Contextual Data: After talking to me about another Chinese folk belief, a friend of mine quickly continued into this account of another folk saying that her parents had been saying to her ever since she was little. The following is a transcript of her description.
“I don’t know why, but in every Asian society, like every child is supposed to be found in a trashcan. You’re not conceived, we found you in a trashcan, and it’s kind of like a, like a ‘diamond in the rough’ kind of thing…where, um, ‘We’re really happy that you’re here, and like, you have life and we love you and everything.’ But, um… but, it’s—I dunno. It’s kind of like, it’s like: ‘You’re a jewel and we, like, we found you. We picked it up. And we were like graced by God that you gave — that you’re here with us today.’”
– End Transcript –
My informant did a fairly thorough job of explaining the significance of this saying — that it is essentially a way of saying “you’re special” and “we’re luck to have you with us.” I think idea of a parent letting their child know that they do value them and that they are special is a big part of the reason why people might continue to use this saying — it’s essentially an expression of love and affection. I did ask a couple of other Chinese friends about this, however, and they mentioned that they had no recollection of ever being told this, which suggests it may not be a saying that is as widely known and/or confined to the Guangzhou region in China, where my friend is from.