The Chinese government recently decided that all spermatozoa donated to Beijing’s main sperm bank must be loyal to the communist party.
Good idea! But how do you check? You can’t interview them.
Sperm bank staff make it clear that sperm donors must be card-carrying party members with Correct Political Attitudes, which means atheists who “love the party”. This will prevent fertilised eggs growing into offspring with Dangerously Wrong Ideas, such as “maybe the world is not actually on the cusp of being taken over by the glorious rising sun of Communism”.
There are similar concerns around the world. If a gay couple from the United States wants a baby carried by a surrogate mother in Asia, the Medical Tourism Corporation promises to scour India to try to find one of a particular belief group, so they can make sure the initial cells of their child-to-be are Jewish or atheist or whatever — but the company points out that most available mothers are Hindu or Muslim.
Yet maybe the main culture of the next generation will be something else altogether. A baby in the UK recently spoke his first word, the Caters News Agency reported. Instead of “mama” or “dada”, little Joe Brady said “Alexa”.
May be “digital assistant” gadgets like Alexa will take over all parental duties? Fine with me. They can raise the kids until they are old enough to understand vital commands such as “Go get me a beer.”
Parents are becoming more flexible. Several news sites recently carried the story of a mother who asked a tattooist to permanently write the name of her son Kevin on her arm. The tattooist misspelled it as “Kelvin”. So Johanna Sandstrom of Sweden changed her child’s name to Kelvin to match her tat.
People criticised her for this. But raising children is all about thinking on your feet, plus, of course: Bribery, corruption, cheating and lying.
Here are two Evil Dad Tricks that worked for this columnist: 1) Tell your children that the display of chocolate next to the supermarket checkout queue is special “dogs only” candy. 2) Instead of buying expensive tickets to the aquarium, show the children the fish display in the window of your local fishmonger shop and say: “Shh! They’re sleeping.”
Oh, you start off imagining that you are going to raise an angelic child who wears only natural fibres. Pretty soon, you’re happy enough if you can keep the little monster from running naked out of the house. One father recently wrote on Twitter that he asked his six-year-old son to get dressed for school and the boy snapped back: “OMG, why are you so obsessed with clothes?”
A TV presenter recently admitted that she and her husband sometimes travel first class in aircraft while putting their children in economy. First class should be “a huge treat that you have earned”, explained Kirstie Allsopp of the UK. I like this idea. I wonder if her children live in a small hut in the yard of the family mansion, not having earned a house?
Meanwhile, non-parents should practise their acting skills by ordering a whole fish whenever they are dining with children. “Shh! It’s sleeping.”
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)