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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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Is China a Good Place to Live for a Westerner? Part 5 of the Teaching in China Series    

By Barry Pittman
6273 Views | 38 Comments | 12/5/2015 1:26:54 PM
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(Showing 11 to 20 of 38) Previous 1 2 3 4 More...
#2015-12-21 14:25:05 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

"I'm not sure about other people Baz. but I just hit the 'English' button in (blue) underneath your comment, and lo-and-behold"

This is interesting Paul, given that on my CLM pages at least, there are NO blue English translation buttons!

But maybe the snail paced internet speed where I am now is the cause of this? At slow speeds, the translation option on comments made is basically non-existant, because it takes so long to appear. Most of the time, I can't see the little smiley icons either, if anyone uses them. Because where I live, they take too long to download.

Welcome to Leshan in Sichuan Province, China!

#2015-12-21 15:09:47 by anonymous14308 @anonymous14308

I'm not sure about other people Baz. but I just hit the 'English' button in (blue) underneath your comment, and lo-and-behold.........
.......................loading.............................

.......................loading.............................

coffee time!

back from coffee

..................loading............................

No more time for waiting.
Cut and paste into google translate.
Voila!
.......................................................................................................................
It is regrettable that the article can not be translated into Chinese.

Some women China might be interested in it, if the Western men choose to live in China, he will face a difficult situation.
.......................................................................................................................

back to the article - has the translation loaded yet???

...........................loading.....................................

...........................loading.....................................

#2015-12-22 16:57:52 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous14308

'It is regrettable that the article cannot be translated into Chinese.'

Thanks for your humorous comments, Anon14308. Yes, waiting for the translation buttons to appear most times on CLM comments in my region of China takes way longer than intended. My guess is I'd have to wait anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, before they may eventually appear.

As for the translation of the article, I think that many Chinese ladies might be interested in its message. They'll then know that living in China in a smaller town won't work for most Westerners over the medium or longer term. They'll realise that if they marry a Westerner, eventually either their Western husbands would have to learn Chinese or else the couple may need to move to a larger town, one where language difficulties weren't so insurmountable. This is assuming they both wish to remain in China.

In short, I think the article provides some interesting information for a percentage of Chinese ladies, who may be interested to learn the thoughts of a Westerner on this topic. It arguably could be quite relevant and useful to some who were contemplating having a Western husband come over and live with them.

#2015-12-23 12:33:59 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1
@anonymous14308
@PaulFox1

For those of you concerned about the translator, I have to advise that it is a third party device or service that is not within our control. It is not software on our server that we can somehow adjust or manipulate.

Having said that, we are well aware that it works best on shorter bodies of text, and when it is asked to translate a lengthy blog, it falters badly, even if the vast majority of the blog is English being translated to English, as is the case in point.

I might add that it works much better for people with high speed internet, and is pathetic where the internet signal is itself slow and weak.

We are looking at trying to set it up so that the translation button shows up after each paragraph within the blog, rather than trying to translate the whole blog at once. However, that potentially offers a different set of headaches. Anyway, our developer is looking into it now.

#2015-12-25 10:59:43 by Nekko @Nekko

@Barry1

I asked my wife what this Chinese scribble means.
She is absolutely great and we have a wonderful marriage. Just in case you wanted to know this.
No need to ask you. I will comment later a bit more on this interesting and honest account of your situation.

Cheers,
Nekko

#2015-12-27 09:42:58 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Nekko

Thanks for this, Nekko.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. You're one of the most down-to-Earth, decent characters on this website.

Well done, mate! (beer)(beer)(beer)

#2015-12-28 20:22:07 by Nekko @Nekko

@Barry1
@JohnAbbot

.......................For those of you concerned about the translator..............I married my translator (h)and now I get to correct her English pronunciation.(rofl)

Barry you write..........US State Department and the Foreign Service Institute ranked Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese and Arabic all in the “super hard” or “exceptionally hard” category.

I have to disagree with the Japanese language being put into this category. At least the pronunciation is straight forward, even for a native English speaker.
The writing however is another matter.

The reason i know this is that my first wife was, and still is Japanese. When we married her I started to learn Japanese. As I said the pronunciation is easy, very similar vowel sounds to Italian, which I already have some basic understanding of from my mothers side.

My daughter of course is the perfect EuroAsian mix. Am I biased? (giggle)

Back to the topic at hand. Chinese pronunciation is difficult. The tone does change the
meaning as you know. Do not call anyone limp dick, even by accident.

Just the word for wife is difficult to speak and I have noticed that the tone makes
all the difference.

