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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
6272 Views | 38 Comments | 12/5/2015 1:26:54 PM
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#2016-05-05 18:09:39 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@Barry1 (reminder to self -- be careful which keys I touch on my keyboard -- erasing everything several times ) All the best to you for your trip back to Australia soon -- I spent 5 weeks in Adelaide years ago -- great time there -- also visited Burra Burra (reminds me of the "way out back" in the computer game Toonstruck ) I am not currently married so I continue living in China with a Working Visa in this School. Hopefully I will continue teaching in this School for yet another year . I just finished reading yet another article about the potential coming Economic situation -- does not look good either -- also a friend will be laid off soon -- he will only get half of the State unemployment benefits too -- has a family of four -- very difficult to live on this amount -- which once again illustrates my viewpoint -- I prefer living in China -- My medical treatment has been definitely suitable (without tons of pharmaceutical drugs being injected into me ) My dentist is excellent -- I live comfortably and satisfied as well -- these are aspects which would NOT happen for me living back in the usa. As for the future -- teaching English in many different ways -- kids, students, adults, one to one, company classes -- even e-learning is definitely what I can do since my health is quite good as well as my active passion for this Market -- so I am seeking to find a Chinese partner to cooperate more actively with me -- since Chinese really enjoy chatting and spending time with Westerners who happened to have a Chinese wife or significant other . There is a definite Market for you and Tina -- should you or she consider this option. My suggestion would be to move to a city that is more near a bigger city . As far as Chinese language goes -- there is a plus for attempting to learn it ... then again I became too lazy because all of my Chinese friends wish to practice English ... over the years I picked up enough and in these last few years I am pushing myself more .. I really do not worry about the tones ... yeah I make more than enough mistakes -- but the people I socialize with -- get used to my Chinese and can understand -- I am very friendly and they reciprocate this friendliness in return -- IF my Chinese was very good or fluent I could have gotten into too many heated arguments while I was living in Taiwan . More next time ...

#2016-05-07 09:19:08 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7

"I am not currently married so I continue living in China with a Working Visa in this School"

One problem though Jim is China's ridiculous compulsory retirement rules.

In China, most men are forced to retire no later than age 60, regardless of whether they want to or not.

Foreigners however in some places (not all however) are given a concession and can work up to age 65 before compulsory retirement laws kick in.

The obvious question then occurs, what will you do when you hit 65, Jim? You no longer will be eligible for a work visa and will have to fall back onto tourist visas. Unless you're married to a Chinese lady or you have your own Chinese registered business, won't you be forced out of the country?

If you really want to stay in China, the overall best bet seems to be to marry a nice Chinese lady! This of course is where the CLM website becomes very useful, replete as it is with a large bevy of wonderful Chinese women. (wasntme)(wasntme)

#2016-05-07 15:10:57 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@Barry1 Well ... I am already past 60 ... hahahaha You are asking practical and pragmatic questions -- which are very popular with people here -- smile smile -- Thus there are generally speaking -- two options -- be normal and have lots of trouble in different ways -- 2nd option is to continue to develop creative opportunities to continue earning income for as long as possible -- which is also a risk BUT -- although most of my Chinese friends do prefer to follow the normal sociological habits they have acquired -- which makes it even much more a challenge to meet the "large bevy of wonderful Chinese women here --- especially those under 40 ... :D8););)8)
If given the choice -- (which has been asked of me more than several times ... probably a lot ) which do i prefer -- younger than 40 or older than 40 -- that is easy enough to answer -- but apparently many do not accept my response -- hahaha -- it all depends upon who is more interested in me -- younger Chinese women ( including those so called left overs -- which for us Westerners is a ridiculous term to apply to these -- meaning Westerners would never use this term to begin with) are most likely seeking to find a man that has a good job -- is able to buy an apartment -- and that her parents will accept -- next stage is the arrival of "that small bundle of joy" which will most likely be spoiled by the two female in-laws and probably spoiled by the parents as well -- then purchasing a car for traveling to various places while stuck in that " moving parking lot" that I took Wechat videos and photos of while I was cycling with contented freedom . While younger women could definitely accept me as a person -- their parents will greet me at the door with -- Guess Who is for dinner ? (this is a joke by changing the traditional form of Guess Who is coming for dinner -- ) There is nothing wrong with parents seeking their goals -- Thus why bother upsetting their apple cart? Women over 40 are seeking to find a suitable life partner with various options -- Many of them are very diligent as Single parents -- really impressive with their high motivation to keep the ship afloat -- putting very big effort in taking care of their child -- especially the child's educational progress along with their potential future -- (which unfortunately many kids can never seem to appreciate or understand -- but then again spoiled naughty kids will follow their sociological acquired habits ) Single parents though seem to have very little social time left for the man -- thus a typical lifestyle could very well be -- the man works (if in business then many social business dinners -- which in the past meant lots of alcoholic drinking --) many hours -- overtime -- traveling to different cities etc. etc.. the mother works very diligently to take care of the home arena including the child or children -- especially waking up really early to help the kid get ready for school, eat breakfast and so on -- then bustling the kid to the bus stop or to school -- then bustling to her job -- then working hard -- eating lunch -- then more work -- then bustling after work to pick up the kid -- shopping for food -- at times shopping for clothes -- (western phrase -- women's work is never finished -- over here it would be women's OT overtime never ceases! ) food preparation - cooking - eating without the male partner -- then checking the kids homework -- and endless other tasks to finish -- thus there doesn't seem to be any social time available for yet another person -- ( of course I do know that there are many couples who work in the same company or office work etc ... these recent years the male mate is able to do more of the cooking -- since the girl was spoiled by her mom and grandmother . ) another way that might be considered typical -- would be both sitting on the sofa watching TV -- or reading or using their phones -- this is considered to be family time -- ( this does have its counterpart in usa ) Typically Chinese will probably think I am complaining (this is yet another sociological habit ) but I am merely generalizing and see nothing wrong with it at all -- my point is that with such a very impressive and really busy daily schedule I wonder where I would fit in ... (giggle) I used to be involved very much with many of the tasks -- I have 22 years of being a "taxi driver" taking any number of the family clan anywhere -- on call 24/7 -- I was not allowed to even visit the downtown area ( i was never able to overcome all of the zillion reasons my EX mother in-law formulated -- nor the other female members of the family clan -- bless all of their hearts -- they were never aggressive nor seeking domestic violence as does happen in the usa ) there are yet many more I could write about ... but already this comment has gone beyond the limit ...

