The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

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cesium14
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The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:28 am UTC

Well, Chinese media tend to be, in short, crap. So I wander on foreign website a lot. Sadly, I found numerous misunderstanding and misperception of Chinese all over the web. For example, we don't worship Mao, and instead some younger people call him "Bacon"(because he ordered to be preserved so that his body don't decay) And we are not brainwashed by our government(I can't say they're not trying to, but we're possibly counter-brainwashed, doubting every word from the Big Old one) Steroetype is not scientific, and it sucks, so I try to do something to form the first impression for the second time.
How do you picture a Chinese(America-born-Chinese don't count, they're american)? What do you want to know about China? Feel free to reply. Offensive remarks are not preferred, though.
When there's no question to answer, I'll post something about things around me.

btw, where else can i post this?

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:28 am UTC

ME

I'm born in Harbin, much to the north of China. Grateful to Harbin government. Because according to pinyin rules, my city could have been called "Haerbin", which is lame. Some 100 yrs ago, Harbin is full of Russian people, but now we just eat their chocolate and caviar.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:29 am UTC

HIGHER EDUCATION


I've never been abroad, but since i got admitted to the best college in China, the Tsinghua University, it's generally believed that i'll get my doctorate in the US. It's really hard to get into a good college in China(in my province 200k students took the CET this year, and 100 are admitted to THU), but once you're there, you WILL graduate in 4yrs. It's not acceptable not to enter college if you come from a city, but more and more people are encouraged to enter a technical school(i'm not sure it's the right word). People from rich family usually study abroad since high school, and once they get whatever a degree they can come back as "highly educated expert" and take over their father's job. btw, we refer to "rich people" by "middle class", and there's no upper class except in ads. I'm not really a college student so far, so i can't picture a detailed college life in China, but one thing I know is that you can play every ball game after college. And you have to bribe your "instructor" often(I don't know if college of other country have this "instructor". They're not really teachers, and they don't teach, but they will look for faults after you). You have 5 dormmates(or 7 in some small colleges), so dorm life can be real politics(it's fun if you meet interesting people, though).

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby ArchaicHipster » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:25 pm UTC

What's the current situation with the one-child policy? I know that it's been scaled down, and ethnic minorities/people in rural areas/people in dangerous jobs/couples both of whom were only children are allowed to have more than one, but I'd be interested to hear what your take on it is.

Also, to what extent is the Internet censored at the moment? I'm pretty sure Google self-censors as part of its agreement with the government on its operating there in the first place, but are (for example) blogs with dissident opinions closed down?

(I lived in China for most of my life, so I'm very interested in the Chinese culture/mindset.)
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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:21 pm UTC

ArchaicHipster wrote:What's the current situation with the one-child policy? I know that it's been scaled down, and ethnic minorities/people in rural areas/people in dangerous jobs/couples both of whom were only children are allowed to have more than one, but I'd be interested to hear what your take on it is.

Also, to what extent is the Internet censored at the moment? I'm pretty sure Google self-censors as part of its agreement with the government on its operating there in the first place, but are (for example) blogs with dissident opinions closed down?

(I lived in China for most of my life, so I'm very interested in the Chinese culture/mindset.)



First of all, I'm really grateful that you care about this. What you said about the one-child policy are all true, and now only 35.9% of Chinese population is subject to the one-child restriction. Actually I don't think this policy affects city families, because these days raising a child is becoming increasingly expensive(up to $200k). There are more and more DINK families(homosexuals included LOL) in cities. People just don't want a lot of kids. However, this isn't true for families living in rural area. Farmer families usually prefer boys, so when they get girls they try to have another kid. Without restriction this can be disasterous(think about all the 1billion rural population). So, I'm one out of the few supporters of the one-child policy.

And about the second question, actually there are ways to get uncensored google search result in china. You just change your interface language to English(but your internet will be cut for a while if you search on sensitive issue). But we can't get access to sites like Youtube or Facebook without VPN. Blogs CAN be shut down for their content, and some people HAVE been arrested for that(in the name of "spreading misleading information with ill intention"). But as a famous dissident is elected as People's Representative, so this might change(though some people doubt that he's been bribed/threatend by the government to lead the public's focus to trivial matters).

