Chinese Women, Asian Women, Online Dating & Things Chinese and Asian
Beautiful
Chinese
Women
of
CLM
Beautiful
Asian
Women
of
ALM
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.”
Articles :
92
Views :
611429
Comments :
3456
Create Time :
2013-10-20
This Blog's Articles
Index of Blogs
Index Blog Articles

Perceptions of China - Part 2    

By Barry Pittman
3443 Views | 27 Comments | 2/21/2016 1:30:42 PM

After four memorable trips and going on a year or so of living in China - ranging from extreme urban areas such as Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou through to the rural regions of Sichuan Province  -  I feel reasonably qualified to present a few random recollections and experiences of China. Those with a low boredom threshold please stop reading now.  Those idiots, fools and persons of low character, please also stop reading now.  This series of articles is intended only for the intelligentsia amongst us. 

Hmm, on second thoughts, please ignore my last statement about idiots, fools and persons of low character.  I strongly suspect if these questionable types are excluded from reading my material, there'd in fact be no one left to read it here except for Chinese ladies!

 

In any case, below are numbers 11 through to 14 of my ever burgeoning 100 point checklist, presenting some personal perceptions, observations and facts of this vast kingdom. These may provide a few insights to those adventurous folk who are considering a visit to meet a potential partner or those wishing to maybe work for a while here. Native English speakers are in high demand and teaching work is easy to find in China.

 

As usual, this is a no-spin zone. No punches will be pulled.  No favours asked for. No hidden agenda to furtively bow to. The views presented are entirely my own, not necessarily shared by the management of this website or for that matter, anyone else. 

 

By the end of this series, the aim is you'll know more about the absolute reality of China than most lazy layabouts living in the West. Not the picture postcard BS that the travel agents and others may give you, but unfiltered, undiluted, unapologetic truth.  A surfeit of wisdom and knowledge is no burden to carry, after all.

 

 

POINTS 11 - 14

 

China is....

 

11.  A land with some really nice food as well as some terrible food. In Sichuan Province where I currently live, copious spice is put on everything. Sichuan is renowned for having zesty food. This is fine for the hardy residents who grew up with it but certainly doesn’t suit unsuspecting innocents like me unaccustomed to such unwelcome, fiery assaults on their taste buds.

 

I’m not sure why perfectly good food is spiced to within an inch of its life here, though someone suggested it was to help keep people warm during the bleak winters. Whatever the reason, it’s disappointing as I know wonderful Chinese cuisine can be found elsewhere. I really enjoyed the food in other provinces to the north and the east, where spice wasn't so irritatingly overpowering. 

 

So for anyone planning to live in China for a while, be aware that where you live may have a bearing on the type of food available there.  If eating in Sichuan, ensure to have at least three large glasses of water on the table in front of you! And learn how to say "No spice! No spice! No spice!" as quickly and as loudly as you can, whenever ordering food.  Though even if you say this, you can be guaranteed to still receive at least some of it, just not quite as much as what you'd otherwise receive.  Food with nil spice here seems almost an impossibility, so when someone says "No spice", the food handlers and restauranteurs after looking at you with incredulity, then take this to mean "Not quite as much spice".

 

As an aside, a comical example of the sometimes tainted food one buys here is as follows.  I was walking home when I noticed a restaurant had a rack of sausages and other meats airing just outside the front door, facing the sidewalk.  Suddenly a dog ran up to it and happily started gnawing on the meat.  What a comical sight - the dog had struck a beefy treasure chest!  A minute or so later however, the shopkeeper ran out and chased the dog away.  But he left all the meat on the rack, undisturbed and partly chewed on, no doubt ready to be eaten by unsuspecting customers later on. 

 

How many times was this dog able to return to the food when the shopkeeper was busy?  How many other dogs were attracted to it also and maybe had a nibble? On the bright side, at least some of this food to be served was already partly predigested by dog saliva for the innocent customers to enjoy!

 

For reasons such as this  - questionable hygiene standards - I rarely buy food from street vendors in China.  One never knows where the ingredients have come from or how they've been handled.  I do feel quite sorry however for the small merchants who stand stoically all day beside their little food or fruit stalls, trying to make a living. 

