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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Perils of China - Grumpy Expat Syndrome    

By Garreth Humphris
4663 Views | 18 Comments | 3/21/2014 2:11:18 PM
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(Showing 11 to 18 of 18) Previous 1 2
#2014-03-25 18:06:53 by melcyan @melcyan

Hi Garreth , I enjoy your words but sometimes I am not able to follow everything you write. What is an "Arthur Calwell moment"?

I just read a brief biograghy of his it just reminded me that Australian politicians have made mistake after mistake ever since federation and Arthur certainly made his fair share. The reading you "made me do" resulted in me coming across this gem from him in 1941 when he described the Australian press as follows -

'It is owned for the most part by financial crooks and is edited for the most part by mental harlots'.

If he was alive today his words would be the same. This may be what the "Arthur Calwell moment" is about - a talent for causing offense???

You are 17 years younger than me and I can barely remember Arthur Calwell. Have you studied the history of Australian politics?

#2014-03-25 21:08:55 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@aussieghump

You said - Interesting you get to the point of my story - is being rude, aggressive or offensive (using serious language in Chinese) actually 'teaching' the perpetrator about their 'initial rudeness' or does it in fact enforce a stereotype that 'foreigners are loud, aggressive and abusive when all I did was say hello and a common greeting'!

In this case I do not think it stereotypes foreigners. HE was the one making the comment (in both our cases) and whatever our replies were, they were justified in my opinion
I think it teaches the perpetrator to be a little more careful in future. Sometimes people can be so arrogant that they think they are 'safe' when using their own language to address a foreigner

I have a good friend who is a bricklayer (from the UK) - typical builder type insofar as he is a little 'rough-and-ready' and can appear somewhat un-educated when you talk with him
However, he speaks fluent German (because he is married to a German lady and he spent many years working there) He has experienced the same scenarios many times and his verbal 'attackers' have always been stunned when they realise he can understand their every word

It's sheer arrogance in my opinion

#2014-03-26 16:32:32 by aussieghump @aussieghump

@melcyan

Arthur Caldwall's infamous comment occurred in 1949....a comment usually about wrongdoing but adapted to the context of Asian immigration after WWII ... for the time, not necessarily a poor comment but nowadays it isn't too politically correct. You know the one now?

My friend uses it to describe a situation where one culture cannot understand the complexities/nuances of another... whenever he says 'Arthur Caldwall moment' most people have no idea of what he is talking about!

Thanks for the compliment...I am a young guy and I used to do a bit of reading and study of history and a bit of politics! Interestingly, the stories I remember most vividly are one about the Goldfields and the Incident at Lambing Flat...maybe a precursor to living in China!

#2014-03-28 12:19:55 by Barry1 @Barry1

@aussieghump

Hello Gareth.

Thanks for your reply to my suggestion.

I hope you don't mind, but my responses to your words are in capital letters below.

Glad to see someone by their own admission has never been overweight thinks drastic and dangerously invasive operations are an 'easy way to lose weight'!

SOMETIMES DRASTIC MEASURES ARE CALLED FOR, GARETH. I'VE HAD BOTH MY EYES ZAPPED BY LASERS TO IMPROVE MY VISION, FOR EXAMPLE.

DRASTIC? YES
POSSIBILITY OF BLINDNESS IF AN ERROR WAS MADE? YES
INVASIVE? - YES
SUCCESSFUL? YES

SOMETIMES ONE HAS TO ACCEPT THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS, I'M AFRAID

But, you've got to ask would you contemplate brain surgery to become more intelligent? Or open-heart surgery to find love?

COME ON, GARETH - WITH THE GREATEST OF RESPECT, THESE ANALOGIES ARE A LITTLE SILLY.

Wow, some celebrity (Come Barry, which planet are you from that says Joe Hockey is celebrity?) says it is the best thing since sliced bread....well, we all must get some of that then!!!

OKAY, THE FEDERAL TREASURER OF AUSTRALIA MAY NOT BE A CELEBRITY. JUST TO CLARIFY THOUGH, MR HOCKEY DID NOT USE THE PHRASE, "BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD". HE ADVISED THAT THE OPERATION HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN HIS CASE AND THE RESULTANT WEIGHT LOSS WAS GRATIFYING.

Remember, the Packer family have people who will give their left kidney to help them...maybe he just got a 6-pack stomach transplant from his personal trainer!

AN ADMIRABLE ATTEMPT AT LEVITY HERE, GARETH - BUT THIS IS A SERIOUS TOPIC. OBESITY IS A MAJOR KILLER IN THE WESTERN WORLD. IT NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT - AND FOUGHT HARD.

I understand you are trying to be helpful, but this type of stuff really shouldn't be considered lightly or seen to be an instant panacea!

I AGREE THAT THIS IS A SERIOUS OPERATION THAT SHOULDN'T BE CONSIDERED LIGHTLY. STOMACH LAP BANDING HOWEVER IS A PROVEN TECHNIQUE TO HELP PEOPLE LOSE WEIGHT WHO IN MANY INSTANCES HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE AND THIS IS THEIR LAST HOPE.

IN MANY INSTANCES, IT'S BEEN HIGHLY EFFECTIVE YET OF COURSE, CARRIES ITS OWN RISKS. BUT WITHOUT RISK, THERE CAN BE NO REWARD. IT'S THE THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS.

Going into surgery is quite dangerous and playing with the gastrointestinal system is fraught with complications... it is not an easy or 'quick' way to lose weight - if you research Lap-band surgery you will see that it requires dramatic changes in lifestyle and diet for a lifetime...and somewhere around 8% of them require removal and more surgery due to infection, slippage and absorption into the stomach wall.

