I don’t think it will come as a surprise to any Chinese person to know that lots of us, more than any other ethnicity in the world, wear eyeglasses. I started wearing glasses at around 13, and that was pretty late compared to my classmates and siblings. I remember many of my friends starting at around 8 years. I have a friend in The Hague whose son is 5 and is already sporting the Harry Potter look. Back then, I too longed for that ultimate accessory, but now, I’d only be too glad to be rid of them.
The influence of genetics on myopia cannot be denied. However, it seems the prevalence of specs-wearers among the Asian species is also in part due to our social habits. Or rather, our anti-social ones. The lack of exposure to sunlight as result of our focus on studying has rapidly caused our eyesight to deteriorate. (Some irony in the fact that countries like Singapore or Taiwan, with more than their fair share of sunlight would end up depriving themselves.)
I cannot deny that Asian parents (and all the clucking relatives) place an inordinate amount of emphasis on bookishness. As a kid, I was rewarded, usually in the form of cold hard cash, for excellent exam results. Though some of my fondest memories from youth were at the swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, people rarely asked what sport I enjoyed. In fact, I was part of the few who did have frequent sport and recreational time. Most of my classmates shuttled around extra tuition classes on a daily basis and many of them were indeed rewarded by a few extra points at exam time. Those extra classes cost their parents dearly, but it was for the greater good I suppose.
In the end, your habits start early and they shape the path to your destiny. Reading and writing has continued to be a lifelong obsession and coerced me into the legal trade. While I myself have neither the aptitude nor inclination for say, rock climbing, I wonder what the future holds for Petit-Homme.