#2016-05-07 15:47:08 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

In my opinion and thinking -- unless a person already has an affluent income or a high salary job -- (unless there is another economic crisis) -- then moving back to America or living in China is mostly a no brainer -- If anyone has been observing the job employment situation in usa --- then at my current age level -- i certainly do not relish slaving away in McDonald's or other places or 7-11 et al. Naturally the first question is -- Why you did not SAVE enough for retirement!!! Uh -- could it be that there was a huge financial and social disaster taking place in 2004? ( never mind this -- I have lived outside my own country for toooo long that I sometimes even forget what will people do in conversations such as this -- however, over here -- as a foreigner replies to one query -- then 10 more are sitting on the back burner waiting to be brought forward in rapid succession if the conversation continues that long -- actually this depends on the social behavior of each person -- there are many who do not do this while there are many who do -- ) Let us consider Medical Care -- shall we? The Island of Taiwan has a National Health Care plan -- usa does not -- Canada does -- usa does not -- (etc etc ) I have health insurance here -- the same would cost an arm and a leg in usa --- foreigners complain very loudly about the hospital here in Nansha or Gz -- Uh -- last time I looked around -- this ain't Kansas! (from the movie Wizard of Oz -- there is NO way a foreigner should expect their previous living environment to Magically appear here for their personal satisfaction ) I do not enjoy submitting my body to a flood of pharmaceutical drugs into my bloodstream -- which happens more than enough in usa -- Except for one situation -- My doctor friend quickly diagnosis and took me to acquire more than enough western medicine from a local pharmacy (cannot be done in usa -- these prescriptions can only be filled through the hospital or signed by doctor and most likely expensive ) (in the front of this pharmacy there are the typical items people can buy and then near the back of this pharmacy there are the other kinds ) This saved me many frustrated hours of waiting in line and dealing with whatever doctor I might normally get otherwise . Otherwise, I have been treated with enough satisfaction during my visits to Nansha hospital -- by being friendly and asking intelligent questions I have had mostly good experiences with many of the doctors -- yes although their English is just above my Chinese level -- we can communicate well enough -- I would much rather sit in the injection room with the IV fluids dripping slowly over hours then taking western pharma goop ... (then taking western style injections and tons of anti-everything possible ) As I continually tell everyone -- My dentist is fantastic! ( and no thanks I am NOT interested in seeking out an American dentist or Western ) I live in what I consider a healthy environment ... just remember folks LA , Chicago NY et al... used to have serious air pollution too and there are still more than enough troubles with clean water -- do not believe me? check your recent news ... lol also I could easily dredge up lots of other harmful situations -- No .. I would not move to Beijing or Shanghai -- dream on ... Most importantly, where can I actually continue to keep earning that counterpart to american green stuff? ( americans complain very loudly and scream about China being exceptionally clever not to float their currency with the US Dollar - which apparently those people consider the heavenly manna -- ) complain all you want about China's current leader -- have fun .. enjoy yourself -- then I can contemplate your level of sanity compared to those people who like or admire Sarah Palin or Donald Trump and so on ... next time more

#2016-05-08 09:05:01 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7

Thanks for the very interesting assemblage of thoughts, anecdotes and wisdom, Jim.

