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Born in the UK but now living in Australia, Paul Fox has travelled to many places throughout China. He has seen the lighter side, the darker side, both the gentle and the seedy sides. He documents his experiences and is willing to share them with anyone who wants to listen. He is not afraid to say things exactly how he sees them, and is quite happy to "name and shame" when necessary.
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Who Has Got It Right?

By Paul Fox
358 Views | 5 Comments | 10/22/2017 9:37:54 AM

Life in rural China is simple and hard, but happy and good. Are the rest of us missing something?

My best mate, of more than 20 years, moved to Australia about 9 years ago. He and his wife have just returned from their first trip abroad. Their desination - Bali.



From Perth, Bali is a short 3-hour flight, so it's easy to see why it's popular with West Aussies. Add to that the fact that everything is far cheaper than it is here and you have the ideal holiday destination.



Like most of Asia, the cost-of-living is a fraction of what we pay in countries such as Australia, the UK, most of Europe, and the USA.



In front of me at the supermarket checkout today was an elderly lady buying cigarettes. She paid $210 for a carton - the same carton in China would be RMB200, which is a fifth of the price here.



In China, I can buy a pack of smokes and a bottle of vodka for RMB50 ($10), but here you'd pay $50 for the same things.



My friend and his wife paid a driver $60 to drive them around all day. Ten hours in total. The driver explained to them that he only sees his kids every couple of weeks - even though he and his wife are not separated - it's just how life is there for him.



As he drove close to his home, my friend insisted that he go there to visit his kids. The driver was more concerned about giving my friend value-for-money, so he declined, but my friend insisted.



The upshot was that the driver went to see his kids, invited my mate and his wife into their humble home, spent two hours with his family and made my friends as welcome as the Spring flowers - all despite them not having the proverbial 'pot to piss in',



China is 50% similar. With its population of around 1.4 billion people, it's said that around 700 million live on $1 USD a day.



Basically, these people have nothing, yet will give you all they have. The other 50% tend to be generally materialistic, so the more they get, the more they want.



I'm not talking about this half - I want to concentrate more on the Asian people who have nothing.



Living in the apartment below mine was an elderly couple who grow their own veggies and sell them on the street. They look about 120 years old and have probably been married for 95 of those years. They argue like cat and dog (often at 4am with no regard for who they might wake up), but they seem genuinely happy most of the time.



The fact is that they have invited me into their home on many occasion - usually for dinner. The problem for me is that they only speak local dialect, cannot read or write Mandarin, so I have no hope of chatting with them. However, that doesn't change who they really are - honest, genuine, lovely people.



As my mate recounted his experience with his Balinese driver, his eyes welled with tears. "Why are we so materialistic?" he asked. "You can't take it with you!"



Well ain't that the truth?



If there's something I have learned over the last few months, it really IS the differences between how we Westerners are raised compared to the way many Asian people are raised. It's actually quite humbling.



Sure, we all like to have the nice house and drive the flash car, but are they really necessary?



In a blog I wrote here a few years ago I recounted the story of how I was invited to a dilapidated farmhouse in the north of Guangxi prorvince for Spring Festival / Lunar New Year.



The floor was concrete, the February warmth came from the kitchen stove that was on 24/7, and there sat the biggest wok I have ever seen. Constantly topped-up with chicken and fresh vegetables from the farm, the only other food in the house was rice.



These people were paupers. I have no doubt that they had saved every spare cent for a year in order to afford a carton of beer and a couple of bottles of Bai Jiu so they could celebrate the most important festival in the Chinese calendar.



Family, friends, and neighbours all gathered round the stove and the pile of beer cans. We ate, drank, sang songs and had a great time. Sadly in those days my Chinese was pretty crap, but as the only white face in town, I was the VIP guest as far as they were concerned.



To enjoy the company of real people - people who are genuine and not out for how much they can screw out of you, people who don't care about material wealth because they care more about their own happiness and spiritual well-being, is really beyond words.



