Saturday, February 16, 2013

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Taiwanese logic: Buy shoes to grow hair

2/16/2013 Taiwan Explorer

My brother-in-law's baby daughter (my wife's niece) is 3 months old now and she doesn't have much hair (which I believe is nothing unusual at her age). A few days ago the young family went to Kaohsiung to visit the little girl's grandparents, the mother's side of the family. This is part of the obligatory Lunar New Year tradition, where the married daughter has to return home to visit her parents on the second day. Everything was fine until the proud grandpa pulled down the baby hoodie and saw the lack of (thick lustrous) hair on his beloved granddaughter. "Naturally" both grandparents became concerned, but they also came up with a quick solution. Guess what they've proposed? They asked my wife to buy shoes for the little girl, so that the hair will grow faster. How this is correlated is beyond my comprehension, but apparently "the aunt shall buy shoes", if a baby's hair is not growing fast enough. My wife's parents, northern Taiwanese, don't believe in this superstition, but they're still pushing her to buy the shoes as soon as possible, so that her brother's in-laws won't lose face. In Taiwan you better don't challenge your in-law's proposals, even if they seem absurd to you - comply and keep harmony - this is usually the best option. I do wonder, if the new shoes don't grow a lion's mane on the little girl's head in the shortest time, what will be the next remedy they'll propose. Hopefully not an expensive ritual at a temple.