 

Some mobile food vendors ride three wheeled bicycles with interesting cooking and/or heating contraptions attached to the back of them in a quite ingenious manner.  They ring a bell or else have amplified music to attract attention. Very innovative.  I don't often see people buying food from these vendors however, the fixed street stalls get most of the business.

 

The other day it was snowing here and all these poor blighters were forced to either stay at home or else stand under tarpaulins or big umbrellas  -  or peddle in the snow  -  trying to lure customers.  The trouble being that there were hardly any people, just about everyone had stayed inside, getting away from the cold.

 

Weather thus can play a crucial role in the quality of living for many small Chinese businesses.  On cold, wet or otherwise miserable days, many street merchants make zero money by staying at home or else make very little by going out onto the street where folks are few.

 

On many occasions, I've reflected how very fortunate I was, compared to the myriads of poor yet very diligent hawkers and vendors I saw in China.  My job as an English teacher was an easy gig indeed, compared to what many battlers routinely are forced to do here, day after excruciating day.

 

In particular, I feel downcast when I see older teenagers or youthful twenty-somethings, standing by their small street stalls.  I wonder what lies ahead for these young folk, a life of unremitting toil, freezing and/or sweating on the sidewalks, depending on the season?  No income at all if ever they were too sick to work.  No holiday or long service pay.  I wished they were all able to be at university or college somewhere, gaining qualifications that would enable them to forge much higher quality lives for themselves.  Sometimes I felt like grabbing such people and telling them to do something better, to at all costs do their damndest to gain an education.  But who was I judge this, having no real idea of their character, their background or family circumstances?

 

But yet, these feelings remain with me, every time I see such disappointing scenarios, knowing what probably lies ahead for the young folk. A life of penury and hardship. Blood, sweat and tears. Continuing restiveness, disappointment and unfulfilled expectations from minds once so full of eagerness, optimism, hopes and dreams of a bright future.  An ephemeral, illusory future that will forever discouragingly slip through their grasping fingers, like the perpetually cascading sands in an hourglass.

 

Any Westerners with at least a half reasonable job and a house no matter how small or old, have no good excuse whatsoever (medical conditions excluded) to ever feel depressed or sorry for themselves, compared to the lot of many fine albeit poor people in China (and other developing countries, for that matter). 

 

Sure, China is improving quickly in many areas, but millions are for one reason or another, missing out on these long awaited economic and societal reforms, falling through the harrowing cracks and crevices of an increasingly more materialistic and selfish society into lives of unbridled desperation and hardship.  China is an archetypical paragon of the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.

 

 

12.  A cold and rather dismal place in winter in many areas. Sichuan Province for example, is so much different to my home in sunny Queensland, Australia. If you decide to live in China for a while, my advice is go to a region where winter temperatures are reasonably tolerable.  Avoid Sichuan and areas further north if you're like me and prefer a little warmth in winter. 

 

Friends always told me I was a woosie pansy who couldn't take temperatures below about 8 degrees Centigrade and living in Sichuan unfortunately proves this to be correct. Winter here wasn't much joy for a spoilt banana-bender like me. Oh, the things you do for love!

 

Of course, due to China’s large size, the southern part of the country has rather mild winters.  Not all of China is freezing.

 

I guess all the stoic Canadians reading this would already be well accustomed to bitter winters, the poor blighters - but I'm certain the internal heating systems there would be much more efficient than those in China where often they're non-existant, except for maybe an overworked electric radiator on the floor.

 

As an illustration, often I stood in my non-heated university classroom on a cold winter's day looking at my students, all of whom were seated under multiple layers of coats and scarves. All I could see of their bodies from half of them were pairs of dark eyes staring out at me, beneath multiple layers of apparel.  I needed to wear a heavy jacket and felt like also wearing warm gloves, such was the chill. 

 

I could barely believe that classrooms in this frigid climate that fell to zero degrees and below were often unheated.  It was snowing here the other day, with many places having no internal heating whatsoever. Water pipes within some houses froze completely. How can students learn effectively when they’re shivering in their boots? 

