Everything seems to always follow in an order, or at least everybody tries to make it follow the order. Marriage->House->Baby.

    I wouldn’t want to raise my kids in China either, but mainly for the reason of education and schools. I’m not sure I agree with the methods used to educate kids in China.

    BTW even without open-ass pants some Chinese kids are still able to relieve themselves in public. All you need is a helpful relative to hold the kid allowing him the freedom to piss into a trash receptacle or just let him stand on a bench and piss into the bushes. This is a little nugget of knowledge I gained when some distant relatives joined us for a shopping trip to a trendy, upscale, outdoor shopping center.

    Of course you might need to adjust your hold on the kid if it’s a girl and not a boy. Maybe just hold her over the trash barrel until she finishes and then shake dry.

  5. As I approach my own impending nuptials, it’s been on my mind as well…a friend of mine in Beijing once said, “In the West, you fall in love, get married, and have babies to stay married. In China, we get married to have babies, and somewhere down the line we fall in love, too.”

    Yeah, it confused me too when he said it. Congratulations, man.

  6. As for the safety issue, it’s a tricky subject. But like you, I’ve strongly suggested to YJ the many benefits of the American birthing and child-rearing experience. I mean, even Da Shan raised his kids in Canada. That said, unlike you guys, we here in the US have to find the health insurance to cover all the costs…

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