I often relay to people the story of my flight over to China back in January of 2005. I had travelled quite a bit at home and abroad, but had never set foot in the Middle Kingdom. My total combined knowledge of China at that point was a rough hash of info compiled from reading The Rape of Nanking a year before in Thailand, watching House of the Flying Daggers and hurriedly thumbing through my un-worn LP China guide. Basically, I knew nothing.
What I knew less about, however, was kids. More than the strange culture, weird food, and unknown living arrangements I was hurling myself towards; teaching a bunch of kids was the source of my in-flight sweats.
I new jack about kids. Despite having two younger sisters and being the oldest of all my cousins, I had had remarkably little exposure to little kids. My pre-landing opinion was basically that they broke things, liked to always have jam on their hands for impromptu Spiderman competitions, and often got away with things I couldn’t get away with because they were smaller and their eyes were proportionately larger.
However, since coming to China I’ve realized something: I love kids. Not in the Gary Glitter way or anything, just plain love how kids are cool. Much cooler than I previously thought. They know how to make the simplest things fun, they ask a lot of important questions (“what’s your favourite food?” and “do you like dogs?”) and generally are quite agreeable additions to the planet.
So, when I heard about a charity that specifically helps kids, in China, I was eager to get involved and do what little I could with this blog to get the word out about them, and as such sent off an e-mail inquiring about it. What I got back was a little surprising:
Now this will probably sound a little odd, but I looked over your blog a bit and think our board would probably rather not have [the charity] referenced there. We have a VERY g-rated audience including many children, and parents may not be happy with us if googling [the charity] leads to a little more colorful language than they like their children to see. I personally find your writing quite entertaining, but hope you understand why we might turn down your kind offer.
As you can see, the response, though very kindly put, expressed that I’m not kid-friendly enough to promote them. This really made me think. It’s true, I generally spout off in language that I’d use in day-to-day life. Sometimes I even push that, just to prove that I can and should always be allowed to. But to be honest, not until reading that letter did I realize that there’s a whole sub-section of society that strongly disagrees not with the things I say, but rather the way in which I say them.
This of course brings me back to my post about profanity (currently outranking any other page on this site for Google-brought viewers), and makes me realize how much emphasis we put on the ‘types’ of words we use.
This isn’t the first time people have shown distaste for the language on this blog. Back when I first arrived in Suzhou someone linked to one of my posts on the local Suzhou Expat forum and mentioned that some people should check it out. The link, apparently, was deleted – as Suzhou Expats didn’t want to have any sort of association with a ‘blog like this’ out of fear that they might get their site blocked (which oddly enough, as of this writing, it is).
Going back further, I was initially denied Google ads because I had made the colourful comment that China ‘has made me a racist’ after having one of the baddest of Bad China Days.
Perhaps I feel a little strongly that everyone should be given the choice for themselves on what’s offensive and what’s not. Perhaps if Google displays some search results that disagree with you, you should up your Net content-filter, cancel your cable subscription and go on pretending ‘that kind of world’ doesn’t exist. Or perhaps, just maybe, people should step back and realize that there are a whole lot more ‘evil’ things in this world than words. Particularly words that aren’t about hate, encouraging violence, or even being all that mean. Snif.
Anyway, it’s still a good cause, and though I’ll not ‘taint’ their cause (or burn out their children’s eyes) by placing my site with theirs among the Google results by including its name – you can visit it here.
As for the Suzhou Expat Association – are there any male members? If the URL remains blocked, they should see if www.taitai-rific.com is available.