 

Why does China send rocket ships to the moon when classrooms for tens of millions of their hapless students are unheated in winter and stifling hot in summer? Couldn't the billion dollar space program money be better spent elsewhere?  Or am I no more than an ignorant Westerner who shouldn't question the priorities of a government as powerful and as omniscient as that in China?

 

Welcome to China, my hapless hearties - climatic weaklings please don't bother to apply!

 

 

13. A place where it’s wise to always carry tissues with you, as so many restrooms don’t have toilet paper.  The situation is exacerbated in Sichuan Province, where the spicy food often causes mild diarrhoea.  Plenty of tissues are important.  In fact, typically I use about three or four times the amount of toilet paper or tissues here as back home, attributable purely to the saucy food. 

 

Once I got caught out without anything and had to use a newspaper as toilet paper.  To my mortification, I ended up smearing everything all over my backside - people could smell me walking down the street before they saw me.  But then again, this kept all those annoying street peddlars and barking dogs at bay.   I made sure also to not walk too close to fiancée Tina although I suspected she knew something as I swear I could see her receptive nose quivering quite disconcertedly as we leisurely strolled along, with me wretchedly pretending everything was completely normal.

 

 

14. On the subject of toilets, China’s a place where visitors need to realise that it's preferable if they can bend flexibly at the knees and thighs.  This'll help if they intend leaving the beaten track and encounter the traditional squat toilets that are abundantly lurking everywhere outside of the big cities.

 

This topic appears to be amusing to certain lowbrows here, as guaged by some of the silly comments made on this website previously when the subject's been discussed.  I can assure all the giggling  knuckle draggers out there though that if a Westerner has arthritis or inflexibility in his legs, being forced to painfully squat time after time whilst using the ground level toilets is no joking matter.  I once got stuck with my creaky joints and couldn't easily stand up - I was having nightmarish visions of needing to spend the night sitting painfully on top of the cold porcelain!

 

The other day my Gillette shaver was accidentally dropped onto the bathroom floor and it bounced into the mysterious depths of a squat toilet hole, never to be seen again.  It cost 250 yuan to replace. True story!

 

I now know why many Chinese are rather stocky.  It's simply because over time, genetic natural selection has favoured people with short legs to more easily bend and get rid of their bodily waste.  Long legged lanky beanstalks like me have long ago been irrevocably weeded out!

 

 

To be continued, parts 15 to 20.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 27) 1 2 3 More...
#2016-02-25 01:47:01 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, as usual with you, being such a prolific writer as you are, this blog is quite long. At the same time it is, as always, well crafted and one can see the amount of care and self editing that went into it to bringing it to such a high quality.

But for me the length of your articles becomes quite troubling because it presents a fairly unique problem.

There is always so much to disagree with! (rofl)(clap)(rock)

For example, the food of Sichuan, the vibrant, mouth watering, super tastiness and heat of it, is perhaps the thing that first attracted me to China. In Canada, even as a very young adult, I searched out Sichuanese style restaurants. If there is a problem at all with their food it is only that in China sometimes the oil being used is questionable both as to quality and quantity.

But the spiciness is to die for. Man up Bro! When in Rome, you know... Again, stop your whining and start to live. It takes a while to develop the taste for hot pepper in food, but once you have developed it, you will be astounded at how much more you enjoy eating. Plus, as a health conscious person you must surely know that pepper (organic, not the GMOd shit) is one of the most nutritious foods there is. It is easily in the top 10.

Regarding toilet tissue, I don't care where you are on planet earth when traveling you should always carry a package of spare tissue. I keep a package hidden in my own bathroom at home for those frequent occasions when I have forgotten to replace the empty roll. I have found myself in restaurant bathrooms in the best cities in the world where I have reached out to grab some tissue only to find an empty roll. I am then left to either the package I carry with me or to screaming for help, sometimes to people who cannot understand a word I am saying. Always carry tissue, everybody knows that.

