Yesterday I learned a new Chinese word: ‘qinre,’ which means ‘intimacy.’
When our teacher (Xi Laoshi again!) explained the word he mentioned an example of two young people being intimate. He said that the other day, he’d spotted two young 14-year olds on the bus that had been “completely qinre and oblivious to everyone and everything around them!!” You could tell this subject mattered for Xi Laoshi. While he told us, his face turned slightly pink and his voice got a bit squeaky. He was quite upset with the fact that people at that young age dared to show affection so openly.
“They should study, they should focus on school!” he said “When they are older than 18 they can get themselves a boyfriend or a girlfriend, but not before, it should be banned!”
Banned? Teenage love?!
Xi Laoshi blamed the teenage movies for “putting ideas into the minds of the young” and said there should be an age limit for when you can start watching two people being intimate on the TV screen (now, we are not talking hard core movies. More like ‘Mean Girls’ and other chick flicks).
“They are too young for all that…..” (He turned pink again). “They should not watch it! And they should not do it! The parents should be stricter!”
Few of us engaged in the discussion. Most of my classmates are Koreans and I don’t know how open they are about sex or affection over there. But one thing is for sure. Our dear teacher Xi laoshi is just another conservative Chinese man who is afraid of taking the word ‘sex’ in his mouth. Because believe me, he’s not unique in his way of thinking…
Two years ago I interviewed a quite famous sexologist in Beijing. She told me that the conservative view and the embarrassment about sex are huge obstacle for the sexual education in school.
“So many teachers are embarrassed about sex” she said. “It’s quite common that those teachers tear out the sex educational pages in the biology books because they don’t want to teach or talk about it.”
Yeah, that’s a great idea… NOT! Tear out the pages and there will neither be any discussion, nor anyone having sex. Or hang on a minute… could it be that it doesn’t work that way anymore? Actually, has it ever?
Sometimes I feel that a lot of Chinese ‘grown ups’ really need to grow up.