Do you like babies?
Then come to China, come now! Really, stop whatever you’re doing and get on a plane.
Even with the current, although soon to be amended, one child policy, China is overflowing with babies, toddlers and young people. The ten minute walk from my apartment to the subway usually consists of me trying not to step on, walk into or knock over any of the many small humans who are no higher than my knees.
They’re like ultra-cute, cuddly bundles which bring a smile to my face, especially as I don’t actually have to be responsible for any of them and can therefore do normal adult activities like get a full night’s sleep, eat my meals in peace and watch whatever I want to on TV.
Proud grandparents care for the majority of these babies and toddlers but they’re regarded generally as precious by all of Chinese society with lots of pampering going on.
It’s not unusual to see a security guard holding the baby for its mother as she does her banking at the counter. Adults give up their seats for them on the subway or the bus and some parents will let them do what they like, resulting in a lot of spoiled kids.
On more than one ocassion I’ve witnessed children shouting at, kicking and hitting their parents who do nothing in return, not even an admonishment! Couldn’t get away with that when I was growing up.
The parents are probably mindful that payback comes when the child starts middle school and their formerly carefree life is swiftly replaced by a block of relentless learning and regurgitating, according to the Chinese education system, for a period of seemingly un-ending years.
In recent times China has relaxed its one child policy which at some point in the near future could result in even more squeezable teddy bear shapes for me to ooh and ah over as I’m shopping for groceries, buying my newspaper and sauntering through the oasis of calm that is a Chinese park.
As long as they don’t physically abuse me, I’m not complaining.