Friday, January 29, 2010

Strange Chinese Habits 1 - Spitting in Public

One of the first things I noticed about my wife's behaviour when we first started to date was her constant spitting.

We would be walking in a shopping centre and she would frequently walk up to a bin and spit.

When walking on a public street, she would at times spit on the street.

This is not something particular to her alone, it is in fact quite common amongst the Chinese. This need to spit repeatedly is so common in China that the Chinese government had gone to great lengths prior to the Beijing Olympics to re-educate the Chinese against spitting in public.

So why do they do it?

I can't be certain.

It could be argued that its a reaction to the extreme air pollution in some Chinese cities, however my wife left China before it really began to industrialise with a vigour, and she herself has never experienced high levels of air pollution.

I would add that the spitting continues day and night, inside the house and out.

Although as a Westerner I find this practice quite distasteful, I have simply learned to ignore it when it comes to my wife. I have even learned to get used to the two or three times during our love making that she will stop, run to the bathroom, spit, and then come back.

But what I find disturbing is that now my son is starting this habit as well. There are times when I am simply having a conversation with him, and while talking I can hear him making a strange noise in his throat.

This strange shrilling noise is a common pre-cursor to the spit, and not long after, my son runs to the bathroom to spit in the toilet.

When I ask him why he does it, he explains that he doesn't know.

My wife did make a comment once that she considered mucous to be unhygenic and bad for the body, and so she prefers to spit it out rather than swallow it. Maybe its something as simple as that. We as Westerners simply clear our throat by swallowing, whereas the Chinese clear their throats by spitting.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bi-Racial Children

I found this interesting blog post on the particular complications a family is confronted with when having bi-racial children., from one of Australia's most popular online News sites.

People are often shocked to learn that CJ is in fact one quarter Filipino.

Yes, he looks like my clone - but unlike me, he does get a tan as evidenced by his thong marks acquired this summer.

For me, CJ’s looks have never been an issue. But for his father there has always been a concern that people look at him and wonder how he fits into the picture. Is he my second husband? Have I moved on rather fast? Is he the babysitter, the nanny?

He told me the other day that he has thought about what he would do if CJ was having a tantrum and refusing to walk with him (which being 19, almost 20-months old he does a LOT). He assumes that someone will think he is taking a stranger’s child. He plans to show them the photos in his wallet and tell them mater of factly that he is CJ’s dad.

I cringe when people look at the three of us and say “Geez mate, your genes really didn’t get a look in with that one”.


A friend of mine has a similar situation. While I think her daughter looks like her, she is often stopped in the street and asked about “her heritage”. It drives her nuts. Almost every day she has to explain why her daughter has blond curls while she has dark hair and dark skin. She told me “She’s my daughter, her looks shouldn’t matter, I shouldn’t have to explain everyday.”

As more and more people have inter-racial marriages, more and more couples will come up against this issue. It is also possible that I could have another child that has dark skin, dark eyes and black hair. CJ could look nothing like his sibling. I do wonder what the kids at school will say to them if they look like polar opposites.

But what do you think? Do looks really matter? Have you ever asked a mum or dad why their child looks so different to them? Has it happened to you? Does it drive you crazy?

Lastly, Merry Christmas everyone. I’m going on holidays with my boys for a few weeks. Naughty Corner will be back in the new year with a big surprise.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Inter Racial Divorce part 3

Well, this news item below is quite timely as it relates to my previous post on false allegations of child sexual abuse made disproportionately by separating Chinese born mothers. On the surface at least this is becoming all too common and very distressing for all Anglo fathers in inter racial marriages.


Sex abuse accused father fights back

LAURIE NOWELL | From: Sunday Herald Sun | January 24, 2010

A DAD cleared of claims he sexually abused his kids is now hitting back at his ex wife.

The man is accusing his ex-wife of perjury, assault and threatening to kill.

The legal action, believed to be a first for Victoria, will set a controversial precedent and could open the floodgates to similar cases.