Regarding the squat toilets. of course Chinese people are adept at squat toilets. Look at them for God's sake. The average Chinese person below the age of 106 can go into a full squat for several hours and then stand up and walk away as if nothing happened. I for one can go into a full squat for roughly 4 seconds. Any longer than that and the only way I'm getting up is to first lay fully down and start from there.

So get used to it! A country of 1.4 billion people all of whom can easily handle a squat toilet, and that is coincidentally home to roughly 2.8 billion squat toilets as a result of that, probably has more important places to spend their money than replacing all that with Crappers in order to accommodate a few whiny Westerners who really need to get over themselves.

I spent 12 years living in China and had to resort to using a squat toilet exactly one time. I fully intend to get back to China and spend half of every year there for the rest of my life, and it is my intent to never have to go through that incredibly daunting squat toilet experience again. Here is what I do.

1. I eat fairly carefully very healthy foods, and make exceptions only on occasions when I know there is a Crapper readily at hand. By eating healthy foods fairly consistently a person tends to need to poop once a day, and that is shortly after getting up. If it isn't your habit, you can easily train your body to do that. I then make it a conscious decision to never lay me down to rest (over night) anywhere that there will not be a Crapper readily available to me in the morning when I get up.

2. On occasions when I feel remotely like I may have or may be developing a queezy stomach or "the runs", I stay home or in my hotel room or damned close by. These are times well spent on my computer and not out climbing a mountain or riding around on a bus, etc.

Regarding your Gillette razor would you have fared any better if you'd dropped it in a Crapper? I guess you would have fished it out, but I doubt you would have ever been able to use it again.

My point being that it is fairly useless and impractical to spend your time in a foreign country fretting over the fact that you will encounter foreign things, such as squat toilets or a foreign language.

Which leads us to your ongoing suffering for lack of Mandarin. I went through the same thing, and I suffer the same inability to master the language. It started out that I simply could not speak the various tones, and was therefore invariably insulting or perplexing whoever I spoke to instead of complimenting or enlightening them. Now you can add to that my developing inability, due to age, to remember a foreign word unless I repeat it to myself at least 100 times, which my growing grumpiness (also due to age and which I also perceive to be striking you(wasntme)) precludes me from being prepared to do.

But I have discovered a certain joy in being able to simply shake my head, look baffled and mutter "ting bo do", knowing I am probably butchering the tones. This way if I don't care for the person trying to chat me up, I don't have to. And if I like them, at some point I can drag my poor wife into the conversation to interpret for us, thereby leaving all the hard work to her.

I do not have to listen in to the endless and always loud conversations taking place all around me in China because I can't understand them. That makes them so much easier to simply drown out. If Chinese people around me are talking about me, I get to assume it is always good, and not have to worry that maybe they are mocking me, or castigating me or worse. I can simply choose to enjoy that once again I fascinated someone so much that they chose to discuss me with their companion. What an interesting guy I must be.

I currently reside again in a country that does not speak English and in a location in that country where very few people have mastered English at all. The language here is a European language and would have been much easier to learn than Mandarin, but I am being very careful to not accidentally pick up any words that are not essential. I know the words for rum, beer, restaurant, taxi and crapper. I also know the words for hello, goodbye and I don't understand. That is enough for my life here to be very livable and my socializing to be 100% by choice.

It is perfect here and it was perfect in China.

Nice blog Mate, Cheers (beer)

#2016-02-25 07:13:59 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Barry1
@JohnAbbot

Firstly, may I correct John on his lousy effort at Chinese here. 'Ting bo do' ....wtf?
China has many dialects and maybe John was talking local language, but the correct pinyin Mandarin is 'TING BU DONG' - which literally translates into 'Hear, not understand'

With Barry's 'no spice', you need to say either 'bu la' (pronounced boo lah) or 'bu tai la' - the latter meaning 'not TOO spicy'
I find that by repeating 'bu la' several times, I tend to be successful in getting food that doesn't taste like a pound of chilli paste
As John says, spicy CAN be OK under some circumstances but for me, too much spice takes away the taste of the food. Is it chicken, pork, beef or a half dog-chewed sausage in there?