Have a look at this course http://www.newera-languages.co.za/index.php/en/languages/international-v1?id=78

I this course your speech is compared to the teachers and you can correct it until
it matches the teachers pronunciation, Cool. You may have to try a thousand times,
but at least the teacher won't get tired.
Here is a demo......http://www.newera-languages.co.za/index.php/en/

Barry if you have any question about this course i can put you in touch with the person that developed this course from the Harvard program to a marketable language course for the Dutch company called Philips. He resides in Switzerland. I have his name and phone number. His website is http://www.learning-systems.ch/multimedia/curr_e.htm.

As to the burn out. Unless you are an extreme introvert and do not want to interact with your fellow human being speaking the language is imperative.

I know, I came to Australia with only a knowledge of 5 words and 65 dollars in my pocket. Look at me now. I work in design and sales. I need to talk to earn a living. I do crosswords as a hobby. They are wrong more often than not. Always have words I do not know. How rude is this(mooning)? As for the money I now have 165 dollars.(cash)

I remember the early stages of my life in Australia. What happens if I have an accident? How will I talk to the doctor? How do I catch a bus? How do I ask for directions? Will I understand the answer? How do I not fell like a child, of being totally lost without my translator?

Yes Barry, at least I like to be able to ask to understand the response without constantly relying on somebody else.

Also remember I was in Baotou for 28 days in December 2013. I probably only saw 3 Westerners there. In McDonalds of course.
Yes I was constantly relying on my translator.(h) I did notice that some teenagers would like to talk to me and practice their English language skills. I was even asked for my QQ number.

You also wrote that Tina is reluctant to move to Australia. Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life in China?

You write .........."Why are you living here rather than in a comfortable place like Australia.
Barry please answer this question. Sometimes i get the same response when someone asks about my slight accent I have and I tell them that I was born and raised in Switzerland. " What are doing here in Sydney?"

Then I go on holidays to Switzerland and the response is often how lucky I am to be able to live in Australia. Go figure.

So the question then is this: Does physical location have anything to do with your happiness? Assuming you are able to live in a safe place and have your needs met.
Communication may be one of those needs.

Barry, I will take the "lopoua" sorry for the bad pronunciation to Switzerland to meet the family in January 2016.

Tickets have been booked and paid for. This will be a great trip for us. We will also take a train to the southern parts to meet my Italian speaking uncles and cousins. Have to polish my Italian language skills again.

Barry what are your plans? I have to say this again, at least you have had the guts to go and give it a go. Good on you. The situation may require a rethink and a redirection may be needed. You know what to do.

All the best for the new year to you and Tina and the daughter ( forgot her name)

Cheers
Nekko ( Japanese word for cat)( my favorite animal)(y)

#2016-01-01 18:44:17 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Nekko

"at least you have had the guts to go and give it a go. Good on you."

Thanks for the interesting comments, Nekko.

Yes, I must say that indeed, many people wouldn't have abandoned their home and career, in order to move to the other hemisphere from where they were, to begin a new career with a new lady. It did take some nerve, I guess.


"You know what to do."

This is the problem, Nekko. Unfortunately it's not clear to me at this time what to do. I'm swinging from one decision to another, every other day.


"Does physical location have anything to do with your happiness? Assuming you are able to live in a safe place and have your needs met. Communication may be one of those needs."

Yes Nekko, feeling an integral part of a society is very important in order to enjoy living there. But when one can only communicate with two per cent of the population in an area, one becomes increasingly alienated. Over time, this begins to impinge upon one's overall feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Thanks also for the advice about the Chinese courses but I've given up on the idea of learning Chinese. The subtle yet crucial tonal differences between meanings of the same word make it simply too difficult to master. I have better things to do with my time.


"I came to Australia with only a knowledge of 5 words and 65 dollars in my pocket."

Your life story is incredible,Nekko. They should make a movie out of it!


"You also wrote that Tina is reluctant to move to Australia. Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life in China? "

The answer to this is no. China's a nice place to live for a while - up to a year or two - but if you don't know the language, then move on!

