Not Quite A Mud Mask

Everytime I start to feel like I understand China Yantai my tiny neighborhood in Kaifaqu, something happens to remind me that I’m far away from home.

Today Dorothy, another teacher, walked into the madhouse we call an office, giggling and holding a glossy leaflet. Kaifaqu is full of folks who hand out advertisements on the street. I can usually duck these by shouting can bu dong (can’t read! can’t read!) and running away, but sometimes someone is so pushy that I end up with a glossy ad for aluminum siding or something else I don’t need and can’t understand.

“Meg, guess what this is!”

“Yeah, yeah, my sister already bought porn by mistake. Those girls on the covers just look so innocent!”

“Guess again!”

I searched Dorothy’s booklet for a clue. There was a twenty-something girl in a sundress, three smiling nurses with a huge bouquet. Another girl was napping in her night gown, a couple raised their glasses in a toast, another cute nurse talking to another female patient, and Angelina Jolie in lingerie.

It’s a brochure from a local abortion hospital.

I flipped through the booklet, wondering exactly how one advertises abortions. After safe and legal, what is there to say? I stared at the hundreds of Chinese characters and then I realized that Dorothy can’t read Chinese either. “Wait a moment, how did you find out what this is?”

“I thought it was an ad for a spa,” she said, “so I took it to the office and asked the secretaries to make an appointment for us to go together.”

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0 Responses to Not Quite A Mud Mask

  1. Rog says:

    Hi Meg, first of all thanks for quoting me and repeating the L-or-M experiment in a probably better setting.
    Your blog about advertising abortion is very interesting. I guess, by doing so, sex before marriage becomes more acceptable. I mean, everybody knows that everybody’s doing it, but as many things in China, nobody speaks about it. So in a way, by reading about abortion, we read about sex before marriage. Is that logic? In China, it is.

  2. The Humanaught says:

    Hey Meg… hilarious.

    Hey Rog – abortions are birth control in China. Despite condoms being everywhere, and pill availability (both the morning after variety and the standard issue make-you-fat variety), many Chinese men refuse to wear a condom and many Chinese women refuse to take the pill due to the side-effects…

    Abortions aren’t really education on sex before marriage – just bad birth control all around.

    You’re right though in that there’s no logic on the lack of information regarding sex before marriage.

  3. Meg says:

    @Rog I really have to disagree with the idea that accessible abortion leads to premarital sex or the aceotance of premaritial sex. It wasn’t too long ago that China had forced abortions for married women and at that time premarital (or extra marital…) sex was definately not acceptable!

    I do agree with you + Ryan that sex-ed is virtually non-existant in China. it seems like yet another thing that everyone pulls out the the cultural ether.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ll stay out of the abortion debate for the moment and just focus on the wonder that is Chinese marketing…Abotion clinic or spa: you be the judge. Great post.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I like your story.
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