From Barry's photo of the meat and the dog, I would personally NEVER buy meat products that were hung so close to the ground - it's almost as if the vendor is ASKING for dogs to come and have a nibble!

But in my 'QLV' there's some things that I NEVER buy from supermarkets and that is fruit and veg
It seems that a high % of the population here prefer to buy from street vendors (fixed as opposed to mobile). This means that the supermarkets have a much lower turnover of their fruit and veg products so they are not always as fresh as they could be.

There is one little lady that I visit weekly - come rain or shine. She sits at the side of the road with her produce (veggies) all laid out on blankets. She is a farmer and her produce is fresh, cheap and delicious. Last summer I was there almost daily because I could not get enough of her fantastically sweet, juicy, bright red tomatoes
Certainly for vegetables... street-vendors ROCK !

On the subject of crappers, I have lived in China for just over a year now and have NEVER had a reason to use a squat toilet other than for taking a pee. When I lived at my apartment in school, there was a western loo and I would never have rented the apartment I now live in unless it also had one - which it does
Barry is unfortunate because Tina's apartment has a hole-in-the-floor that causes him daily grief

I don't ALWAYS agree with John but this time spicy food, the inability to communicate with locals and having to cope with hole-in-the-floor crappers are not REASONS to avoid China, they are EXCUSES!

#2016-02-25 11:50:53 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot


Barry, as usual with you, being such a prolific writer as you are, this blog is quite long. At the same time it is, as always, well crafted and one can see the amount of care and self editing that went into it to bringing it to such a high quality.


CHEERS JOHN.



But for me the length of your articles becomes quite troubling because it presents a fairly unique problem.

There is always so much to disagree with!


THINKING PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS FORESEE ALTERNATIVE POINTS OF VIEW TO MY RANDOM SOMEWHAT BIASED THOUGHTS AND PERCEPTIONS, THIS IS TRUE.

For example, the food of Sichuan, the vibrant, mouth watering, super tastiness and heat of it, is perhaps the thing that first attracted me to China. In Canada, even as a very young adult, I searched out Sichuanese style restaurants.


WHAT'S YOU'RE MOUTH MADE OF, JOHN - CAST IRON? :o


If there is a problem at all with their food it is only that in China sometimes the oil being used is questionable both as to quality and quantity.


YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN TO MENTION ALSO JOHN THAT MANY FOOD HANDLERS HERE OFTEN TOUCH FOOD WITHOUT WEARING PLASTIC GLOVES, A POINT THAT'S A BIG TURN-OFF TO ME WHENEVER I ORDER FOOD

But the spiciness is to die for. Man up Bro! When in Rome, you know...

SORRY JOHN, MY MOUTH HAS NORMAL TASTE BUDS IN IT, NOT ONES THAT'VE BEEN DECIMATED BY A LIFETIME OF PRODIGIOUS SPICE



Again, stop your whining and start to live.


DOES THIS MEAN THAT IF ONE'S WHINING, ONE MUST BE DEAD?



It takes a while to develop the taste for hot pepper in food, but once you have developed it, you will be astounded at how much more you enjoy eating.

I PREFER TO TASTE THE ORIGINAL FLAVOUR OF THE FOOD, NOT THE OVERPOWERING CONDIMENTS SMOTHERING IT


Plus, as a health conscious person you must surely know that pepper (organic, not the GMOd shit) is one of the most nutritious foods there is. It is easily in the top 10.


OH, I DIDN'T KNOW THIS, THANKS



Regarding toilet tissue, I don't care where you are on planet earth when traveling you should always carry a package of spare tissue.

YES, I HAVE LEARNT THIS THROUGH HARD EXPERIENCE


I keep a package hidden in my own bathroom at home for those frequent occasions when I have forgotten to replace the empty roll. I have found myself in restaurant bathrooms in the best cities in the world where I have reached out to grab some tissue only to find an empty roll. I am then left to either the package I carry with me or to screaming for help, sometimes to people who cannot understand a word I am saying. Always carry tissue, everybody knows that.


