Watching the extravaganza of fireworks at midnight, Dec 31, 2017, livestreamed from all over the world, including North Korea, of all places, Americans may well rethink their political correctness or taboo about asking or telling one’s age. Those in the Sinosphere, namely, China, Japan, and Korea, accounting for more than a quarter of the world’s population, grow exactly one year older at the same time promptly after midnight, Dec 31, and freely ask and tell each other how old they have gotten.
That’s absurd, you may say, because it’s counting age by the year of birth, resulting in 365 people born on different days of the year having the same age. Not any more than 24 x 60 x 60 x (1 million microseconds or billion nanoseconds if you want to go that far) people born on the same day having the same age.
Of course even these Orientals have their own birthdays and celebrate them but strictly as a birthday, not as a turning point in age. If a date-based American-style age is required for the military draft, to determine adulthood, etc., they use the term “age” with a modifier “full”.
In any event East Asians have never had the kind of American shyness about age. Maybe counting by the year makes them more cosmically aware and dismissive of dissimulation, especially when it’s futile. The body trumpets it no matter how you disguise it. Let’s face it. One simply grows to maturity, is the master of the universe for a season, then wilts. This grim realization is tempered by respect for the elderly, the weak and unproductive, the quintessence of which is the Social Security Act. So your heart is in the right place, America. It’s just that darn fancy of yours, political correctness about age.