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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Chinese-made eyeglasses    

By Garreth Humphris
2244 Views | 2 Comments | 9/23/2012 1:53:54 PM

When I first started traveling, my Grandfather gave me a few words of advice - when you go to a new place, always to put on a pair of that country’s eyeglasses! That puzzled me a bit, I can honestly say! But I took it as one of those pieces of information people give you without really knowing how it will be useful - like wearing clean underwear in case you get in an accident and need to go to hospital.

My first travel point, outside the safety of my own country, was Malaysia - I flew into the airport at 10pm at night, without a hotel booking or any idea what I was doing and luckily found the only honest taxi-tout in Asia! 

This gentleman quickly bundled me into his taxi and he took me to a ’nice, cheap hotel’. In fact, it was - clean and cheap - in the red-light part of the city and my driver even gave me a rundown of the prices for different types of ladies of the night, if I was so inclined!

He said to me, as he dropped me off at the hotel, ’This area has a bad name, but it is nice... if you see it through the local’s eyes’. True enough, there was a rail transit station about 5 minutes away, there was a great restaurant across the road and a nice grassy park with a cooling breeze. I stayed there a few days, met some of the locals and had a great time. An important lesson that bode well for other travel and living abroad excursions.

So every time I travel, I am reminded that in order to truly enjoy a place, you must put on a different pair of glasses - to judge more like local visitor rather than an international super-critic.

In general, we judge and are judged by others in 6 possible ways. They are;
1) Our Body - our beauty: teeth, smile, laugh, physicality, fitness, weight and shape. This is usually an instantaneous thing!
2) Our Values and Character - alignment of compatible hopes, dreams and ideals - usually a ’longer term’ assessment through ’learning about people’.
3)Our Competence or Success - our perceived level of intelligence, our social empathy, our achievement and wealth accumulation, and our public acknowledgement or business standing.
4) Our Social Roles - our activity in family and community, and our approach to business/leisure life balance.
5) Our personality traits - our general behaviour and how good we are at making allowances for other’s personality traits, our adaptability in new or challenging situations and whether we can apologise, forgive and accept responsibility, whether we behave in a superior or inferior manner, and our interest in others as individuals.
6) Our Possessions - be they physical (house, car, boat) and intangibles (knowledge, skills, potential).

Every person will judge you by their own values of what is important to them - through their own pair of glasses - these have a cultural and social ’tint’ that sometimes means some colours are enhanced and some are reduced - just as polarised sunglasses bring out contrasts, so do the local glasses.

If someone thinks beauty comes before brains, this is the standard you need to meet; travel before family means a homebody is unattractive; family before friends - now you are a 'keeper' to a Chinese Lady.

It makes sense, if you are trying to appeal to a “buyer” you understand what lenses they are viewing you by - if they are family-orientated and you are a confirmed bachelor then you will have to observe certain rules to be acceptable!

Somebody makes those rules, usually the local community or society; you are either playing by them or breaking them! It is that simple. If you are lucky and the individual is more adaptable or has greater empathy, you might just have a successful match.

The interesting point is if you are someone who tends to constantly break the rules remember that you still need other players - otherwise, you are out of the game!

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(Showing 1 to 2 of 2) 1
#2012-10-01 00:41:56 by warriorsage @warriorsage

i am afraid, that you are right about that, we judge and are judged

#2012-10-02 16:21:48 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

A Tibetan monk who shall remain nameless once gave advice that sort of dovetails with what you say here. He said we should live in our own country as if we were a traveler there, maintaining the sense of humility, patience and wonder that characterizes the best travellers, the ones who truly put on the other country's sunglasses.

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