EVERYBODY BUT ME, IT SEEMS



Regarding the squat toilets. of course Chinese people are adept at squat toilets. Look at them for God's sake. The average Chinese person below the age of 106 can go into a full squat for several hours and then stand up and walk away as if nothing happened. I for one can go into a full squat for roughly 4 seconds. Any longer than that and the only way I'm getting up is to first lay fully down and start from there.


YES, FOR SOME REASON CHINESE PEOPLE SUFFER NO ACHES OR PAINS WHATSOEVER AFTER A PERIOD OF SQUATTING.

BUT SURELY AS THEY GROW OLDER, THEIR KNEES MUST WEAKEN, OR SO I WOULD'VE THOUGHT.


So get used to it! A country of 1.4 billion people all of whom can easily handle a squat toilet, and that is coincidentally home to roughly 2.8 billion squat toilets as a result of that, probably has more important places to spend their money than replacing all that with Crappers in order to accommodate a few whiny Westerners who really need to get over themselves.


I DIDN'T ASK FOR ALL THE SQUAT TOILETS TO BE REPLACED, JOHN. I SIMPLY BITCHED AND WHINED ABOUT THEM A BIT, IS ALL.

I KNOW THIS IS ONE THING ABOUT RURAL CHINA THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE.

I spent 12 years living in China and had to resort to using a squat toilet exactly one time.


WHAT GREAT PLANNING AND PREPARATION THIS WAS - WELL DONE!



I fully intend to get back to China and spend half of every year there for the rest of my life,

LIVING IN A WARM COUNTRY DURING CHINA'S BLEAK WINTER MAKES VERY GOOD SENSE TO ME



and it is my intent to never have to go through that incredibly daunting squat toilet experience again.

I HEAR YOU, BROTHER



Here is what I do.

1. I eat fairly carefully very healthy foods, and make exceptions only on occasions when I know there is a Crapper readily at hand. By eating healthy foods fairly consistently a person tends to need to poop once a day, and that is shortly after getting up. If it isn't your habit, you can easily train your body to do that. I then make it a conscious decision to never lay me down to rest (over night) anywhere that there will not be a Crapper readily available to me in the morning when I get up.

GOOD THINKING, JOHN.

ALTHOUGH I CALL THEM TOILETS, NOT "CRAPPERS" THAT SEEMS TO BE A RATHER UNCOUTH WORD, IF I MAY DARE TO SUGGEST THIS.

2. On occasions when I feel remotely like I may have or may be developing a queezy stomach or "the runs", I stay home or in my hotel room or damned close by. These are times well spent on my computer and not out climbing a mountain or riding around on a bus, etc.


YES, GOOD STRATEGY.

SOME OF THE PUBLIC CRAPPER TOILETS HERE ARE FILTHY ALSO.

Regarding your Gillette razor would you have fared any better if you'd dropped it in a Crapper? I guess you would have fished it out, but I doubt you would have ever been able to use it again.

THE GILLETTE RAZOR WHEN DROPPED ONTO THE FLOOR WOULD NOT HAVE FALLEN INTO A NORMAL WESTERN TOILET, BECAUSE IT'S TOO HIGH.

A SQUAT TOILET HOWEVER IS LOW TO THE GROUND, A LITTLE DANGEROUS IN MY VIEW.

My point being that it is fairly useless and impractical to spend your time in a foreign country fretting over the fact that you will encounter foreign things, such as squat toilets or a foreign language.


I HAVE NOW COME TO GRIPS WITH MOST OF THE CHALLENGESS I'VE ENCOUNTERED HERE. EXCEPT FOR THE LANGUAGE, WHICH REMAINS A MYSTERY, ALTHOUGH I STICK CLOSE TO TINA MOST OF THE TIME WHEN OUT IN PUBLIC, SO NO BIG PROBLEM.

Which leads us to your ongoing suffering for lack of Mandarin. I went through the same thing, and I suffer the same inability to master the language. It started out that I simply could not speak the various tones, and was therefore invariably insulting or perplexing whoever I spoke to instead of complimenting or enlightening them. Now you can add to that my developing inability, due to age, to remember a foreign word unless I repeat it to myself at least 100 times,


ONCE AGAIN, I HEAR YOU JOHN AND I AGREE WITH YOU


which my growing grumpiness (also due to age and which I also perceive to be striking you) precludes me from being prepared to do.