"Bill", whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons, is alleging his wife deliberately lied when she made allegations that he had sexually abused their children.

His affidavit was accepted by the Melbourne Magistrates' Court last week, a hearing date has been set for next month and a summons was due to be served on Friday.

The case stems from a criminal trial during which Bill spent two years fighting charges based on his wife's allegations.

He was eventually acquitted, but the ordeal cost him his job, his home and about $450,000 in lost income and legal costs. The case is also based on similar accusations of sexual abuse of their children made by the ex-wife during a bitter Family Court battle.

The Family Court judge found Bill's ex-wife to be violent, untruthful, lacking moral values and responsible for the psychological and emotional abuse of her children - but still gave her custody of the two girls, now aged 9 and 11, because they had become estranged from their father.

By contrast, Bill was found to have shown "laudable forbearance in the face of the most challenging circumstances".

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show about 2.5 million Australians are denied access to family because of family law proceedings, and about 680,000 fathers see their children as little as once a year.

ABS figures also show 700,000 children have no meaningful contact with one of their non-custodial parents - mostly fathers.

Bill said yesterday he was bringing the case because he felt betrayed by the justice system.

"The Family Court have cut me off from my children effectively because of false evidence brought by my wife," Bill said.

"In 2005, she went to the police and made the allegations and then prepared the children on what they should say. The result was my kids were taken away from me.

"I proved my own innocence and that she had lied on both occasions - in the criminal trial and in the Family Court matter.

"My life with my kids was destroyed. If people can lie in court and hurt others by their utterances and statements, what is the point of the law?"

The case will intensify the current national debate over the operation of the Family Court and the principle of shared parenting, which is under attack by women's groups and is being reviewed by the Rudd Government.

Bill's ex-wife is facing charges of perjury, assault and making a threat to kill.

The charges allege that she knowingly and wilfully made 10 pages of false statements to police in September 2005 and perjured herself by repeating the allegations in a sworn affidavit during a Family Court hearing in 2008.

She is also accused of threatening to kill Bill in 2004 and of assaulting him with chopsticks and fingernails in 2000.

Law Institute of Victoria chief executive Michael Brett Young said private criminal prosecutions were rare, but not unheard of.

"This man will have to prove his case, like anyone else, in the criminal courts," Mr Young said.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Chinese and democracy

I do not often have the opportunity to debate China and its politics with other Chinese in Australia.

This may sound surprising given that I am married to a Chinese woman, am aquainted with many Chinese, and often have dinner with various Chinese born Australians.

Oddly, I have reluctantly concluded that I have a greater interest in China's history and its current politics than most Chinese that I come in contact with. This is a shame given the richness of the cultural and political landscape that is China.

I find that even my very own wife lacks any genuine interest in discussing the increasing prominence of China's actions on the world stage, and what its internal struggle for democracy means for those living in China. She is more interested in events that may impact her directly, such as the value of the yuan or the performance of the Chinese stock market.

There are however a few people I know who do have very interesting views on China, and who are not afraid to express themselves. These people have grown up in China, and so their views are of paticular interest to me.

Having said that I should state from the outset that not only am I an unabashed Sinophile, but that I also appreciate the difficulties that the Chinese government must deal with in order to keep such a large and diverse nation together.

Unlike many of my highly educated colleagues at my work, I do not take the view that democracy above all is the most important goal of a nation. Quality of life must come first, and it is here that I think the cautious but ultimately benelovent approach of the Chinese government shines through.

Make no mistake, I realise that the government has made many serious mistakes and that poverty and corruption is rampant in China, but I am speaking in relative and pragmatic terms, not in ideal terms.

What has really caught me by surprise however has been the general agreement on this point from those least expected.

Why is this so surpising you ask?

Well, these very same Chinese that I refer to were the same Chinese who as students in Australia in the late 1980s effectively defected from China after the Tianemen Square protests. These people had a rabid resentment for the oppressive Chinese government at the time, so much so that they permanently left China as a result.