Having spent the last 3 years living among such people, it makes me feel ashamed to once again live in the rat-race that is Australia, and the West in general.


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 5 of 5) 1
#2017-10-22 09:32:19 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Paul, welcome home to the blogs of CLM and ALM! This article is striking for it's simple, direct but remarkably eloquent expression of what is so right about life in many third world countries, including rural China, and so absent in our first world lives. It is also so relevent to our members who are trying to understand Asia and China, and the women who are now becoming a part of their lives. Not the women from Shanghai or Beijing, or upper class Bangkok, but the many women from the poorer parts of Asia and China.

This blog also reminds us of why we have these blogs, how valuable they can be in helping our members and many visitors peel away the confusing layers of cross cultural dating and succeed in finding a better mate and a better life. This is a blog that makes me very proud that we provide these blogs, and proud of our bloggers for tirelessly writing and generously contributing them.

Thank you.(beer)(y) 

#2017-10-22 11:36:39 by melcyan @melcyan

Paul, I enjoyed reading this blog. It evoked many positive memories for me.

 

"To enjoy the company of real people - people who are genuine and not out for how much they can screw out of you, people who don't care about material wealth because they care more about their own happiness and spiritual well-being, is really beyond words."

 

I agree. However, these people can also be found in the West. To find them think about how you found these gems in China. You were probably more quiet than usual. You probably listened more. You most likely observed more. You probably gave respect without thinking about whether or not the recipients were worthy of respect.

 

These actions are much more difficult for us to do at home in the West but if you can do them success will eventually come your way. There are many gems to find but they are easily obscured by the abundance of false Western sparkle.

 

#2017-10-22 17:36:22 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@melcyan

I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head when you said that in China I probably observed more. I think that one has no choice really. With a language most westerners can't understand and a lifestyle that many see as 'ignorant', then observing more than usual is a must.

As for the gems in the West, sure I agree with you, however they seem to be much more far-and-few-between than they do in China.

@JohnAbbot

Thanks for your input. I agree with you about the blogs in general because without them, well, it wouldn't be CLM/ALM would it?

 

#2017-11-11 08:22:12 by anonymous16604 @anonymous16604

In the US we have a problem with materialism and it's a problem over here too. Young people in the countryside study hard, take the gaokao and hopefully go to a top univeristy like BeiDa. They are told to make their  family proud and bring lots of face due to  material success. The Chinese dream is to have a good high paying job, automobile and apartment. Many girls won't marry a young man unless he has these things. A Chnese brother complains to me that Chinese girls are so materialistic and that money isn't the most important thing in life. He's talking from a Christian worldview. He spent several years in Australia, wants to marry a western sister and move back there. This  materialism may  also have something to do with financial security due to China's long history of famines, war, internal conflict etc. My wife's best friend from university, who is a successful businesswoman, was telling me that she personally observed in her former company how a kid of a prominent leader would  skim off the top to make millions  of RMB that he  haven't worked for. Crony-capitalism. The Clintons and their pals of guilty of this criminal behavior (Schweitzer. Clinton Cash). Hopefull with the Uranium One revelations they'll be sent to prison for Russian collusion etc. Although John D. Rockefeller said, "capitalism is a sin" as he wanted to maintain his  oil monopoly and was a globalist oligarch, it's the best economic system that we have. Let me qualify  by stating that it needs moral parameters. The selfish human nature needs to be reigned in. We cannot do it merely as an act of our own will, but need a far greater help outside ourselves to do what is right.in every area of our lives. As Proverbs so aptly states, "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." I say, "love people and use money, not love money and use people."  

#2017-11-11 20:31:23 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@anonymous16604

Again, you are spot-on correct. Materialism isn't just rife in China, it's the world over.

However, please don't get me started on the 'Christian' thing. If you are a 'true' Christian then you won't like what I'd say to you. Essentially proof that ALL religion is BS and that Jesus-on-a-stick never existed. Just more lies in order to control the 'sheeple'

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