ARE YOU REALLY GROWING GRUMPIER WITH AGE, JOHN?

TINA HAS REMARKED TO ME THAT THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE WITH ME. I'M HAPPILY A MORE MELLOW AND PATIENT PERSON THAN I WAS WHEN SHE FIRST MET ME, TWO OR SO YEARS AGO.

But I have discovered a certain joy in being able to simply shake my head, look baffled and mutter "ting bo do", knowing I am probably butchering the tones.

I THINK YOU MEAN "TING BO DONG", JOHN, MEANING "I DON'T KNOW".


This way if I don't care for the person trying to chat me up, I don't have to. And if I like them, at some point I can drag my poor wife into the conversation to interpret for us, thereby leaving all the hard work to her.


YOU'RE A SHREWD AND SMART MAN, JOHN! (clap)

I do not have to listen in to the endless and always loud conversations taking place all around me in China because I can't understand them. That makes them so much easier to simply drown out. If Chinese people around me are talking about me, I get to assume it is always good, and not have to worry that maybe they are mocking me, or castigating me or worse. I can simply choose to enjoy that once again I fascinated someone so much that they chose to discuss me with their companion. What an interesting guy I must be.


YES, THIS IS ONE GOOD STRATEGY TO ADOPT.

BUT YET, HAVING AN INQUISITIVE MIND, I ALWAYS PREFER TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND ME, ESPECIALLY CULTURAL SMALL TALK. IT MAKES DAILY LIFE MORE INTERESTING.

SO LANGUAGE IGNORANCE REMAINS A CONTINUING SORE POINT WITH ME, EVEN THOUGH I'VE LEARNED TO LIVE WITH IT.

I currently reside again in a country that does not speak English and in a location in that country where very few people have mastered English at all. The language here is a European language and would have been much easier to learn than Mandarin, but I am being very careful to not accidentally pick up any words that are not essential. I know the words for rum, beer, restaurant, taxi and crapper. I also know the words for hello, goodbye and I don't understand. That is enough for my life here to be very livable and my socializing to be 100% by choice.

YES, YOU'VE ADOPTED MANY GOOD STRATEGIES FOR LIVING.

I ADMIRE YOUR MENTAL FLEXIBILITY AND OVERALL SUCCESS IN LIFE.


It is perfect here and it was perfect in China.


I THINK THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF "HYPERBOLE", JOHN, IF I MAY BE SO BOLD AS TO SUGGEST THIS.

HYPERBOLE = DELIBERATE EXAGGERATION OR STRETCHING OF TRUTH OR REALITY, OFTEN USED WHEN ATTEMPTING TO CONVEY A POINT THAT OTHERWISE MIGHT NOT STAND UP BY ITSELF.

#2016-02-25 13:43:01 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@PaulFox1
@Barry1

Ting Bo Do, Ting Bu Dong - when you guys have been out of China for 2 years and busy trying to not learn Spanish instead of not learning Chinese, then we'll see how well you remember every Chinese phrase you now know.

Barry, the reason they are called crappers is because Thomas Crapper (who did NOT invent the sit toilet as most people believe) perfected the sit toilet in Great Britain around the same time sewers were coming in, and virtually cornered the market on them. Because of that his brand name became the generic name by which sit toilets were known for many decades up until fairly recent times.

#2016-02-25 15:59:29 by Enyaluo1977 @Enyaluo1977

@Barry1

About squat toilets, you can buy a special chair and put it on squat toilet. This special chair has a hole in the middle, some have armrest and back, some don't have. The price is about RMB60 to RMB170 (armrest and back chair are more expensive). You can find this chair on Taobao(淘宝, you can ask Tina to help you). I bought one for my father. He said very useful.

I hope this information is useful for you too. As long as you like to stay at a place, there is no problems, only solutions.

