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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 22, Part 7 我的中国之行-第22天,第7部分    

By Barry Pittman
5808 Views | 39 Comments | 1/19/2015 6:14:55 AM

“You have the right to kill me.  But you do not have the right to judge me”.  These were the classic lines as spoken by Marlon Brando in one of the greatest films of all time, “Apocalypse Now” (1979).  I couldn’t help but think about this as Tina and I sauntered back to our house in the late afternoon.  All around me were a myriad of sights, merchants spruiking their wares; cab drivers hurtling up the road; shoppers closely inspecting items on the footpath they were considering buying.



Despite the fact I’d written about this before and knew that I shouldn’t, I found it impossible to stop judging everything around me.  The people; the goods; even the vehicles on the roads.  Everything was being either consciously or subconsciously assessed against my particular upbringing, my background.



Some of my perceptions were extremely positive.  Others were quite the opposite.  I wanted to talk about this to Tina yet I felt this wasn’t the right time.  This trip somehow was heightening my normally rather dull sense of intuition, I was becoming more receptive and in tune to what was happening around me.  This may’ve been because of the language difficulties.  I didn’t know what was being spoken around me most of the time, so thus I focused more attentively on what I did in fact comprehend and recognise.  Something akin to a blind person gradually developing a keener sense of hearing.



On this note, as I was learning more and more about this Chinese online dating process, I was also learning more and more about Tina.  I learnt for example, that as sweet as she was, occasionally she had her challenging moments. For example, I’d taken a photo of her smiling at me, but she didn’t like it.  In fact, she told me quite directly that I should delete it - if ever she saw the picture again, she wouldn’t be happy.  I was really surprised.  I declined to do as she asked, thinking it was quite a nice shot of her. I later showed the photo to one of my friends back in Australia asking, “What’s wrong with this?”  The reply was, “Nothing at all, she looks good.”



Tina in fact didn’t like around ninety-five per cent of the photos I took of her.  Only about one in every twenty did she approve of.  This in turn was proving to be a nightmare for me, as she was continually deleting from the camera the big majority of photos taken of her, some of which to me were quite lovely and endearing.  Yet if I protested at this, she’d respond with something like “You must respect my feelings, Barry.  Sometimes you do not do this.”



This was one argument I couldn’t win.  A zero sum game.  Over time, many perfectly fine photos were being continually deleted by Tina.  Frustrating stuff indeed. 



Every relationship has its crosses to bear.  Its burdens to carry.  In our case, one of these was simply that Tina possessed an overly critical view of herself, as far as images were concerned.  She always considered that most photos of her made her either look too old, too fat or any one of a dozen other things.



What Tina didn’t realise though was that it was her compelling INNER beauty that most attracted me to her.  Outer looks are only skin deep and superficial.  They’ll inevitably pass away with time.  Compare any seventy year old to how they looked at age twenty.



What's far more important is that everyone has a beautiful soul inside themselves.  This is ageless, eternal.  No one should ever say they’re ugly or unattractive.  Words such as this are based on fear and ignorance.  Fear that others don’t or won’t like them.  Ignorance of the sheer brilliance of their amazing inner essence. 



This reminded me of one of my favourite songs, “Beautiful People” by Chris Brown.  It goes something like this.



Everywhere, everywhere

Everywhere I go

Everywhere that I've been

The only thing I see is

Is beautiful people

Beautiful people

Beautiful people

Beautiful people



Oh Whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh whoa...

Beautiful

Don't you know

Oh whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh whoa...

Beautiful

Don't you know know know



Live your life live your life

Let the love inside

It's your life, it's your life

Your beauty's deep inside

Inside you.

Don't let 'em bring you down, no!

The beauty is inside of you

Don't let 'em bring you down, no

Oh whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh whoa...

You're beautiful don't you know?

Oh whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh Whoa...

Beautiful don't you know?



