On the china situation

On the china situation

Can you tell me some stuff about china? I’ve never been there and it’s hard to imagine what life must be like there.

Sure, so what would you like to know?

Well, I know you want to talk about politics, so I’d like to take you out of your comfort zone and talk about art instead, and agriculture, and technology, and fashion.

Fashion, really? So we are to write about Chinese fashion.

That’s right, can you?

Ok, let me try, they copy stuff from Korea, sometimes japan or America, and… that’s it. The End.

How about the suits?

Oh right, yes, they wear suits for farming, construction work and all kinds of manual labor, I guess you could call that fashion trend.

How about in summer?

Especially on hot summer days, they all suit up to dig a ditch or collect the rubbish.

Could it be a case of dress for the job you want kind of thing?

Could be

What other fashion trends have you noticed over there

In the way some western guys roll up their sleeves, the trend here is to roll up the lower part of your shirt, so instead of your forearms is your belly that’s showing.

Maybe they want to amaze the femeninas with their manhood.

Do you think it works? Should I try it?

Yes please, and take lots of pictures.

Something else that caught my eye was that sometimes they wear their jacket like a cape, and sometimes only in one arm is in while the other sleeve hangs loosely on the side.

Interesting, unique I would say, so how about organizing a Chinese themed fashion show?

I don’t see that ending well.

How about the electronic stuff there?

Throughout the years I had many good and bad experiences with electronics here, for example, I bought a PSP in 2009 and it’s still working alright, I bought a shaving machine and it just exploded the first time I plugged it in, there are lots of awesome stuff but lots of rubbish as well.

There are many rules you need to follow when buying electronics in China, the first one being that if the brand is very well known like Sony or IBM then the product is probably fake and you will be paying a lot for rubbish. Your best bet would be to buy a small Chinese brand that maybe is not so big so they have no reason to make knock-offs of it.

The second rule will be: anything you buy on the street will be half price online. Third rule, your Chinese friend know better what to buy and where. The fourth rule, if it looks too good to be true is not necessarily too good to be true.

For example?

Well, some things may look dirty cheap when seen with foreign eyes but they aren’t actually,

For example, I have bought some new formal shoes or suits for about 2usd at some big supermarkets.

I thought we were talking about electronics, but well that explains the fancy farmers. What else?

I bought a second-hand E-Bike for about 130usd. Can’t take trips out of town but it does take me to work every day. In Taiwan, it would have cost me at least 10 times more.

Western Governments say the batteries are expensive to produce, is that true? Or what is the truth behind solar/electric powered vehicles?

But you said you didn’t want to talk about the government.


Ok, western governments can’t do what they want, even when they know it’s the right thing to do, they must do what big corporations want for whatever that reason may be, so oil producing companies put pressure on governments for delaying the development of electric powered vehicles, how they do that? By charging huge taxes to companies who want to develop clean energy or creating patents on the batteries so no company can afford to develop it. The Chinese government in the other hand doesn’t depend on big corporations to manage the economy and take their decisions for them, because they ARE the big corporations, all of them combined, as Marx would put it, they own the means of production. So they can do as they please, and even though they do many many terrible things this isn’t one of them.

Broken clock?

Exactly, even a broken clock will be right twice a day, so a few years ago they banned oil powered motorbikes from all the major cities, now I know what you will say “laws in China are not really laws, they are just suggestions”

I wasn’t gonna say that.

Fortunately, though, this is one of the few laws that are actually heavily enforced.

But most of the electricity we use comes from burning coal anyway so isn’t it the same in the end.

Yes but they have taken steps to greatly reduce noise pollution in all the big cities, in the most populated country in the world, that’s got to count for something and they minimally reduced air pollution, because most air pollution is still caused by cars, buses, planes, the meat industry and factories. I am always the first one to criticize them when they do something wrong so I must be fair and point out the good they do as well, on the rare occasion that may happen.

Well, I am happy to hear you criticize the government because that means you have freedom of speech, oh wait…

Very funny, now I want to know what is the general sentiment of the people outside China if you’ve never been here, how do you imagine it’d be like?

True I’ve never been to China but I’ve been to India so that’d be my point of reference for a densely populated place, I guess I imagine China as total chaos and anarchy, rubbish everywhere, noisy, crowded, or maybe a strange mixture of India and Japan, with the Japanese ant-like fast-paced kind of lifestyle plus the chaos of India. I imagine everyone shouting at me at the same time and everyone trying to cheat me, how far am I off?

It could definitely be like that, but then you travel a few hours outside the city and there’s no one there and people are nice.

If there’s no one there how can they be nice?

First, there’s no one, then someone comes and they are nice.

What if no one comes?

Then no one is nice, but because there’s no one there not because people are not nice in general.

What if a dog comes?

Then we can pet the dog or play with him.

Or her.

Or her.

What if you get bitten?

I thought life was too short for “what ifs”.

What happened to your south American trip?

Next year for sure.

But you say the same every year.

I know, but this time for real.

If you don’t come I’ll go and get you and drag you all the way down here, and drag your dog.

You don’t know where I live, no one knows but me.

So if you die tomorrow no one will find your body or cry for you.

That’s right, it will go unnoticed.

Actually, I know where you live.


In China.

But which city?

In chun chan chin.

That doesn’t sound like a Chinese city, they always use 2 words, you used 3.

Chan pan wan?

No, that’s also 3

Pin ton tun?

No, and that sounds Vietnamese.

Kung fu chu chu?

That’s 4, getting worse.

How about your impression of living there.

Well, it’s not like living in Thailand, Japan, Korea, where there are foreigners everywhere and people have already had decades to assimilate the idea that there are other countries out there and sometimes people from there make it this way.

China has opened up his doors relatively recently, so people outside the big cities have probably never seen a foreigner in real life so you would be the first one, and guess what, they will be surprised so they will stare at you, a lot.

Isn’t that scary?

It is somehow, most people are friendly though so they smile or say hi,

Others look very scary and they want to check you out, you know like a white guy going into a black neighborhood, they check your clothes from head to toe to see what you’re wearing, then look at you deep in the eyes to see what you will do next. This doesn’t mean they are dangerous, it’s just their way to deal with something they have never seen before, and they will easily crack a smile if you approach and talk to them in a friendly way.

Biggest culture shock so far?

What came as a shock to me at the beginning was the huge difference between individual rights and collective rights, individual rights always come first, as opposed to in the west where you need to “respect other people” and stuff like that.

For example?

How many examples do you want?

Can you do 7?

I can do 12.

7 is enough for now.

Ok. 1) Someone making noise late at night, we can’t complain because his individual right to make noise always comes before his neighbors’ rights to sleep.

2) Someone smoking in the elevator/bus/train, we can’t complain because his individual right to smoke anywhere comes before other people’s rights to breath.

3) Someone cheating your money, we can’t complain because his right to cheat you comes before your right to not get cheated.

4) if you want to cross the street you have to run in between the cars, they can’t stop because their individual right of getting where they go very fast comes before your right to cross the street safely.

5) Someone takes a dump in your doorway, can’t complain because his right of taking a dump in your doorways comes before your right of not having someone taking a dump in your doorway.

6) Someone shouting at you or at others, can’t complain because that’s his right.

7) if you have a job and the boss doesn’t want to pay his employees, that’s his right.

Sound like a pretty terrible place to live.

Well yes, I  mean I live in a 20th floor so every day when I come in and out my choices are either taking the elevator with the smokers or taking the stairs that stink like urine because people use them as toilets.

Those are not good options.

But there are some good things as well.

Tell me next time?




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