Tuesday, September 19, 2006

China - test your morals...

So its been a few months in China now and in that time I've seen and experienced a many new things. Some of which have been great, others which I guess can be put down as good life experience.

Culture in China is without a doubt different. Amongst the mass of local people, each province and region carries its own sub-chinese culture. Throw in the concoction of foreigners and you have a cocktail only available here. There is no way someone can agree with every culture, just not possible. So I agree with some of the ideals and some of the ways that people think here, and some of which I don't. I'm not usually someone who is out to change the world, but I've tried discussing with some of the Chinese people the topics that I have different opinions about. Much of which is met with "but this is China."
So that makes for a huge percentage of the world who accepts these things. Does it make it right? Of course not, but when there are 17 or so billion people in one city and the large majority do it, one becomes somewhat desensitized. Let me give you an example. I'm usually very patient and I would also consider polite. We line up for things in Australia, "take a ticket, get in line." I work in a 40 story building that has 8 elevators. At around 9am the lobby is completely packed. I started out just standing in line waiting for the mass to slowly make their way to the daily grind. Meanwhile the Chinese people arriving behind squeeze their way forward past me as if I was a statue. As a result getting up to work can literally take you 15-20 minutes. After about a week of this, I had just about had it and it was on for young and old. I'm bigger than the majority of Chinese people here which helps. So muscle in there now and BOX OUT, then stand there with a "don't push me, push a push-pop" look. Not too aggressive, but they know not to mess around. Then shove my way through, even when people are getting out of the elevator, I'm following the rest shoving them back so I can make sure I get on.
China is a great test of ones character, and that’s probably the most light hearted example I could think of. Shanghai is a unique place but its definitely the sin city of the east. You learn a lot about yourself and who you are here. It tests one's self control, will power, morals and values, patients, tolerance and ability to adapt. This spans through from simple daily activities, to work life to social life and relationships. I have learnt a lot since coming here and I'm pretty sure I'll be a changed person from this experience. One can only hope that its change for the better...

Song for the moment: There could only be one and only, Michael Jackson & Friends - We are the world. (shut-up.. I like that song)


Anonymous Derek said...

A country full of rude wankers and mingers (judging by the picture.)

REALLY makes me want to go there.


3:29 am  
Blogger Jon said...

For the most part you are right. There are a lot of rude people in China. However, having actually met some of them and spoken to them its not always the case. Sure there are certin things that they do which will appear rude to us. (Eating with your mouth open, speaking with food in your mouth, burping without excusing yourself and the list goes on. I can't defend them all, nor am I trying to, but there are a nice Chinese people. Ones that are super friendly and want absolutely nothing in return. For China, money is probably what generates this. New money, and sudden increase in social status makes them think they are better than everyone else. Remember people, money doesn't buy happiness...at least not forever.

2:03 pm  
Anonymous zac said...

you sound like you've had some kind of major epiphany.

Your writing now sounds to me reflective and considered. maybe you are becoming a chinese poet? maybe not but its an excuse for me to post one...

It's called 'Drinking Wine' by Tao Qian

I made my home amidst this human bustle,
Yet I hear no clamour from the carts and horses.
My friend, you ask me how this can be so?
A distant heart will tend towards like places.
From the eastern hedge, I pluck chrysanthemum flowers,
And idly look towards the southern hills.
The mountain air is beautiful day and night,
The birds fly back to roost with one another.
I know that this must have some deeper meaning,
I try to explain, but cannot find the words.

12:46 pm  
Blogger Jon said...

Tis true. It was more of a reflective entry on the blog. I guess I had some time to think about the situation over here. Its pretty frustraiting at times living here. The language is one but things like culture and values also make life a little different. Is it wearing me out? Who knows...?
As for chinese poet, not likely... First I'd have to know how to write chinese. Then I'd have to know how to write chinese that made sense. (Although it would probably make it more poetic if it didn't.)

12:18 am  
Anonymous zac said...

Too right! Just stick random words together and leave it to the audience to interpret. Here's the literal translation of that poem...it makes no sense to me:

Settle home in person place
But no cart horse noise
Ask gentleman how able so
Heart far place self partial
Pluck chrysanthemum east hedge down
Leisurely look south mountain
Mountain air day night beautiful
Fly birds together return
This here have clear meaning
Wish argue already neglect speech

I guess the translator has a lot of license.

zac here post end.

10:12 am  

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