For those that are able, this great song can be seen at



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILb0Y3MTO28



To balance things out however, I of course also possessed faults.  Occasionally I became grumpy over something or other.  Never abusive or rude, but no fun to be around.  The last time this had occurred was when I’d been stuck for eight hours alongside an annoying, chattering lady on the bus to Jiuzhaigou, My bad mood had extended until well after I’d left the bus, right up to dinner time.  Tina finally snapped me out of it with some very telling words.



“Barry, we’re here to get to know each other.  But if I see you in a bad mood over small things, I will not like you so much.  We may not have a future together.  But worse than that, you will not have a future with any lady at all, if you act like this.”



 No one had ever been this direct with me before.  Certainly not a Chinese, who often were quite demure and coy in their words, not wanting to seem overly forthright or critical.  But in the space of about sixty seconds, Tina had cut me to the quick.  Put me in my place. I realized that she was dead set correct.  I felt like an idiot for the churlish behavior I’d occasionally displayed one or two times already on this trip.



Watch out,, Barry!”  Tina had interrupted my introspective reverie as we walked through the markets on our way home.  A lady had suddenly come out of her shop with a big fish in her hand and grabbing it by its tail, began violently whacking its head on the footpath, right in front of us.



Oh my God,” I thought to myself, “I’ll never get used to this!”



This seemed to be the de rigueur method in China for how staff in restaurants and other eateries killed their fish immediately before being cooked.  I guess it wasn’t so different really to the practice in the West, where fish were dispatched either by freezing them or maybe chopping off their heads.  But this was done discreetly, unlike some of the places here where the fish slaughter was done very publicly and to me, rather brutally. Because sometimes it took multiple whacks on the ground before the poor fish stopped wriggling.  This was almost enough to turn me off my meal entirely.



How do they kill dogs and cats?” I wondered wryly, as I knew that these also were on the menu unfortunately in some areas.  This was something that didn’t bear thinking about.  I loved China, but some of its practices most certainly I wasn’t enamoured with.



“Do they really eat the fish that they catch there?” I ask Tina as we walked slowly past a bunch of fishermen with lines dangling limply into the muddy waters of the Shawan River.



“I’m not sure, Barry - I guess they do” replied Tina.



Given the smog problem from the factories that lurked around the outskirts of town, I’d bet that the water in the river wasn’t the cleanest.  I certainly wouldn’t be in a hurry to eat anything that came from there.  But this begged the question – where did the fish that I ate here in the shops on most days originate from?



I shook my head.  This was another question I wasn’t particularly keen on finding the answer to.  Just another one of very many riddles in fact, that increasingly began to taunt and tease me on this amazing and eye opening journey.



As we came nearer to Tina’s apartment, my spirits buoyed.  I felt a sense of pride and happiness.  Pride that I had possessed the courage to undertake this challenging trip in the first place.  Happiness that things seemed to be working out well.  Tina and I had met, fallen in love and had made love to each other.  What could be better than this, surely?



But yet…   but yet…. life wasn’t always like the movies, where romantic tales invariably had happy endings.  In the dark recesses of my mind, a subconscious alarm was going off.  A strong sense of déjà vu was involuntarily felt.



China was an amazing yet contradictory potpourri indeed, an enormous melting pot of the good, the bad and the ugly. Life here was a colourful dream for the rich, a fitful slumber for the middle classes, an appalling tragedy for the very poor.  As goose bumps involuntarily appeared on my arms, I profoundly sensed this journey was far from over yet.