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:57 am UTC

I've heard some worries that your nation may be facing a demographic crisis in the future, with "4-2-1" families having the four grandparents leave the workforce, and the two parents wind down, while (with the one-child policy being pulled back) the generation that's doing the bulk of the work might have more kids, leading to a really bad ratio of workers to non-workers.

Is this a real concern, or just complete BS?

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:30 am UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote:I've heard some worries that your nation may be facing a demographic crisis in the future, with "4-2-1" families having the four grandparents leave the workforce, and the two parents wind down, while (with the one-child policy being pulled back) the generation that's doing the bulk of the work might have more kids, leading to a really bad ratio of workers to non-workers.

Is this a real concern, or just complete BS?




Well, I haven't heard the theory before, but it does make sense. Postponing retirement age is already under discussion, and as I mentioned before, not all families want more than one kid. We work hard anyway, and we can live on a lowered standard, so I guess we get by.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:20 am UTC

Thanks for answering!

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:12 am UTC

A question related to my field of study: what is the Health Care like in your area? I found a lot of conflicting information (probably because old information gets repeated over here).
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:20 am UTC

bigglesworth wrote:A question related to my field of study: what is the Health Care like in your area? I found a lot of conflicting information (probably because old information gets repeated over here).


Well, things differ between cities. In general, we have social health insurance, which pays for around 50%~70% of medical expenses(there are exceptions and stuff, to which i'm not that familiar). And also, we save some money from our monthly wages to a specific account, joined by subsidies from the government. When we buy things like cough pills we usually draw money from this account(but in practice many people just use it as a regular credit card. this is not allowed, but there are loopholes).

But above is just the theory. It takes at least 300yuan(approx $50) if you go to the hospital, no matter what disease it is. And things like cough or regular cold don't get paid by the government, so mostly we pay for our own health care.

(But one of my friend got amotio retinae last year. the operation cost 23000yuan, and he just had to pay around 8000, the rest covered by the health insurance)

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby Dopefish » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:09 am UTC

This is perhaps a less sophisticated question compared to the others, but it's something that recently crossed my mind, and this thread occured to me.

It's my understanding that most chinese resturants in the west serve what is basicly a 'westernised' version of chinese food, and it's not really an accurate representation of what chinese food is really like.

My question is are there americain resturants in china in a similar theme to chinese resturants in the west, and if so, is the food there somehow 'easternised'?

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:27 pm UTC

Dopefish wrote:This is perhaps a less sophisticated question compared to the others, but it's something that recently crossed my mind, and this thread occured to me.

It's my understanding that most chinese resturants in the west serve what is basicly a 'westernised' version of chinese food, and it's not really an accurate representation of what chinese food is really like.

My question is are there americain resturants in china in a similar theme to chinese resturants in the west, and if so, is the food there somehow 'easternised'?



i like this question. just for the record, chinese food is not necessarily sweet/sour(is this a chinese stereotype of westernized chinese food?) And about the question, yes.
I'll just talk more about fast food,cuz i rarely eat any other western stuff. Generally we use more salt that westerners. Burrito is made with cucumbers in china. And pizza is covered by TONS of cheese and toppings. Everyone i know that had been to Italy describe the pizza there"unbearably bland". Hamburgers are always the same i guess. Once i went to a local western restaurant, and i find they serve all dished together. And we stew(in the chinese sense, with much much more soup) foie gras, and sausages are served with pickles. And besides, my city is close to Russia, and you know, Ameica is foreign, Russia is foreign, so every foreign food gets a little bit russian with the weird tomato soup and LOTS of cabbage.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby Galtama » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

Lot's of questions here, hope you don't mind to answer...

How is the education system in China? Is it really that rigorous and competitve as people say? Do you learn calculus in primary/high school or in the university?
I heard that to study for the gaokao people even go to hospitals and breath in oxygen containers to improve concentration*. Is that common? ( doesn't look like since it was featured on the news though...)
Is it harder than the IIT-JEE? (the Indian institute of technology test)
Could you send me a translated mat test? ( or maybe just a question)

Hope I didn't look weird by asking so many questions... :oops:



*(http://news.163.com/09/0605/09/5B1M1LN3000120GU.html)

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:09 am UTC

Galtama wrote:Lot's of questions here, hope you don't mind to answer...

