Tenwest Mandarin School

User profile: aaronb

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  • RegisteredJanuary 8, 2011
  • RegionChina
  • VerifiedNo
  • RegisteredJanuary 8, 2011

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Forums > Living in Kunming > "I don't like these Chinese ways"

Ok, I admit that I am getting annoyed. The conversation won't go anywhere as long as people (most of them foreigners) keep making excuses.

"They stare because they haven't seen a foreigner before"
Again, they stare even if they have.

Plus, there is staring (people watching) and there is STARING (long, hard, like you are looking at an object, perhaps with a miserable look on your face). In Kunming there is plenty of STARING. And in many countries, people who haven't seen foreigners don't STARE so much. THE REASON PEOPLE STARE IS NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVEN"T SEEN A FOREIGNER.

And no one is asking anyone to chat with foreigners. They can ignore you, give nod, or a little wave or a ni hao. But if they do, why not chat the same way they do with any other person? And they can do it in Chinese or English or Swahili, it doesn't matter.

Most local people, despite all the wonderful things that they do know how to do, don't know how to acknowledge me in a friendly way. When I say "ni hao" almost all are shocked, some give a friendly reply or nod of the head, some don't. But with all of them, I have to initiate it, to break the tension.

NO ONE is saying that local people are bad. We are all imperfect. But please STOP making excuses for cultural behaviors that you won't often see in plenty of more rural or isolated places in the world.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Chinese Human Compassion

If I may disagree again, it is, IMO, not a question of human compassion OR Chinese compassion.

It is a question of contemporary public norms in present day China (practiced by both very long time ex-pat residents and natives alike) that are seen as a problem by lots of people. In fact, I think almost everybody who would reflect on these problems would not feel fine about them. Clearly, only a few would argue that they are not more noticeably widespread in mainland Chinese cities at the moment. In Canada for example, that man probably would have been physically helped immediately, and other folks wouldn't have stayed for the show.

I see that as a fact, but NOT the core of the issue.

After all what if we are wrong in thinking that these incidents are more common here? What if they are more common in Toronto, Moscow or Jakarta, or wherever? Would that make any difference at all? Do we honestly think that, if such occurrences were more common elsewhere, this would make them any more defensible when they happen in Kunming? It is not a competition between east and west to see who can be more callous.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > "I don't like these Chinese ways"

@ Maley,

Nice to see you. We don't know what they word "laowai" originally meant, as there are lots of competing accounts. Lots! And some of them have nothing to do with foreigners.

But referring to someone as a laowai on one hand, and naming them laowai, or addressing them as laowai on tho other= apples and oranges. Not the same. So it CAN be derogatory sometimes. In any case, the way it is used on the streets of Kunming,well, I again would mention the the golden rule...

Also, it has already been mentioned, that in many countries with even less foreigners (visible minorities) visiting, or which are even more isolated or "undeveloped" there is less staring. Further, it has been mentioned that in some very international cities on the east coast, places where foreigners abound, staring persists.

In short, is it possible that we are viewing things with rose colored glasses. The posts saying "get used to it" are off topic, but if the question is about what to do about it, then the advice is perhaps sage.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Chinese Human Compassion

Dudeson,

I am not sure if I was clear enough:

I am not saying don't criticize aspects of a culture, or compare it to aspects of other cultures. I am also not saying you shouldn't criticize a place, or a society, or the age that you live in. What I meant (and probably shouldn't have used the word "culture") is that Chinese doesn't just mean the PRC. It doesn't even just mean China. It means lots of things.

Importantly, it is also a name for an ethnic group, or people who were raised with a certain language, and that is where we get to a point where it is unacceptable to criticize in too general a way.

That is why I was talking about using more specific, or, at least, less inherently divisive language. Now, since almost nobody does this, they will say I am nitpicking. Because of course the OP is not racist, and anyone can guess from the context that by "Chinese' the OP was just criticizing something that happens in today's China, and not questioning the humanity of all people who could be called Chinese. No problem.

But it is pretty clear by the responses to these kinds of threads, that many people don't get. So there IS a problem. I agree that people who get offended would better served to spend less time on defense and more time on open inquiry, but they don't get it, and it would be useless to blame them.

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Anyone who finds the music in nearby bars to be "nicer" than the Mask's, has basically no musical taste, and I think a charitable organization should be set up to help such people.

I am not big on most bars, including the MASK. But it is one of the best bars in town. Small enough to be cozy, good drinks, friendly staff, actual live music, a good mix of different kinds of people.

It does seem to be an after hours type bar, so don't be surprised to see it empty at 9, only to be brimming from 11-2. Lots of people start at other bars and end up there.

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Tiger Tiger should be ashamed.
9 or 10 inches for a large pizza is not fine. This same tiny pizza will run you around 45 yuan, possibly more. The cities of Chicago, New York, and Seattle, should be called in to cast judgment on this Pizza Crime. It should be called a "small pizza" and cost 20-25 yuan. Desserts are OK but overpriced.