To be continued – Day 22, Part 8



 “你有权杀了我,但你无权评判我”。吃完午饭后蒂娜和我闲逛回家,我不禁想起史上最伟大的电影之一,由马龙·白兰度主演的“现代启示录”(1979年)的经典台词。我周围一片繁忙景象,商家在滔滔不绝的介绍产品;出租车飞驰而过;购物者在人行道上查看正在考虑购买的物件。



尽管前文中我有说过,但我还是不能停止评判我周围的一切,人,货物,哪怕道路上的车辆。有意或下意识地,一切都被我拿自己的背景特殊的成长经历来比较评定



我的一些看法是非常积极的。其它则完全相反。我想和蒂娜谈谈,但我觉得现在时机不对。这一趟旅行某种程度上强化了通常情况下相当迟钝的直觉,我变得更容易接受发生在身边的事。这也许是因为语言上的障碍。大部分时间我不知道周围人说的话,所以我便用心把注意力集中在我所理解和认识的。类似于一个盲人逐步强化了听觉。



在这点上,随着我越来越熟悉中国线上约会的流程,我也越来越了解自己和蒂娜。例如,有时她很亲切,偶尔她会有点挑战性。举例来说,我给她拍向我微笑的照片,但她不喜欢。事实上,她很直接地让我删掉--如果她再次看到这张照片,她会不高兴。我很惊讶。我没有按她说的删掉,觉得相片照得挺不错。我后来把相片给我澳洲的一个朋友看,问“这相片有什么问题吗?”得到的答复是,“没问题,看起来不错。”



我给蒂娜拍的相片事实上她95%左右不喜欢。每20张,她大约只认可一张。反过来,这对我正是一场噩梦,因为她不断地从相机删除相片,而大部份照片是拍她的,其中一些我觉得相当惹人喜爱。然而,如果我对此抗议,她会这样答复:“你必须尊重我的感受,巴里。有时候,你没有。”



这是一个我不会赢的争执。一个零分的比赛。在我看来,很多可爱的完美照片不断被蒂娜删除,着实令人沮丧。



每一种关系都有麻烦要处理有压力要承担。我们关系的其中一个问题是,只要涉及她的形象,蒂娜会显得对自己过于挑剔。她总说她的照片让她看起来太老,太胖或任何别的十几个问题之一。



蒂娜并没有意识到,最吸引我的是她的内在美。外表只是表里的一层皮,将不可避免随着时间消逝。随你拿20岁时的样子和70岁来比较。



内在的心灵美才是更重要的,这是不朽的,永恒的。任何人都不应说自己丑陋或没有吸引力。要不然就是基于恐惧和无知。害怕别人不会或将不喜欢他们,对惊人的纯粹内在本质无知。



这让我想起其中一首我最喜欢的歌曲,克里斯·布朗“美丽的人”。部分歌词是这样的。



Everywhere, everywhere

Everywhere I go

Everywhere that I've been

The only thing I see is

Is beautiful people

Beautiful people

Beautiful people

Beautiful people



Oh Whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh whoa...

Beautiful

Don't you know

Oh whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh whoa...

Beautiful

Don't you know knowknow



Live your life live your life

Let the love inside

It's your life, it's your life

Your beauty's deep inside

Inside you.

Don't let 'em bring you down, no!

The beauty is inside of you

Don't let 'em bring you down, no

Oh whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh whoa...

You're beautiful don't you know?

Oh whoa...

Don't you know, don't you know?

Oh Whoa...

Beautiful don't you know?



如果你有权限可以点击链接进入观看



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILb0Y3MTO28



然而与此权衡,我当然也有缺点。偶尔我会为些事或其它事变得脾气暴躁。尽管从未辱骂或粗鲁,但对身边的人来说也没有乐趣可言。最近一次是上次前往九寨沟的大巴旅途上,我被困在一个恼人的喋喋不休的女士旁边长达八个小时,我糟糕的情绪蔓延直到下车吃晚饭的时间。蒂娜最后用很能说明问题的话把我从中解脱出来。



“巴里,我们是来这里了解对方的。但是如果我看到你为鸡毛蒜皮的事闹心,我不会那么喜欢你。我们可能没有未来。但更糟糕的是,如果你这么行事的话,你和任何女士都不会有未来。”



以前从来没有人对我这么直截了当。当然不是中国人,他们的措词往往相当隐讳含蓄,不想显得过于直率或挑剔。但就在大约六十秒的时空里,蒂娜把我点醒了,让我恢复原样。我意识到她百分比绝对正确。我觉得自己像个白痴,为此行中偶尔一两次的无礼行为。



“小心,巴里!”我们沿着市场走着,蒂娜打断了我的内省遐想。一位女士手上拿着一条大鱼从店里出来,双手抓住尾巴,就当着我们的面,开始猛烈地将它的头部往人行道上砸。



“噢,我的上帝,”我心想,“我永远不会习惯这个!”