How is the education system in China? Is it really that rigorous and competitve as people say? Do you learn calculus in primary/high school or in the university?
I heard that to study for the gaokao people even go to hospitals and breath in oxygen containers to improve concentration*. Is that common? ( doesn't look like since it was featured on the news though...)
Is it harder than the IIT-JEE? (the Indian institute of technology test)
Could you send me a translated mat test? ( or maybe just a question)

Hope I didn't look weird by asking so many questions... :oops:



*(http://news.163.com/09/0605/09/5B1M1LN3000120GU.html)


Well, in general, there's 6 yrs elementary school and 3 yrs middle school, which is compulsory and in some remote areas free. Then there's the 3-year high school, where things get tough. The higher education is almost the same as everywhere else.

The education is no longer so rigorous as it was before, but i guess it's still not easy. In Chinese elementary school, Woody Allen is correct:"Those who can't do teach. Those who can't teach teach PE." Almost every kid was at least once smacked or punched by their elementary school teacher for various reasons ranging from failing to recite the multiplication table to speak taboo words. In middle school things get better. Just keep an eye on the bullies and it's fine. The class ends at 5pm, so we don't get much free time. In high school, the teachers and the rules go the exactly opposite way. Teachers simply don't care about students as long as the class is over. On the other hand classes end at 9pm(some places 10pm), this surely can be called rigorous. As to competitiveness, it depends largely on what school it is. In some schools classmates don't even talk, just focusing on their studies. But in most schools things are so settled that there is no real competition.

The 3rd question, yes, in high school, we learn a bit. And in university it's a must(except for arts student).

And the oxygen thing... It's not common, but it DOES happen. Some people even inject amino acid(don't really know why it's good). It's all over the news in China.

I quickly scanned the iit-jee paper. I think the indian paper is harder. Especially the chemistry part.(The funny thing is there's no official publication of gaokao paper online)

Should I post the paper here, or send it to an e-mail or sth?

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby MostlyHarmless » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:42 am UTC

One of my professors was from Inner Mongolia. He said that he went to university to study physics, but the government instructed him to study biology instead. (He is now a respected ecologist in the US, so I suppose it worked out.) Is/was this sort of thing common? What do you think of it?

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby Роберт » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:50 pm UTC

cesium14 wrote:In middle school things get better. Just keep an eye on the bullies and it's fine. The class ends at 5pm, so we don't get much free time. In high school, the teachers and the rules go the exactly opposite way. Teachers simply don't care about students as long as the class is over. On the other hand classes end at 9pm(some places 10pm), this surely can be called rigorous.

...that sounds like way too much school time. When it start?
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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby Galtama » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:26 am UTC

Sorry I couldn't answear it sooner, please send the gaokao copy to my e-mail : galfremaan@yahoo.com

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby dg61 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

About how well-known is Ai Weiwei, and what do people in your circle tend to think of him?

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby ycc1988 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:46 pm UTC

Most dissidents are very effectively silenced by the government and are virtually unknown within Chinese borders. Not everyone has the ability or incentive to scale the Great Firewall.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:01 am UTC

MostlyHarmless wrote:One of my professors was from Inner Mongolia. He said that he went to university to study physics, but the government instructed him to study biology instead. (He is now a respected ecologist in the US, so I suppose it worked out.) Is/was this sort of thing common? What do you think of it?



Srry for keeping you guyz waiting for so long. The internet was down. Apparently, "the cable was broken due to construction work", and "the recent weather is too hot for any repairing to be done". And for your question, i haven't heard of such thing at all. Maybe it happened to the older generation, but now we're free to choose our science career. I can't imagine if i had to study a subject i don't like. Oh yeah I remember a text from our book where a scientist who studied astrophysics turned to surface physics(dunno if it's the correct term) because of "the call of the country". Guess it happened before. Maybe in the 1970s.
Роберт wrote:
cesium14 wrote:In middle school things get better. Just keep an eye on the bullies and it's fine. The class ends at 5pm, so we don't get much free time. In high school, the teachers and the rules go the exactly opposite way. Teachers simply don't care about students as long as the class is over. On the other hand classes end at 9pm(some places 10pm), this surely can be called rigorous.

...that sounds like way too much school time. When it start?


We begin our elementary school at 6yo. Middle school 12yo and high school 15yo. So we enter college just at 18.
Galtama wrote:Sorry I couldn't answear it sooner, please send the gaokao copy to my e-mail : galfremaan@yahoo.com



Ok, but it could be a while, cuz i have to refer to the dict a lot. I don't really know about math english.
dg61 wrote:About how well-known is Ai Weiwei, and what do people in your circle tend to think of him?