These same people now praise the current Chinese government and defend its actions.

Surprising yes, but not remarkable given the changes in China over the last 20 years.

Overall, I think that the general political apathy of most Chinese Australians, and the otherwise supportive attitude towards the Chinese government's iron hold of the vestiges of political power, says a lot about the Chinese, their aspirations, values and their hopes.

It seems that at least for Chinese Australians, health, wealth and happiness is the ultimate goal of life, and although political freedom is a nice to have for most people, it plays little role in the thinking of most Chinese.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Inter Racial Divorce part 2

We have another friend who is going through a divorce.

He too is anglo, and his wife is Chinese.

What makes their circumstances so exceptional to me is that having known them for about 7 years, I have always considered them to both be responsible, decent and  level headed.

They have a 6 year old son, which they seem to dote over, and they were both clearly very good parents.

Now in the past Ms B made some incidental but ominous comments about the wife, which I disregarded at the time. Ms B told me that the wife would bitterly complain in private about her husband, but there was no substance to the complaints. Ms B described the complaints as being "child-like" and repetitious in nature.

Had my wife not told me this, I would never have thought this woman was child-like, nor someone who complained about her husband behind his back. She just seemed too nice and empathetic in public. In fact, she really won me over as a great mother and a great wife.

But clearly I was wrong!

Well, this couple separated about a year ago. Since then the husband has wanted to see the child 3 days per fortnight, but the wife refused. She would only agree to 8 hours per fortnight.

So after failing to get anywhere in mediation, the husband filed for greater access to his son via the Family Court.

In response his wife filed allegations of child sexual abuse.

Now I won't go into detail about these allegations, but to say that they are completely preposterous and bizarre.

I read the wife's statement and the allegations in full, as did Ms B. We both agreed that the wife was either lying or she is so disturbed by the divorce that she is deluding herself. In fact I had to pinch myself a number of times as there was no logic in the ramblings, apart from references to women's intuitition and references from the internet about bed wetting being linked to child abuse. She also supplied some selective snippets from the internet suggesting that any form of shared care was disruptive to children.

My final take was that this was all about child support, given that in Australia child support reduces if the child sees the other parent on overnight stays. Its the only way I can understand what has happened.

But now to my point, and this is eerily similar to one of the comments by a poster to a previous post.

The husband has hired a solicitor and barrister to represent him in Court.

He told me recently that while in a briefing with his barrister, the barrister said that in his experience, Chinese born wives are particularly malicious during divorce. In fact he mentioned that of the 5 most spiteful wives that he comes across per year in his work as a barrister, about 3 tend to be Chinese born.

Now make of this what you will, but if true, it is a worrying statistic for many fathers out there.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Why Asian Girls go for White Guys

A found this very interesting video that gives an insight into the thinking of many Chinese women.

Check it out.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Christmas & Religion

Well, Christmas has once again come and gone.

Just like most Australian families we put up Xmas lights and decorations, including a Xmas tree, and exchanged gifts. This celebration is pretty much universal and has little to do any more with religion.

However in keeping with my Protestant heritage, I also attended church, along with my son.

Ms B has historically resisted attending church except in the case of weddings and funerals.

She has a firm belief that there is no evidence that God exists, so she sees no point in performing strange rituals when there is no basis in them.

I have to say that if that is her belief, then its a fair point.

But like all human beings, she is just as selective with this rational as I am, I guess.

Ms B may not believe in God because of a lack of proof, but this does not stop her believing in Luck, or in Feng Shui, or in Numerology, or in any other number of cultish beliefs that seem to have widespread basis within the Chinese community.

I sometimes notice Ms B performing strange rituals at home to ward off Bad Luck, and she has even cost us a lot of money in re-positioning our front and back doors, in order to capture Good Luck in our home through good Feng Shui.

Now I too see no basis in these beliefs, but I tolerate them for Ms B's sake.

I guess this is what she too does for me with my religion.

What do you like/dislike most about Chinese women?