You have an amazing assortment of minutiae and life stories to recount to us here. Please keep telling us! (y)(y)

#2016-05-08 09:30:37 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7

One quick question though Jim, what will you do when you reach the Chinese mandatory retirement age of 65?

Will you still be allowed to work in the school where you're currently teaching?

If not, what will you do if your work visa is unable to be renewed? (sweat)

#2016-05-08 15:31:07 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@Barry1 mandatory age ?? Yes I understand your query .. In your QLV I would guess and imagine that many men that are my current chronological age might already be retired and spending time playing chinese chess or mahjong or landlord (a card game that is really popular -- although I prefer Chinese Hearts ( 公猪) -- in front of supermarkets, in public squares, parks and so on . Due to economic necessity and also my own personal preference I do not plan to easily retire until I am into my 80s -- my parents are still getting around and although not as active as they were when they were younger (say in their 60s-70s) they still drive cars . I recall my grandmother's sister driving a car when she was 94 --- (giggle)(clap) I even met her in 2013 when she was 106 and still moving around in her retirement center . Once again -- this brings up yet another reason for me to remain inside China -- although there is more than enough Age discrimination globally -- and there is more than enough in China as well -- as long as I exercise as much as possible -- thus reducing potential health problems -- making myself look younger as well -- so very few people outside this Website know my actual age -- :P:P:P especially while I am cycling or meeting new people -- many guess me to be in my late 40s-50s (happy)(happy) Of course, I will finish teaching in this School after 2 years due to the current Visa rules -- otherwise the Principal of this school has told me -- she would like me to stay for ten years ... (y):D I think I can still work out something with this school -- after all this ain't usa -- so there is some latitude -- I am guessing that my official Work visa will finally expire whenever the local govt decides to do so -- I have heard unofficially that I might be able to continue until I am 70 but then again ... who knows? Thus there is PLAN B -- and Plan C etc...

