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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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My China Trip - Day 23, Part 2    

By Barry Pittman
3415 Views | 24 Comments | 7/17/2015 9:56:47 AM

Great doubts. Deep wisdom.
Small doubts.  Little wisdom.
No doubts.  Airhead.


These were my somewhat irreverent thoughts in the hotel room as I prepared to walk up to Tina’s apartment this morning.  They’d been precipitated by the restless night I’d experienced last night.  Full of thoughts, dreams and yes, doubts. What on Earth was I doing here?  Am I doing the right thing? Was Chinese online dating normally so complex?

 

Some may wonder my purpose in penning this journal.  Why bother, when millions don’t. This journey of mine however in some ways could hopefully form at least a little preparatory advice or guidance for those who may follow after me.  China was a most complex and unique place, after all, full of many intriguing challenges. The thoughts and many of the ambivalent feelings that on a daily basis mischeviously assaulted my senses I was sure would be felt by others.  

 

This vague notion helped assuage my feelings that the considerable time in writing these many articles wasn’t at the end of the day, a complete waste of time.  I was at a loss however, to fully understand why some people had called for an end to the China blog, saying enough was enough.  But if my scribblings annoyed, bored or irritated them in some incomprehensible way, why didn’t they simply stop reading them?  It would be quite easy for me to put my pen down, then simply sit back and watch the sports on TV instead of writing, after all.

 

But back to the matters at hand.  As I dressed and prepared myself for the walk up to Tina’s place, it slowly dawned on me that the longer this fascinating trip lasted, the more sure I felt about some aspects of it, yet paradoxically, the more insecure I felt about others.  This explained the colourful kaleidoscope of emotions, some good and some not so good, that ran through my mind each day, principally at night time when alone in the unfamiliar surroundings of my hotel room.

 

“Damn these demons of doubt!” I mumbled imperceptively to myself.  Chugging down a cup of strong coffee however soon boosted my feelings.  I was so glad I’d been smart enough to pack into my suitcase a large can of my favorite coffee plus a few packets of skim milk powder.  Coffee was perhaps my only addiction although I limited myself to no more than three cups per day.

 

It was day 23 already.  Oh, my God! Where had the time gone to?

 

On the plus side, I’d had a marvelous time traveling around and sightseeing.  China to me was a most diverse and wonderful country, full of extremes.  I loved it. Yet it was in many ways, a most perplexing place littered freely with mind blowing ambivalence. Over the past three weeks or so I’d witnessed a diverse spectrum of the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

The good parts of course were firstly the friendly albeit somewhat aloof people, who communicated in a strange jabbering language that that I'm sure emanated from a race of aliens who settled on Earth many millennia ago, such was its complexity.   Then there was the tasty food that continually tempted you to eat more, followed by the wonderful scenery, full of contrasts. 

 

The bad were the ubiquitous small apartments, more modest in both size and fit-out than what I was accustomed to.  Then there was the fact that no one in China had any idea of road rules as far as driving was concerned.  There was approximately a fifty/fifty chance that you'd end up in hospital, every time you were brave enough to take a road journey here. 

 

The last disconcerting aspect were the many vociferous souls whose habit was to speak so loudly that you could hear what they were saying on the other side of the street.  Especially when to make a point, they spat out a gob of phlegm so large that it would drown a cat, should one ever be nonchalently sauntering down the sidewalk, unfortunately being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

The ugly side of China was the seemingly omnipresent pollution.  Even Tina's small country town of Shawan exhibited waves of photochemical smog, for Pete's sake!  

 

Then there were the often dirty pavements and buildings, some of which looked like they'd had their last clean around the time that the terracotta army of warriors were being created for Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, around 200BC.

The worst aspect of China and one that I've repeatedly referred to in my series of China articles, were the pitiful beggars and poor people so commonly sighted.  If ever I was lucky enough to be granted a single wish, it would be to make poverty history. Eradicate and eliminate it from our planet, once and for all.

 

Come on, God, what have the poor suffering souls in China done to deserve all of this?

 

Enough was enough already.  Why should a child be born into a family who can barely feed or pay for itself, let alone look after someone else?  Ponder for a moment the sort of bleak future such a child faces, in terms of lost opportunities and paucity of luxury.  The struggles that lie in wait for such children, akin to vultures sitting on the fence patiently waiting for their time to come, are heart breaking.