这现杀现煮的方法在中国的餐馆和其他饭店似乎很平常。我想这和西方鱼被冻结或被砍掉头的做法没有太大区别。但是在我所到之处看到这样当众宰杀鱼,在我看来是相当残忍的,因为有时要多砸几次可怜的鱼才停止扭动。这已经够把我从餐桌上完全赶走了。



“他们是怎么宰杀狗和猫呢?”我苦笑着想,因为我知道在某些区域它们也是桌上的菜肴。想着这个我觉得受不了。我很喜欢中国,但它的一些做法,我肯定不爱。

他们真的吃在那捕到的鱼吗?”我问蒂娜,我们慢慢从一帮渔民身边经过,他们的钓线晃来晃去软绵绵悬荡于沙湾河的浑水中。



我不知道,巴里 - 我猜他们吃的” 蒂娜答道。



鉴于潜伏在城镇郊区的工厂造成的烟雾问题,我敢打赌河里的水最不干净。我当然不会急于吃来自那的任何东西。但回避实质问题 -我大部分时间在商店吃的鱼源自哪里?



我摇摇头。这是我特别不热衷于寻找答案的另一个问题。事实上,这只是让人大开眼界的奇异旅程中很多谜团的其中一个,他们越来越多地开始对我嘲讽和戏弄。



走近蒂娜的公寓,我的精神备受鼓舞。我感到骄傲和快乐。骄傲自己当初具备勇气选择这次充满挑战的旅程。 为一切顺利感到快乐。 蒂娜和我相识相爱嘿咻,还有什么比这更好,肯定?



然而..然而...生活并不总是像电影一样,浪漫故事总是有快乐结局。在我心里黑暗深处,潜意识的警报之前关闭了。我不由自主地又有了强烈的似曾相识的感觉。



中国的生活百态的确是令人惊异的集锦,好的,坏的,丑的,一个无所不包的巨大熔炉。对富人而言,这里的生活是丰富多彩的梦,对中产阶层而言,是断断续续的睡眠,对非常穷苦的人就是令人震惊的悲剧。我的手臂不由自主地起了鸡皮疙瘩,我深深的觉得这段旅程还远远没有结束。



未完待续,第22天,第8部分


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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 39) 1 2 3 4 More...
#2015-05-28 03:04:02 by anonymous13415 @anonymous13415

Barry another introspective installment! I find it amazing how most Chinese women see through the fog of sense and feelings to come out with clarity for our souls. Always amazes me.

As for where does the fish come from.....it mainly comes in from neighboring countries such as Thailand. China has the most fish farms in the world with many species being raised, however the hygiene and environmental concerns are for the most part ignored, most fish farms have mercury levels in the ponds 10,000 higher than the acceptable limit for human consumption. I know one man who works delivering Salmon to restaurants and big supermarkets, these farm raised salmon are packed in cooler boxes specifying Norway, Scotland and BC Canada as place of origin, even have tracking numbers to trace so called fish to origin to prove it is imported salmon when in fact it is local farm raised salmon, all so they increase profit tenfold per salmon. Big big scam.......

I agree with you Barry, maybe a sharp knife through the top of the head of the fish is much more humane and far quicker and less violent. But having said that this is their way of doing things not ours, I guess as guests in their countries we have to sit back and try hard not to say anything which for me is difficult!

" life wasn’t always like the movies, where romantic tales invariably had happy endings. In the dark recesses of my mind, a subconscious alarm was going off. A strong sense of déjà vu was involuntarily felt."

