“Szu-ting had started using chopsticks perfectly since she was four.” I have heard that statement from my mom multiple times. Since she has only praised me for two other things, it must be a big deal.
At a BBQ party, I once again impressed my American friends by eating whole bone-in chicken wings with my chopsticks without getting greasy fingers (See how many napkins I have saved. Chopsticks are green!). Gently waving the chopsticks in my hand, “four,” I stressed, “is when I started to use these.” No response; apparently nobody understood the significance of it. “Well, you are Chinese. Doesn’t everybody start using chopsticks when they were kids?”
I wanted to argue just for the sake of arguing, saying that using chopsticks are way more complex than forks because there might be more than 50 muscle tissues involved. But, perhaps, even just a slim chance, it is not that significant after all.
I google-researched: some parents said by two and some parents said not until six. I paid attention to kids when I went to Chinese restaurants, but I was biased when I guessed their age. My six-year old niece still prefers fork and spoon but she was raised in the States. Sigh…social study is more difficult than exact science.
Dave took the following footage when we visited Shuangquan village in Sichuan after our Siguniang trek in Sep 2010. A local Chinese boy with chopsticks. Guess how old he is? (The answer is at the end of the video.)