 

Apart from children being born into poor familiies, why should thousands of adults be condemned to bring beds out onto the sidewalks at night, in order that they have somewhere to sleep?  Where do they go in the rain?  Or midwinter in the snow?

 

Why should people with no eyes or no arms or legs have to face a tortuous life of begging without the prospect of any significant government help or assistance?

 

Choosers would never be beggars.  Beggars could never be choosers.  Such is life.  Such is the way of things. Such is China.  I love it and I hate it at the same time.

 

The measure of greatness in a society is reflected directly in how its poor, its underprivileged, malnourished and disadvantaged are dealt.  In China, the decadent well-off were extremely well off, the middle classes were burgeoning nicely and the poor were, well, basically ignored altogether.

 

Is this good enough?

 

Just as it’s better to turn a blind eye upon the guilty in order to not wrongfully condemn the innocent, my belief is that China needs to stop its purposeful concentration on fattening up the middle and upper classes, in order to more fully focus on the health and well-being of its impoverished lower class. 

 

If purity of thought and greatness of spirit could be regarded as wealth, on my oath I would swear there were more rich people dwelling on the streets or in single room shanties in China, than in all the penthouses in all the world.



To be continued

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 24) 1 2 3 More...
#2015-07-17 15:45:02 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, I like this blog, I appreciate your angst over China's suffering poor, and your angst over where your relationship was going at this time. I must say though that I was surprised to read that:

"The good parts of course were firstly the friendly albeit somewhat aloof people, who communicated in a strange jabbering language that that I'm sure emanated from a race of aliens who settled on Earth many millennia ago, such was its complexity. Then there was the tasty food that continually tempted you to eat more, followed by the wonderful scenery, full of contrasts."

Am I missing something? Where does Tina fit into all this? I would have assumed she would be first on your list of the good things on your trip.

I am also unable to bite my tongue in the face of this remark:

"Just as it’s better to turn a blind eye upon the guilty in order to not wrongfully condemn the innocent, my belief is that China needs to stop its purposeful concentration on fattening up the middle and upper classes, in order to more fully focus on the health and well-being of its impoverished lower class."

I just can't help wondering where you are getting you information Barry, Are you basing your opinions on information you learned decades ago? The poor of China are being lifted out of poverty faster than in any other nation in the world. The steps being taken to achieve this by China are astounding in their breadth. The fact that there are 600 million poor people in China guarantees that they will not all become middle class over night, but it is obvious that the percentage of middle class citizens in China will surpass the percentages in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia in roughly 15 years, and that assumes that the middle class in those countries will maintain it's current level.

But there is good reason to believe that the middle class will lose substantial ground in most first world countries, and may collapse in the USA entirely if people don't wake up soon and recognize how badly their economy is being mismanaged.

Having found a couple of things to gripe about though, overall I continue to find your blogs in which you ponder China philosophically, as well as your place in this world, such as this one, very readable indeed. Cheers (beer)

#2015-07-17 17:44:54 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

"Where does Tina fit into all this? I would have assumed she would be first on your list of the good things on your trip."

Tina was not mentioned here John because she is a GIVEN. That is, everyone knows that basically everything I write either directly or indirectly relates back to her, so I assumed my thoughts and feelings for her would be automatically known. Of course, she always would be the very first on my list of nice things about China.

You also mentioned,

"I just can't help wondering where you are getting your information"

The answer to this is simple. My eyes. My senses.

In my travels around China, I saw what was going on around me. I witnessed things that were often well outside my normal comfort levels. So when I write about the poor, the disadvantaged, the lame and the cripples, I'm referring to things I've personally seen and experienced. It's not made up fantasies or imagination.

So I can only go by what I witness. I have no doubt the government propaganda would have us all believe what fantastic things they're doing for the country, but I'll believe it when I see it.

China in fact has experienced a severe share market downturn over the past few months. Shadow banks and other dubious financial institutions have helped accelerate this plummet and many analysts predict there's worse to come. Many people have lost a lot of money, some of Tina's friends included. So again, I speak from direct experience.

The propaganda about how rosey the future of China is, is just that in my eyes - propaganda. I believe it'll come, that China will indeed be genuinely great and fair to all - but in my view, this'll take way more than another fifteen or twenty years.

