Date registered: September 22, 2008
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Wow - a ton of emotions and thoughts raced through my head after reading this post and all the comments, I couldn't help but offer my two cents. I agree with Mr. Tutor. No one was forced to come to China. Everyone of you came by your own accord whether to study, travel, do business, expand your mind, find your souls, experience culture shock and may eventually return home with all sorts of stories about what the other half of the world does. I get. Its a strange place. Full of strange behaviours, cultural tics and bizarre norms. But thats the heart of traveling and other experiencing other cultures. To be for some period of time immersed in something you'll never truly understand, to be horrified and delighted by the strangeness of it all.
I'm Chinese and grew up overseas, so I get both sides of the argument.
In regards to the dirtyness, the spitting, the racism, the hygiene issues and staring I do have a theory, so hear me out:
As a foreigner, you ARE special. Not in the inflated ego kind of way. In that yes, you are exotic, and different. Thats part in parcel to the experience. China was closed not so long ago to the rest of the world. And it has forever had a China-centric, we are superior to all other nations attitude since time immemorial. So anyone not sporting black hair brown eyes immediately sets of a little red light in the brains of any surrounding Chinese. Yes, you may find many instances of racism, deeply rooted in Chinese society, in business, in the 'we are the best' outlook which I also find deeply unsettling. It's just something you have to get over. Just like there are bigots and anti-immigration protest groups in America and Europe, so there are deeply judgemental Chinese people. Some, not all. And foreigners are not special in their being singled out. Hua quiew or overseas Chinese are treated like lepers 'whats wrong with you, how can you not know the meaning of such and such a cultural reference, why do you speak mandarin with an accent' (enter all sorts of denigrating remarks about my ancestry), they pat my head and console, "Its ok, you're not really Chinese". These things you just take with a pinch of salt and get over it. China is not xenophobic, they are at once fascinated and horrified of foreigners. Many have never seen blue eyes or red hair. It's as if an alien landed in NYC, wouldn't you stare? Just as you would not expect New York cabbies to understand a new immigrants mangled English, or an Italian restaurant to provide chopsticks, you play by the rules in a new country. Stick it out and survive it. So what if people stare? It makes me think of refugees or immigrants forced to move overseas that are often met with uncompromising beauracracy, working the dirtiest of jobs to make ends meet. Here in China, being a foreigner, you are Not an immigrant, your monthly wage is almost a years salary of any Chinese. Have you ever paused to think that many people view foreigners with a mixture of aspiration (due to heavily marketed American lifestyle), jealousy (the ability to take leisure time to backpack for 3 months at a time that is unheard of to the average Chinese), a meal ticket (a way to practice their English so they can advance out of the ratpack that is the Chinese job market) and genuine curiosity (China has not had its tourist spots tainted by banana pancakes and bhang lassis). I say enjoy being special while it lasts. There might come a day where the Chinese won't bat an eyelid, won't scramble to have their picture taken with your blonde boyfriend or practice their "Hellos" with you.
And on the spittiness and hoiking? I can only shake my head and laugh. Its a health thing. We believe in ridding the body of so called "toxic substances" which particularly accumulate at night, resulting in almost group like hoiking early morning with no discretion. Yes, the irony of the ground/table/carpet/shoe being contaminated with said toxic phlegm that we have to keep looking at is not lost on me either. Its definitely a cultural thing. And something you must just get over. Alot of my family find Europe or America unsettling because its so quiet and the people are so polite. Its not that Chinese aren't polite. We just have a different set of ways of expressing so. Cue the loud noisiness and pushiness. There is courtesy, but its expressed differently. My advice is just to master the language, be assertive and smile all the time, the Chinese will appreciate you more that way. So get amongst it, tough out the dirtiness (you'll be tougher and grow more chest hairs), laugh at the rudeness, speak the language and get to know your fellow neighbours. After all, thats why you are in China right?
I just posted a new thread on the forum asking for the same thing! I love dance, but have never been professionally trained, just hobbies and am hoping that theres a crew somewhere in Chengdu? I don't actually live in the city yet, but will be there next year, and very keen to dance! If you're still there next year and somethings sprung up, please let me know! (I did a bit of Capoeira and am attempting fire dancing/hooping) so hopefully there are some performers around Chengdu
I am hoping to move to Chengdu next year sometime and scoping out things to do.
Does anyone teach hip hop, modern/contemporary dance, belly dance etc in Chengdu?
Or are there any dance crews or dance studios where people can jam and get together?
Im not a pro dancer, but love it and want to meet others that love dance!