There was an another phenomenon that I almost put into the post about Chinese puzzles: that people were making out all over Shanghai (and Singapore too, but I got used to that in December). You could hardly move without seeing someone or the other being affectionate in an emphatic way.
I formed hypotheses about that as well. Was it caused by communism breaking down traditional taboos? Or by market liberalization breaking down a puritanical communist society?
But people making out is not a puzzle at all. There is no point asking why people make out and forming hypotheses to explain it. Public displays of affection are almost universal. The important question to ask is: why don’t people make out in India?
The culture shock is still there. But in this case, the deviating culture is not China but India. It is as unnatural for a society to frown on being affectionate in public as it is unnatural for small cars to be missing despite the presence of millions of motorcyclists who would be anxious to upgrade.
What does it say about us as a society when the other countries which have similar taboos on PDA are ones like Saudi Arabia and Iran?