Published on Sunday
July 26, 1998

Your hostess, the thirty-year-old marketing manager in a prestigious Taipei firm, points to a small gold statue in a glass cage.

"See him?" she says. "He's the one we pray for our children. He is neither a man nor a woman."

"Wait a second," you say. "This chap is neither man nor woman, so he can't have children himself. How can he give children to you?"

She shrugs and says, "We Chinese believe it."

"Strange people", you can't help saying to yourself.

She continues, "It's because of him that there are more Chinese than any other people on earth!"

You are stumped. What can you say in the face of such irrefutable logic?

Shakir Lakhani