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August 8: Olympics Day - and Father's Day, Too

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on August 8, 2008

Here we are, the eighth day of the eighth month, the start of the Beijing Olympics. But long before 8/8 made it on everyone’s calendar as Opening Day for the Games, it was important in this part of the world for another reason: In Mandarin, 8/8 is pronounced “Ba Ba,” which rhymes with the word for Daddy. So in Taiwan, Ba Ba is Father’s Day, which makes a lot more sense than having it on some random Sunday in June. A Taipei newspaper with a name guaranteed to confuse some people (The China Post) has a story today with some strange survey results of Taiwanese men: According to this survey, “near 40 percent of men who could improve on expressing affection verbally to their children, with 20.19 percent of fathers having never said the words ‘I love you’ to them and 18.75 percent unable to remember the last occasion they did.”

Some more interesting fatherhood news from Taiwan: Taiwanese dads interested in staying home with their kids are eligible to take up to two years off from work; sort of puts America’s Family Leave Act to shame. That said, not surprsingly very Taiwanese men actually take advantage of this benefit. The Taiwan News reports, paraphrasing Fan Yun, the chairwoman of a local NGO: “Under a law introduced in 2002, men and women can both apply for a two-year leave to take care of their children, but government statistics show that only four percent of those using that law are men, Fan said. From 2002 until now, a total of 23,823 people applied for the leave, but only 996 of those were men, she said.”

All you fathers out there, Happy Ba Ba.

Reader Comments


August 12, 2008 6:37 PM

Taiwan's fertility rate is among the lowest in the world - only 1.0 children per woman. Than is lower than Japan, China, Russia, France, etc. It is half that of the US.

So it isn't really encouraging people to have children.

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