#2016-02-25 18:09:39 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Johnabbot

The REASON for correcting your 'ting bo do' was not me being a smart-ass (as usual) but more for the benefit of others reading it so they know what to say when they don't understand
It is said that Spanish is the EASIEST second language to learn so why are you trying NOT to learn it?

Your comment about Tommy Crapper made me smile because it was only today that a student asked me why we use the word 'crap' to mean 'shit' or 'rubbish' etc
I gave him the same explanation as you gave Baz lol

#2016-02-26 09:42:05 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

Thanks for your interesting thoughts, Paul.

You mentioned you'd never buy meat products from a store that hangs meat so low to the ground. The problem may be however that customers may not realise the shopkeeper has a habit of doing this.

As for buying veges directly from farmers at street stalls, this is exactly right. Not only is the produce cheaper, it's much fresher.

With respect to my assertion made elsewhere that I'd recommend China as a great place for a Westerner to live for a while, say, one or two years, I still stand by this. It's an eye-opening, interesting and mind-expanding place to live for a while.

But I still maintain I'd prefer to live long term in a place that's a little cleaner, quieter and where residents are less focused on earning money at all costs.

John Abbot was correct about Australia - it's a clean albeit somewhat boring place to live. Yet China has swung too far in the opposite direction to this for my liking.

So I'm still searching for a middle ground, my nirvana. Clean and quiet. Not too boring yet not too frenetic. I'm confident that one day I'll find it. (wasntme)(wasntme)

#2016-02-26 15:52:49 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@paulfox1

Re Ting Bu Dong, I think it was the "wtf" at the end that suggested this was more than just a "teaching others the proper way to say it" exercise. At the same time Paul, I appreciate your smart ass humor as much as the next guy so no reason to excuse it in anyway.

Re the Crapper, if you look it up you will find that shit is not also referred to as crap because of Thomas Crapper. It turns out that "crap" was in use as a synonym for "shit" before Mr. Crapper was even born. Go figure. Until I googled it I was under the exact same misconception as you.

#2016-02-26 17:35:04 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Enyaluo1977

About squat toilets, you can buy a special chair and put it on squat toilet. This special chair has a hole in the middle, some have armrest and back, some don't have. The price is about RMB60 to RMB170 (armrest and back chair are more expensive). You can find this chair on Taobao(淘宝, you can ask Tina to help you). I bought one for my father. He said very useful.


THANKS FOR THIS BUT I SUSPECT SUCH CHAIRS ARE MAINLY FOR OLD AND/OR INFIRM PEOPLE.

IF I HAD SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN MY BATHROOM, I'D FEEL LIKE AN OLD FART.

I ALSO AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE CLEANLINESS OF SHITTING THROUGH A CHAIR WITH A HOLE IN IT.

IN ONE WAY IT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA, BUT NEVERTHELESS ONE THAT I DOUBT WHETHER I'D EVER USE.

I hope this information is useful for you too. As long as you like to stay at a place, there is no problems, only solutions.


I APPRECIATE THE INFORMATION BUT I JUST DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE HAVING A CHAIR IN THE BATHROOM WHERE YOU POOP THROUGH. IT JUST DOESN'T PRESENT A PRETTY PICTURE TO ME FOR SOME REASON. THANKS AGAIN ANYWAY. |(|(

#2016-02-27 07:30:44 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@johnabbot

If that is the case, then poor old Tommy was born to have a very unfortunate name lol

That said, (you can check this on google) my favourite 'unfortunate named people' lived in England around 700 years ago

Robert Clevercunt and Belle Wydecunt were actually REAL people

And for those who DONT KNOW - the ugly 4-letter word we now spell as c*nt and totally avoid as much as possible was the GENUINE name for a woman's 'private parts' and was even a medical term for the same

The word 'vagina' is actually a LATIN word and it means 'sword sheath'. Therefore the name essentially owes itself to the male (think about it)

I must be honest, teaching English often gives a person a whole new insight into our fascinating language when one takes the time to explore the etymology of words and why they are used

Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 27) 1 2 3 More...
Comment
To respond to another member's comment type @ followed by their name before your comment, like this: @username Then leave a space. Ask Barry Pittman a Question : Click here...