I gave a talk entitled “Our Fear or Love” in Guangzhou early this year to mark the release of my book “Phobias”《假如我們什麼都不怕》. Thanks to an invitation from WeTalk, excerpts can be shared with you here.

Chapter 3: Humble Hug

Chinese people tend to be more conservative and reserved about expressing their feelings. It’s rare for us to hug or openly express our affection towards our family members. However, I found these gestures of affection to be crucial in bringing people closer together since physical touch reaffirms the existence of others.
Though I lived abroad for many years, my mom never went to the airport to pick me up and we never hugged each other. Things began to change when she started experiencing numbness in her legs and could not walk as nimbly as she used to. This was when she stood up to give me a hug for the first time. She made this first move most likely because of her worries about her health. Since then, we hugged each other whenever we met and said goodbye. As her health slowly deteriorated, our relationship was marked with increasing physical contact. I believe my mom had successfully transformed her fear about her health to a power which enabled her to overcome the fear of a hug.
That’s why for me the hug is an important means of expression which cannot be replaced by words.
(This article is a translation only. The original article is in Chinese.)

(Source of photos: Wikimedia Commons)