Sorry John, but I'm a realist, not an idealist.

Best wishes to you. (doh)

#2015-07-18 12:47:15 by QinQL @QinQL

Barry,

Funny funny funny (rofl) these pics are! Especially the head one! You seem a good photographer

#2015-07-19 12:04:05 by Barry1 @Barry1

@QinQL

"Funny funny funny these pics are! Especially the head one! You seem a good photographer"

Thank you so much for complimenting the photos in my article, QinQL.

In fact, not all the pictures were taken by myself.... many were also taken by Tina.

I hope the photos in my articles provide extra insights into China, over and above what my scribbled words say. Even if only to notice small points, such as the clothing worn by the people or the people or scenery in the background.

The fact that you've made a positive comment upon the photos highlights to me what a nice, positive and kind person that you are, QinQL. Well done, my friend. (clap)(d)(dance)

#2015-07-20 08:27:14 by anonymous13633 @anonymous13633

Barry, well thought out episode and well written. I can feel the angst you have in your thoughts, I think these thoughts are normal in a long distance, inter cultural relationship. My own thoughts are if you both love each other then you have what you need to build and grow together with Tina as she does with you. I also agree with both you and John in regards to the poor people of China, I believe the chinese government is making strides to alleviate the struggles of the poor but I also believe that China's own upper and middle class will be the hardest to bring around to this movement. I very much enjoy your writings so keep the pen and fingers moving.

Cheers

#2015-07-20 14:50:34 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

It has been mentioned before (several times) that the distance between the very rich and very poor is in-fathomable in China. The grandparents of the small child cannot afford to buy her a school bag at a cost of around $10 while the ultra-rich buy Ferrari's and Lambo's with pocket change.

But John is correct in what he says - it's not just government propaganda, I see it everyday with my own eyes!

China may have suffered a stock-market meltdown but the government have decades of 'wrongs' that they are trying to 'right' and it won't be easy or quick

Talk to any Chinese person here and they are all extremely happy with what the current government is doing

I guess we just wait and see

#2015-07-20 20:17:43 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13633

"I think these thoughts are normal in a long distance, inter cultural relationship"

Thanks for your comments, Anon13633.

I must say that a long distance relationship is trying. It's difficult. Then to make it even more so, different cultures create a whole new set of challenges. I really do hope that Tina and I can meet and overcome all of these.

One good thing that's occurring in China currently is that graft and corruption are under the spotlight. This is an essential component of creating a fairer, more equitable society.
Yet these reforms will take considerable time to be fully effective, as entrenched interests fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.

Give China another 50 or so years though and gosh, what a fantastic place it'll then be!

Thanks also for saying you enjoy my writing. It's good and decent folk like you that helps to keep my pen moving. :D

#2015-07-21 18:49:18 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

"John is correct in what he says - it's not just government propaganda, I see it everyday with my own eyes! "

Pray tell us, what do you in fact see over there, Paul?

I'm sure everyone here would love to gain further insights into what you're experiencing in the thick of it, as it were.

Better yet, maybe write a blog or three or five, on aspects of what you see. We all want to know, mate. (beer)(wasntme)(beer)

#2015-08-03 15:31:55 by Mela01 @Mela01

Hi,Barry
Your package has been sent, if you have already sent, I am happy for you. If not, I suggest you: your package sent to destination, change capital cities (Chengdu), to send or sent to your destination (Sandy Bay), easily.
If you do not suspect that I am a liar, after I received, I can give Teela
Or let Teela Lena.

#2015-08-03 16:48:08 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Mela01

Xie xie for your kind offer to receive any packages on my behalf in Chengdu that I may send from Brisbane, Mela01.

I'm sure this relates to a forum thread that I posted a little while ago:

http://blog.chinalovematch.net/forum/post/Moving-Goods-Australia-to-China


I think I have solved the problem with sending the packages. But please let me thank you very much for your generosity here. You're obviously a very kind-hearted and good person. I will be in Chengdu on 07 September but will be meeting Tina there, otherwise I would be pleased to share a coffee with you, as I know you're from Chengdu also.

So many nice ladies live in Sichuan Province! It's an area brimming with an abundance of vibrant and beautiful souls, like so many other regions in China.

My best wishes to you, Mela01. If I do have a problem with the packages, I shall contact you again, thank you. (f)(f)(sun)(sun)

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