#2016-05-08 16:23:53 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

@Barry1 Let me illustrate an interesting phenomena concerning the above ... Just for the sake of imaginative musing .... think about this option -- there are zillions of young gals under 30 -- some of them surely have basic or good enough English skills -- yet work in shops -- try to be translators during the Canton Fair and so on ... some even work in Language Centers as well -- either as Chinese tutors or CC (course consultants ) some teach in so called illegal schools as well or even kindergartens -- or international companies etc. etc. -- some of these gals salary is well .. normal for China but for the sake of imaginative musings -- around 4000 yuan per month with few benefits if any at all -- some are more and some are less -- I remember that while I was in Xinjiang in 2008 -- the beginning salary of new Chinese English teachers was around 900 yuan per month with a few benefits -- typically then these gals will just continue to follow this path until they change to another job -- i have seen lots of men and women in China change jobs after several years even -- public school teachers usually attempt to flow with the river for as long as possible -- hopefully until retirement age -- those in the trading arena or international marketing arena or outsourcing arena are in a different bracket -- since their salary depends upon their charisma and marketing skills -- thus you can notice zillions of Taobao shops -- but these to be successful need to have a substantial investment of endless hours and financial resources -- think eat sleep work 24/7 -- with those gals above who are under 30 ( wait a second concerning this age ) I could help them to increase their current salary up to 2-4x bigger depending upon their initiative and willingness to invest substantial effort in a creative but different way -- I have tried to do this before -- but alas several of them decided that doing as little as possible was par for the (golf) course of living. One gal even had a Master's degree too -- I tried motivating her for 3.5 years but ultimately she decided that being lethargic was her preference -- moved back to Northeast China -- got matchmaked by her mom -- recently had a baby girl -- along with an apartment from the guy -- joint names by the way ( her original plan was to get the apartment in her name only -- now now folks -- she was not being devious nor gold digging either -- this has happened frequently enough in the recent past decades until the Government decided to change the rules --) I am happy that she finally got what she wanted -- but at a price much much higher than she bargained for -- Most foreigners and most likely almost all Chinese have a misguided view of the economic market of teaching -- whether English or other subjects and even as to what age level and so on ... Language Centers earn tons of money ... and pay staff as Uncle Scrooge would -- If a person uses typical boring traditional style of teaching -- then there is not much of a market at all --- unless a Language Center or other kind of school -- after school classes (forgot how to write the chinese ) can generate enough interest for parents to have kids join it for many classes -- then there is not much chance of earning a good income -- However, due to my decades of creative innovative teaching style along with endless passion -- I can probably earn enough to survive by myself -- especially via my very friendly social skills in dealing with parents -- however, there is a distinct disadvantage for me -- I am a foreigner and always will be a foreigner in the eyes of local people -- although I have many good friends but the trust level could be much higher and the marketable range much bigger IF I had a Chinese gal that was connected with me -- no part time gf -- no playing around -- this is acid that quickly burns holes into paper .. IF she is my serious significant other or on the road to getting a marriage license in the future -- or even serious gf -- then the parents are truly fascinated and excited to spend more and more social time with me -- the Chinese gal only needs to learn how to increase her social skills in making these parents more happy and satisfied .. like afternoon tea settings could do -- or being congenially involved with them -- (no insurance style behavior tactics nor typical business marketing style -- this is considered inauthentic and most likely fake ... thus diminishing the lucrative potential ) I have seen what happens when I have tried to cooperate with other women who are older than 30 by the way ... she was around late 30s and I invited her to join me and my Finnish friend to eat dinner with my friend who owns a small women's clothing shop along with her high school age daughter -- her daughter refused to speak any English -- even though she was goaded prodded and pushed by her mother and my Chinese female friend -- results? nada.. zip... none .. the daughter resiliently refused to speak any English at all -- I had told my Chinese female friend over and over -- her style will not work --- then she turned to the mother and yak yak yak yak yak about this and that concerning the proper way to get her daughter to speak --- yawn yawn yawn -- while they were engaged -- I started chatting with her daughter in a congenial way with lots of creative passion --- the daughter was laughing and talking back to me in English under 5 minutes .. .and we continued to keep talking with each other until her mother finally noticed and was shocked -- and my female friend said -- she was correct and her idea worked -- yeah right -- then her mom complained and tried to push her to speak longer sentences and yak yak yak -- which had the immediate reaction of her daughter yakking back at her mom in Chinese . hahahahaha The point? using traditional style marketing does not work in this arena unless you have a big enough school or famous name Language Center with typical marketing employees who earn diddly squat -- As for me I have very often and most of the time (unless the other people or boss or manager decided to be very stubborn ) earned a decent income for living over the past 2.5 decades ... Unfortunately these gals insist to keep their low salaried jobs and those over 30 insist on keeping their stubborn focus upon counterproductive inefficient and typical paradigms that do not "pass GO" and do not "get out of jail" and do not get $200 (or whatever it was ) -- this is from the board game Monopoly by the way -- I cannot understand why someone would not wish to earn 2-4x more than their current salary -- probably due to unbelief -- lack of passion -- lack of initiative -- spoiled social syndrome -- and their parents would definitely complain boisterously with loud cacophony due to cooperating with what they consider an "old fart" who will surely and definitely have serious physical ailments and become fragile as an egg asap .. yeah right .. my current health is probably much better than my previous female partner who left for NE China -- most probably can not or will not cycle or exercise as much either -- I have much more passion for the future than these people -- and I become more and more passionate about reaching 70s and maintaining my current health just to demonstrate that a lot of typical age discrimination is full of B.S. !! (giggle)(hi):P8)]:)

#2016-05-13 17:01:29 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7

"I have heard unofficially that I might be able to continue until I am 70"

Wow Jim, if you can continue working in the school until 70 with the permission of the local government, this would be almost unheard of.

As I'm finding out now, most provinces in China have an official retirment age of 60, though some provinces permit work up to 64. Unless you want to do menial work. This unfortunately is a particular problem for older Westerners who otherwise would enjoy traveling and teaching in China once they retire in their own country.

The stupidity is that native English speakers are in high demand in China. Yet once they turn 60 (or maybe 64), they're shown the door, unable to renew their work visa. So the Chinese students miss out as do the older, highly experienced Western teachers.

This my friends, is what they call a lose-lose situation.:S

#2016-05-15 14:45:57 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Barry1 - in response to your last comment and not to your blog, I think you are making a huge mistake of assuming that Provincial Laws in China equate to practical reality. China is almost 1/4th of Planet Earth. It may be that in your little corner of 1/4 of Planet Earth the local administrators are diligently enforcing the Provincial law, in the adjacent city they may not be doing so.

There is no question that China is catching up fast in the area of Government enforcement of the law generally, but I strongly suspect that in China the retirement laws are intended to prevent elderly people from hanging in as long as possible and thereby keeping young newcomers to the workforce from getting jobs.

But the math says that China already needs the oldtimers, like you and I, working. That's because the 1 child policy has China in a bind, even though it was a wise and necessary policy when it was enacted.

People the world over are having their retirement age extended regularly, and there is no reason to expect China to be an exception. I suggest that most guys diligently teaching English and doing a good job will very likely be able to teach well into their eighties without missing a beat.

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