Not For All The Tea In China

A blog describing the idiosyncracies of working and teaching in China and life on a day to day basis. With stories of unbelievable stupidity and outright ripping off of foreigners.



Monday, December 11, 2006

'It's been a long time'(New Interchange, book 2 lesson 1)

Today is the anniversary for the first time I came to China three years ago. Now I haven't lived here for 3 years, because I lived in thailand for about eight months, but it certainly feels like I have.

So what's so great about China you might ask that makes me not only stay here but return here again after I left Thailand. Well I sometimes think it's just a case of getting used to bad manners and a culture that firmly believes in the mentality of a sheep. In China everyone wants to be the same, parents want their children to look 'normal' ie: no strange haircuts, no strange friends, no wild clothes ad infinitum. So great is the worry "what will people think?" that the whole of Chinese culture seems to be based on worrying what others think of you and the way they think of you. This is why to very large extent money is God in China, because with money you can buy lots of expensive shiny things that other people can admire you for having.

It's a rather pointless persute in many foreigners opinion, but by the same token you have to have something to strive for in life. Here Chinese call your shoes your 'second face', which means they should at the very least be spotlessly clean, I mean they are shoes for christs sake, shoes get dirty, it's the nature of the shoe! How many times students have commented on my dirty shoes I can't tell you, and I find myself looking down at my shoes before I go out wondering what people will think of me and then rushing to the bathroom to clean them up a bit....not completely of course, I haven't totally lost my culture ya know.

So here I still am, and happy to be here also, it's not Thailand with it's beautiful beeches and warm weather all year round but it's.......how can I say...different. And different is good when you have spent most of your life in only one country. When I go back to England for a visit no doubt I will find time to chastise people on the state of there shoes and when I see people obviously not from my country(no mean feat in a multi cultural society)I can point at them and say "foreigner" as loudly as possible, just like the Chinese do to me on a daily basis. And If I should happen to see a Chinese person I will make sure to say hello in Chinese to every single one of them and laugh loudly when they reply in their own language, after all what goes around comes around. Happy anniversary to me.

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