Srry i really don't know much about him. But his "The Commune by the Great Wall" is famous. Most of chinese people have heard of this hotel, buf few people know it's his work.
On the other hand, his father Ai Qing, is very well known to all Chinese people. Many can recite some lines from his poems.

btw Ai Weiwei's been arrested last year according to the news.
ycc1988 wrote:Most dissidents are very effectively silenced by the government and are virtually unknown within Chinese borders. Not everyone has the ability or incentive to scale the Great Firewall.



Good point. So in some sense Chinese people know about china even less than a foreigner does.
Last edited by Felstaff on Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:46 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: for goodness sake, EDIT your posts, don't post 5 times in a row. Read the rules!

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby Роберт » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:32 pm UTC

cesium14 wrote:
Роберт wrote:
cesium14 wrote:In middle school things get better. Just keep an eye on the bullies and it's fine. The class ends at 5pm, so we don't get much free time. In high school, the teachers and the rules go the exactly opposite way. Teachers simply don't care about students as long as the class is over. On the other hand classes end at 9pm(some places 10pm), this surely can be called rigorous.

...that sounds like way too much school time. When it start?


We begin our elementary school at 6yo. Middle school 12yo and high school 15yo. So we enter college just at 18.

I meant, if high school classes end at 9 pm, when do they start? Noon? 5 pm? 8 am?
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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby hyunchoi98 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:45 am UTC

Hi, I'm (south) korean and I was wondering how chinese people think about korea (both north and south) and their relations.

I have to say, koreans don't think very highly of chinese people, for some reason.
I think that's complete nonsense in this global world.

Anyway, thanks!

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:56 am UTC

Роберт wrote:
cesium14 wrote:
Роберт wrote:
cesium14 wrote:In middle school things get better. Just keep an eye on the bullies and it's fine. The class ends at 5pm, so we don't get much free time. In high school, the teachers and the rules go the exactly opposite way. Teachers simply don't care about students as long as the class is over. On the other hand classes end at 9pm(some places 10pm), this surely can be called rigorous.

...that sounds like way too much school time. When it start?


We begin our elementary school at 6yo. Middle school 12yo and high school 15yo. So we enter college just at 18.

I meant, if high school classes end at 9 pm, when do they start? Noon? 5 pm? 8 am?


Ah,srry i got you wrong. Typically it begins at 7:30. The lunch break is from 12:00 to 1:20.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:44 am UTC

hyunchoi98 wrote:Hi, I'm (south) korean and I was wondering how chinese people think about korea (both north and south) and their relations.

I have to say, koreans don't think very highly of chinese people, for some reason.
I think that's complete nonsense in this global world.

Anyway, thanks!


Opinions differ greatly from people to people in China.

Some people, especially teenagers, are crazy about Korean stars. They have posters all over their rooms and literally don't talk about anything else.

And also, there are people that object strongly to everything Korean(mostly teenagers, too). They get pissed off about how Korean people try to make Chinese tradition Korean, and they attack(online and offline, mental and physical) Chinese Korea-lovers. Once they organized an "attack", posting nonsense in a Korea-fan BBS, causing a major chaos. They call it "the Holy War"(pathetic, huh?)

Actually, as it always is, most Chinese people don't have a real opinion about Korean people. When the two countries got into some conflict, we make offensive remarks about Korea. But the next day there will be a long line at the shop waiting for the newest Galaxy Note(LG has a bad fame, though) You can say our mind change a lot, but the fact is that we don't really care about politics, history and stuff like that.

About the two Koreas, the general opinion is that North Korea is way too aggressive. They keep annoying everyone, and never realize how weak they are. And another popular idea is that the Chinese government is behind their back.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby ycc1988 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:17 pm UTC

DPRK = buffer zone between PRC and major US ally ROK. Of course the CCP wants to maintain good relations with the Kim clan.

Question: what do the mainlanders think of "one country, two systems" and the HKSAR? I'm from there myself.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:16 am UTC

Seriously, cesium, please stop posting multiple times in a row. If yours is still the latest post in the thread, and if it's been a relatively short time since you posted it (like, less than several days), just edit your last post instead of making new ones.
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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby cesium14 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:27 pm UTC

ycc1988 wrote:DPRK = buffer zone between PRC and major US ally ROK. Of course the CCP wants to maintain good relations with the Kim clan.