I am also feeling the same about my relationship with my gf as well and I do not like the feeling....

Cheers mate....looking forward to next episode with bated breath!

#2015-05-28 10:12:53 by Nekko @Nekko

@Barry1

Your story is much more focussed on the important stuff. Not the stuff that gets
thrown out the windows.

When you write about the little girl called WeiWei and how Tina decided to go and help this girl, I was reminded of something that happened here in Sydney last week.

I was in a bookshop and a book almost fell into my hands. The title is: "Wish you happy forever by Jenny Bowen. Website http://halfthesky.org.au/en/book

This tells the story of the abandoned children in China. It also tells the story how
centres have been built and are continued to be build to assist these children in China.

Yes, Tina shows her inner beauty to you with this action. You, Barry, well, I said it before are you. Grumpy old man. Interesting movie. Listen to the woman that tolerates your behaviour so far. Make no mistake, I think she is absolutely right when she says, there may not be a future with any other lady....................... .

Always ask yourself this question: In 5 years will this be important in my life. If the answer is No, do not bother about it and do not get grumpy over it. Shit happens. 99% of shit is not important. Deal with the important shit. Even if you have to throw this out the window. Let somebody else deal with it. Pun intended.: P

Barry, here is the website again for you, just in case you want to contribute the continued effort to bring joy and happiness to the children
http://halfthesky.org.au/en

By the way, I have no financial interest in the charity. I was moved to buy the book and
decide how I can best help them.

Barry, you have seen many Buddhist temples in China. Maybe some Buddhist practices may help you to overcome your judgmental and grumpy character that you display at times.

Barry, keep the good stuff coming.
Cheers,

#2015-05-29 10:31:27 by surpurisena @surpurisena

beauty of women is not on the dress she wearing . beauty of women is not show the finger she comb her hair. beauty of women is she into her eyes because it is window of her heart . it is a place where reside . beauty of women is reflect her soul . a true beauty of women is grow up with passing years . lot of women know that but hard to do in reality because the eviroment make people live . different eviroment make different people.there is an old saying in china :distance tests a horse's pamina . time reveals a man's heart .(路遥知马力.日久见人心) . beauty or not you will know in future.

#2015-05-29 18:48:24 by Barry1 @Barry1

@anonymous13415

"most fish farms (in China) have mercury levels in the ponds 10,000 higher than the acceptable limit for human consumption."

Thanks for your comments, Anon13415.

Your advice re the polluted fish farms in China is disconcerting indeed. It makes one wonder what really is safe or not to eat there. The worst thing though is that children with their developing bodies may be eating these polluted fish for years as they grow up, unaware of the accumulative damage the toxins may cause later in life.

After the melomine scandal involving baby's infant formula, where I believe the head men involved in this were in fact executed by the government for their notorious misdeeds, I really thought that food standards there were much higher than before?

As far as Tina and I are concerned however, things are still developing. Anything could - or maybe could not - still occur.

Cheers mate. (y)

#2015-05-29 19:08:17 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Nekko

Thanks for bringing the website to all of our attention, Nekko.

http://halfthesky.org.au/en/book

This is exactly the type of work that Tina is interested in. I'll bring it to her attention and see what happens. I'll bear this in mind also when next I'm in China, to see if there's anything constructive that can be done here, apart from simply a donation.

As I've repeatedly said in my blogs, even though China's middle class is lifting itself out of lower standards into higher standards of living, huge numbers of people are sadly falling through the cracks, living lives of continued desperation and penury. No doubt hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of children fall terribly into this category.

You mentioned that I am a "grumpy old man". In fact, you're at least partially correct. I used to be far moodier than I am now, where these days I've settled down with a much more stable outlook on life.

At least part of the reason for this goes to Yan Zi's tragic story, where despite heroic bravery and untiring assistance by a team of volunteers, Yan Zi perished at a young age. This made me realise how fortunate the vast majority of us are, compared to so many other poor souls who don't ask for much, but often aren't granted what they ask for, even simple things such as the opportunity to live.