Cheers mate. (beer)

#2016-05-03 20:50:05 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@Barry1 fascinating blogs you write --
yeah long winded comment -- more than 500 words which might not say anything
skip over if necessary ... lol


Recently, during a brief holiday trip of three days I visited a city of 130,000 people which is different from your 4 million ... Chishui which by the way is within striking distance of Chengdu, Luzhou and Chongqing . As I sit here and ponder many of the written blogs -- I really wonder what or how I can contribute to this Website -- In the beginning I certainly felt you and Paul criticized China living too much -- then after reading more and more and pondering it all -- both of you have stimulating and provocative yet interesting perspectives . Chishui (赤水) does not have even a single KFC - nada - nor McDonald's and most likely it does not even have a Starbucks either . Nansha district of Guangzhou (南沙) was very different from now in 2011 when I first moved to it -- I was basically the token foreigner -- My Chinese? it's horse horse tiger tiger (马马虎虎)-- My suggestion is slightly different from John -- I live near a small village (town?) which is at the end of Gz Metro system -- so I can easily get to central Gz in about 90 minutes to 2 hours -- however, you do not wish to invest any significant time learning the language -- thus you have a really big challenge for social living here in China -- especially out in the boonies (rural areas) As for me, I lived with Chinese for 31 years of my Life thus far -- I have no fascinating romantic love stories either -- So I am very used to living in China regardless of the population level or location -- Meaning -- what you and Paul and others write about is typical at times for my decades of living with Chinese -- but there is also the middle class of Chinese people too -- which should never be forgotten either -- A person does not need to live in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Gz, Shenzhen or other metropolitan areas to feel comfortable living between Western style and Chinese style . John doesn't like Gz (Guangzhou) and I have been to Sz (Shenzhen) many times and probably could easily live there too. 95% of my social experience is with Chinese people. I have Chinese friends who think Sz is better than Gz. LOL I became invisible because I began to notice that I was being interviewed too much with too many questions . I also noticed that I did not fit many of their expectations as well. Then of all fascinating situations -- I was told that I was not suitable due to economic or financial reasons. I also discovered that living extensively within both Cultures has created a new challenge that I have seldom encountered before. I found it rather difficult and a big challenge to communicate Western cultural habits and lifestyle within a Chinese mindset. Meaning -- I am attempting to share or communicate Western cultural habits (which have a lot of diversity) in a way that I thought might be useful for Chinese people since I have been living with them for decades. In fact, I have restricted my vocabulary, slang and idiomatic language patterns for so long that it becomes 2nd Nature . Simply because cultural habits and lifestyle differences can be a big challenge or a really long bridge to cross. However, I found it to be frustrating as well -- which is no surprise since there are distinct cultural differences at many levels. Is China a good place for Westerners to live? I will leave it up in the air -- but for me I would rather live here for the same reasons many Expats or Westerners prefer to live in Western countries. They are used to it. My social living here is directly connected with doctors, dentist, middle class, business people, hawkers ( especially those in the traditional Chinese market) -- and the phone shops, computer shops -- restaurants (especially hotpot) motorcycle shop -- I have no intention of moving back to usa for retirement either -- I agree with my Chinese friends -- people who wish to change their economic or financial status in Life should have this chance -- therefore some of the CLM women wish to move to a Western country so that they can have a different lifestyle there for whatever reasons -- I do not have such an affluent lifestyle or wonderful retirement benefits as they might hope for ... On the other hand I also feel very annoyed that some might consider me as a loser - for wanting to live here in China . I agree with my Chinese friends that Chinese women do want to have a man who doesn't have sufficient financial resources to be independent. So it works both ways I guess. Neither side wants a so called gold digger. However, from my perspective a better solution could be -- both cooperating together in order to develop financial opportunities. Usually the man or the woman has their own job or career and works independently of each other. I also do not have any property or real estate in usa either. This is very significant for Chinese people -- especially women who view having an apartment or town house (leased as the reality in China is -- regardless of the amount paid ) (or owned as in many Western countries) as crucial to their emotional or psychological "security" . Of course there are viable options but I have no disagreement with this cultural phenomena as well. -- I am too busy to make this a blog entry -- today I am inside due to the rain outside ...

#2016-05-04 15:31:03 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7

"you do not wish to invest any significant time learning the language -- thus you have a really big challenge for social living here in China -- especially out in the boonies (rural areas)"

Very interesting comments, thanks Jim. It's nice to learn a little more about you.

You mentioned you can speak Chinese so good on you. This means you can readily live in China. Although what about the visa issues? Unless you're married to a Chinese or run a registered business in China, won't you have trouble with permanent residency?

Oh, I think I just answered my own question.You must be married to a Chinese lady. Well done, mate. No problem with living in China for the long term.

In my situation, my work visa expires at the end of next month (30 June). I don't know what will then happen. I have to return to Australia to sort a few things out there. But will I return to China?

Good question. I wish that I could answer it.

Cheers mate. (y)(y)

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