Question: what do the mainlanders think of "one country, two systems" and the HKSAR? I'm from there myself.


We like it. That policy simply means tax-free stuff to us. It's relatively easy to get access to HK, and there we can buy stuff(watches, electrical gadgets...) at a lower price. And rich ppl get somewhere to spend their money at Macao. Hopefully it won't change.

About HKSAR, personally i think it's mostly westernized, having just a remote association with the mainland. Typical HK stuff like horse racing are exactly replica of the UK. When we talk about HK, our first reaction would probably be Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, or Leslie Cheung.

Actually I applied for HKUST, but i failed T-T
gmalivuk wrote:Seriously, cesium, please stop posting multiple times in a row. If yours is still the latest post in the thread, and if it's been a relatively short time since you posted it (like, less than several days), just edit your last post instead of making new ones.


Got it, thx. Didn't know it's so important. Just got used to the "reply" button.





ycc1988 wrote:Eh. Down here, most HKers are a little resentful about rising prices and rents. It seems that every week, there's another local shop forced to make way for some luxury goods mega-chain. As a most extreme example of the excess, along Nathan road you'll often see two branches of the exact same jewellery chain less than 100 meters apart. In Times Square, even cinema chain UA was forced out of its home in the basement. If even the big chains can't handle it, what of the common store owner?

At a lower economic level, you have the milk powder smugglers, thanks to the melamine scandal wiping out all faith in mainland milk. People are occasionally seen shipping entire crates of cans across the border at 羅湖 (Lo Wu), and employees at some retailers are known to defy their own companies' bans on bulk purchases out of greed. Then there are the parents in Northern district complaining that "double negative children" are hogging up all the primary school places by enrolling as cross-border students. "Double negative" means that the child is a HK citizen even though both parents are not, thanks to a little line in the Basic Law. Related to this problem is the lack of maternity wards available, and the fact that over a third of HK babies are born to non-local parents. Though part of this is because HK's non-existent welfare system and workaholic culture makes it very untempting to have a child.

Still, I think the biggest fear is that the mainland is slowing pushing it's political system onto Hong Kong and that any resemblance to democracy will still have will soon be eroded away. Hong Kong is very much the Berlin of the East, leftover from the Cold War.



Well, what can I say...just hope things will be better






Here's a joke about Olympics

-If China knows how to modify an athlete's gene, why don't they do that to the soccer team?
-My real concern is that they already did.
Last edited by cesium14 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:51 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby ycc1988 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

Eh. Down here, most HKers are a little resentful about rising prices and rents. It seems that every week, there's another local shop forced to make way for some luxury goods mega-chain. As a most extreme example of the excess, along Nathan road you'll often see two branches of the exact same jewellery chain less than 100 meters apart. In Times Square, even cinema chain UA was forced out of its home in the basement. If even the big chains can't handle it, what of the common store owner?

At a lower economic level, you have the milk powder smugglers, thanks to the melamine scandal wiping out all faith in mainland milk. People are occasionally seen shipping entire crates of cans across the border at 羅湖 (Lo Wu), and employees at some retailers are known to defy their own companies' bans on bulk purchases out of greed. Then there are the parents in Northern district complaining that "double negative children" are hogging up all the primary school places by enrolling as cross-border students. "Double negative" means that the child is a HK citizen even though both parents are not, thanks to a little line in the Basic Law. Related to this problem is the lack of maternity wards available, and the fact that over a third of HK babies are born to non-local parents. Though part of this is because HK's non-existent welfare system and workaholic culture makes it very untempting to have a child.

Still, I think the biggest fear is that the mainland is slowing pushing it's political system onto Hong Kong and that any resemblance to democracy will still have will soon be eroded away. Hong Kong is very much the Berlin of the East, leftover from the Cold War.

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Re: The Foreigners' Guide To Chinese Culture

Postby rolo91 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:01 pm UTC

If the thread is not dead yet, i would like to ask some questions, too:

How are USA and Europe view in China? Not only the official opinion , but the people 's opinion too.

What would you say are the main differences between the western and the eastern way of thinking? (if any)

Thanks for your answers!


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