Hello boys and girls it is me again… I was reading an article this morning regarding an experiment that the newspaper did here in China and I thought it was a good topic to write about in my blog…. the part of the article that got my attention said this…
The Global Times reports that two online videos showing children telling their parents “I love you” have gone viral in China. The first, filmed by an Anhui TV station, shows a number of college students telling their parents they love them. The response are mixed. “Are you drunk?” asked one parent. In another similar video, shot by a Shanxi TV station, a father responded even more bluntly — “I am going to a meeting, so cut the crap.”
I laughed when I saw this because it was true… parents in China very rarely, if ever, tell their kids I love you. They also don’t hug them or kiss them after they are past the baby age. I felt it was so strange….. But Chinese people are not very touch-y feel-y….. with their kids…. Some say it goes back to Confucius teachings .. with marriage as being not about love but about power and business deals. Some, say it is from men not wanting to show weakness in front of their kids and wife…. I don’t know if these reasons are actually true.. but I do know that my husband says that it is because they show it with actions.
For example, if you provide for your kids, send them to good schools, make sure they have money, and help them to stay healthy…. then you show that you love them, they should already know… I find this very different, in my mind that is responsibility … not necessarily love…. I mean, I have helped many people and provided for many but it doesn’t mean I loved them all…. or did it? hummm
It is so complex… because they have the words in Chinese “wo ai ni” but … no one uses them…They will use … I like you… or I care about you…. but never … I love you. But on the other hand… I have been on dates in the past and the first thing they said is… I love you.… to my shock and surprise…. but they had only known me for about 20 minutes. (pretty hard to take seriously …. when that happens)
After researching it I have come to the conclusion that “I love you” in China doesn’t have the same meaning as in America. It is very difficult to explain our concept of love to local Chinese people here…. for them love/like are kind of interchangeable…. I asked some of my Chinese colleagues if they tell their parents they love them… they were like ….NO… and… I was like Why not? They giggled and said it feels weird…. to say it out loud … they were just nonchalant about it and just was like … you don’t need to do that…. Then I asked have you ever said it to your boyfriend or girlfriend… .they were like … No… they know. But I hear western men that date Chinese girl say that their girlfriend is always complaining to them about what they didn’t do correctly or what they need to do. So crazy…..
I was floored, because family is so important in China and kids are so important here but to tell them you love them is basically nonexistent
It really saddened me… I told my husband that we are not going to be like other Chinese couples… we are going to be like an American couple and tell each other we love each other everyday…. I explained to him that people like to hear it… even though it is implied. He agreed that it was a good idea…. and we make a point of telling each other we love each other at least once sometime throughout the day.
There are so many things changing in China with the influence of other cultures I just hope that they take … this from us too… Maybe it will help bring a little more happiness to some of these families and spread a little more compassion throughout the country…. well.. one can hope…Right?
until next time….