GARETH, I'VE BEEN IN SURGERY SEVERAL TIMES AND AM WELL AWARE OF THE RISKS.

I'M AWARE ALSO THAT MODIFYING ONE'S GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM IS A SERIOUS PROCEDURE. THIS IS WHY IT'S PERFORMED BY HIGHLY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS.

IF OBESITY IS TO BE SUCCESSFULLY BEATEN, OF COURSE IT'LL NECESSITATE PERMANENT LIFESTYLE DIETRY AND OTHER CHANGES. THIS IS A GIVEN, ONLY TO BE EXPECTED.

YOU MENTIONED AN EIGHT PER CENT LAP REMOVAL RATE. THIS IMPLIES THAT 92 PER CENT OF THE TIME IT'S SUCCESSFUL. THESE ARE PRETTY GOOD ODDS, IF YOU ASK ME.

I'M REALLY TRYING TO HELP YOU, GARETH. JUDGING BY WHAT YOU SAID IN YOUR ARTICLE, ABOUT SOME TACTLESS CHINESE WHO STOP AND STARE AT YOU, BECAUSE OF YOUR WEIGHT.

SINCERE BEST WISHES TO YOU, MATE.

#2014-03-28 17:16:12 by melcyan @melcyan

@aussieghump
Hi Garreth
I understand your reply to my comment. I was twice wrong. Thank you for putting me right.

#2014-03-28 21:38:30 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Barry1

You are a sincere man and I firmly believe that your motivation is genuine
As a large person myself (who has always battled with weight and diets) I have never even considered this option

All it really does is make your stomach smaller so that you need to eat less food prior to feeling full

There are other proven ways to do this without having invasive surgery

I saw an interesting documentary (English one) when I was last in China

Part of it involved taking 4 tradesmen and feeding them the same lunch for 2 days
Same portions, same food, same amount
At the beginning they did a scan of their stomachs to make sure all empty and then fed them
2 guys ate the food in the usual way, along with a glass of water - the other 2 had their hot food made into soup along with the water
After 3 hours they scanned their stomachs again to find that the 2 guys who ate the meal had empty stomachs, but the guys who ate it as soup still had their stomachs at half full - so were not feeling hungry

The other way is to essentially eat 6 'meals' a day - it speeds up your metabolism and you never feel hungry

First 3 days you eat nothing BUT protein
On the 4th - 6th day, you eat protein and veggies/fruit
On the 7th day, you can go to 'town' and eat whatever you like - including cakes and pastries and chocolate etc
After your 'binge day' you only eat protein for 24 hours anbd then go back to protein and veggies

I lost 20kilos by using this method

Say you eat Brekky at 8am, then 2 or 3 hours later you eat another 'meal' consisting of purely protein (small can of tuna for example)
You continue this all day - every 2-3 hours you eat some protein - right up to the minute you go to bed when you maybe eat a couple of boiled eggs
The idea is to keep the time BETWEEN meals to a minimum - so you must eat within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning

This is supposed to keep your metabolism running at full speed and by eating NO carbs, your body will naturally burn its reserves

You can essentially 'feel full' all day, speed up your metabolism, burn fat while you sleep so no need for a stomach band

The only issue is that when you have tried it ONCE, it is not as successful the second time - because you can only 'fool' your body once

Your body has a mind of it's own and is always trying to 'compensate' and make sure it cannot be fooled more than once in the same way

This is why so many people find a successful "diet', lose weight, put it back on again and then try the same 'successful' diet, only to find it will not work the next time

On the no-carbs, high-protein diet, it's easy to lose 5kilos per week (certainly in the first week) but I lost 20 kilos in 6 weeks before I became complacent, went back to my old ways and put it all back on again

I guess the 'secret' is NOT to go back to your old ways - lol

#2014-04-14 23:47:29 by Leechina @Leechina

When i was a museum in Melbourne, I heard a guy talking loudly over the phone in Chinese. It embarrassed me though i don't know him at all. When I read Gareth's experience in Thailand with those Chinese tourists, I feel embarrassed too for the direct but rude behavior. We have a saying in Chinese, " to grow a tree takes 10 years, to educate people takes one hundred years". Hopefully when Chinese are no long worrying about the food in their bowls, we will put more effort in improving manners. It takes time. But hopefully as soon as possible.

#2014-04-16 14:38:45 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Leechina

"I heard a guy talking loudly over the phone in Chinese. It embarrassed me"

Your experience in Melbourne reminds me of something that happened to me only yesterday. A Chinese friend of mine was in an eating place half way up Mt Emei in Sichuan Province. We were chatting on QQ and she sent me a 10 second sound clip of a bunch of noisy Chinese, talking and laughing loudly at a table whilst they were eating.

My friend said, "Why do these people make so much noise whilst they are eating?" You could hear them all over the room, as if it was a KTV bar!

My friend then went outside and recorded a ten second sound clip of the cicadas and birds in the bush area surrounding the restaurant.

"This is a much nicer sound than the noisy eaters inside", she remarked.

I had to agree with her. She's indeed the type of person I look forward to meeting on my forthcoming China trip. She's someone who truly realises that the goal of life is not to live garishly or selfishly as if there's no tomorrow, but to live considerately and compassionately, leaving the world a better place than how you found it.

So often the best form of caring for a friend is silence and listening. Don't talk - just shut up and LISTEN.

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