Please refer the following to see what I mean.

http://blog.chinalovematch.net/blog/article/Sad-Story-of-Yan-Zi

I always value and appreciate your straight-to-the-point comments, Nekko. I sincerely hope life with your lovely Chinese bride is proving to be as happy and fulfilled as you'd hoped for.

Cheers Nekko. :)

#2015-05-29 19:22:54 by Barry1 @Barry1

@surpurisena

"beauty of women is she into her eyes because it is window of her heart . it is a place where reside . beauty of women is reflect her soul . a true beauty of women is grow up with passing years"

Thank you for your wise and lovely comments about the true beauty of a lady, NaNa. You are exactly correct. I commend your words.

Yet sadly, our world is based on superficiality. On outer appearances. Just take a look at the profiles of people on this website, for example, nearly everyone is posed with photos showing them to their best advantage. Many ladies even pay professional photographers to help highlight their beauty in order to more easily attract men.

Is this wrong? No. Is it right? Not necessarily.

A whole book in fact could be written about this fascinating subject. Thank you NaNa, for drawing it to our attention. (f)(sun)

#2015-05-30 21:17:46 by Nekko @Nekko

@Barry1

Happy to hear you are slowing changing to a mellow patient round eyes.

You write/ask ..............hope life with your lovely Chinese bride is proving to be as happy and fulfilled as you'd hoped for.............?

I have to tell you the truth Barry. Life is not what I hoped for with my new Chinese wife.
I is much better than I ever could have hoped for or imagined for that matter.

There were not many surprises with the new wife.

2 things I have noticed. Half the vanity unit is taken over by her numerous bottles, potions, creams and lotions.:)

Second 45 minutes notice is required to get ready to go shopping or walking.
This time is needed to put every hair in its place and whatever else she does with the
bottles and other items in the bathroom.(mm)

Other than that, I am a man in blissful happy married union with the treasure from
Baotou, Inner Mongolia.

Barry, is Tina's daughter going to Melbourne or Brisbane Uni?

Cheers,

#2015-05-31 12:15:05 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Nekko

"I am a man in blissful happy married union with the treasure from
Baotou, Inner Mongolia."

Great news indeed, Nekko. Fantastic stuff.

A bachelor living with a lady suddenly has a load of changes and accommodations to make in his life. Lotions, potions, creams and other mysterious substances are but one of these.

As for shopping, I do a lot of this via the internet these days. Simply go to the online delivery section of the Coles or Woolworths websites and order what you want. For a $10 or so delivery charge, they'll bring everything to your door. What a blessing this has been to me, since I don't like overcrowded carparks and the waste of time associated with walking up and down shopping aisles and waiting at supermarket checkouts.

As for Tina's daughter, we're unsure what'll happen here. Both Melbourne and Queensland unis are quite expensive to attend for overseas students. No doubt they're also rather selective in who they'll take, as both places are in the Top 100 in the world university ranking list.

http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2014.html

So we'll see what happens. In the meantime, Wendy is spending literally every minute studying. She never watches TV, rarely surfs the internet on the computer and never goes out with friends to socialise. She's one hard working young lady and if she doesn't accomplish her goals in life, it won't be for want of effort.

#2015-06-02 21:33:47 by roughdiamond @roughdiamond

@ Barry1 Omg. As a fellow ozzie, I feel the need to let you know, ITS TIME TO FINISH THIS $@!# UP. You started of great, but now.......nudge, nudge......

#2015-06-03 15:51:27 by Barry1 @Barry1

@roughdiamond

"ITS TIME TO FINISH THIS $@!# UP. You started of great, but now.......nudge, nudge.... "

Thanks for your comments, Roughdiamond.

Let's take a vote on it.

Anyone who wants me to continue this series, please say yes.

Those who agree with roughdiamond however, please let me know.

We'll let the public decide, although judging by the general apathy of late, maybe it is time to finish.

Cheers. (beer)

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