Readers’ Blog

Laowai's 8 tips for a happy stay in China

Popularity 8Viewed 13074 times 2016-2-27 16:30 |Personal category:life|System category:Life| attention, people, dreams, nation, really


I have been in China for 5.5 years now. Soon I will be celebrating my 6th anniversary of my love with China and its people. (Actually this blog is a development to a previous blog post which attracted huge attention.) I really love this nation and land. This exceptional love does not mean I am doing well or I have realized all of my dreams here. However, I respect the opportunity that they have given me. My ancestors or I have not fought battles for this nation. We have never even touched a bricks of these gigantic buildings, road networks or rail roads. However, suddenly I have come to this blooming nation and enjoying their system. Anyway, I have seen many foreigners are greatly unhappy in this country. Some foreigners are doing well here while some are not. Surprisingly, I have seen people from both of these groups are talking negative things about this wonderful nation and its people. Therefore, I thought to share some points that I learned from being so long on this land. I hope these tips will help all of us to be happy.

 

#1 You are in a very different country

Admit and be conscious about the fact that you are in a different, a very different country. The difference may be bigger than your previous experiences being abroad or your expectations.

  

#2 Learn their language

Learn the basics. Ask a road, buy a train tickets and such simple things. This is very important. Because most of unhappy foreigners I have seen can be categorized to this. They do not know language, and more importantly, they are not interested to learn it. They keep thinking the whole world should understand their language, English. They expected migrant sales women to understand their English with accents. They expect under paid old security guards to understand the importance of them and their urgencies to visit their bosses. This self-sufficient nation with billion likeminded people can survive even without knowing the word “Hello”. Admit that fact. This will bring energy to quickly figure out simple dialogs, which will lubricate your day-to-day life. And it will bring you happiness than you ever expected to pursuit.  

 

#3 Be patience with your Chinese

Learning this language and keep improving is difficult. Even some Chinese are struggling to distinguish some words, example 4 and 10. Therefore, do not worry when someone do not understand your communication. Sometime, even before we spit out the very first word they will come up with “women ting bu tong (We can not understand)”. This is heart breaking or even making us angry. However, we have to be tolerant towards the shyness of them. Please respect their unwillingness to talk with you. Try another person. It is not hard to find someone patience enough to listen your struggle with Chinese mandarin. Humorously admit the proverb of chinsese people “Tian bu pa, di bu pa. Jiu pa wai guo ren shuo putong hua” (I do not afraid heave or earth, but afraid foreigners speak mandarin)


#4 Fix an Ali-pay account and get a wechat app

If you are going to stay here without a smart phone which do not have Alipay or wechat payment method, you are going to lose a lot of conveniences in this land. It is open for Laowai now, a lot of countries are now on the Alipay, you can easily configure a one. However, if you are an unfortunate person like me, with very lengthy name, it is still troublesome to make a full account with Alipay, however you can have a partially activated Alipay account which can be used to spend money. (You will not able to receive money)

 

#5 Respect their biases toward western world

Whenever a western guy come to our dormitory, I bet with my friends that how long it will take him to take a beautiful Chinese girl to his room. I always win as I bet it to be less than one week. They easily win the affection of the beauties of this nation. I really do not know from where they pick these girls, however they are beauties who may easily qualifying to be the main character of a film or a tele series. Whenever a western person comes to a table with lot of Chinese, we experienced that awkward movement. All of attentions are on him/her and suddenly we disappear from the cycle. In every aspects; love, sex, carrier, education or business they got the preference. I have seen this phenomena make many guys to be unhappy. Do not be. We cannot change a collective attitude of billions of people, which build up in centuries. Rather than complain and being angry, try to find exceptions. They are jewel of people in this country, who care the person and his attitude rather than discriminate you due to your color or race. Try to find that gem. It is hard. But for sure, there are many of them.

 

#6 Do not worry too much about the quality of food and beverage


Forget about the history. Go behind the best and popular brands of food and beverage. They are safe now. If you think too much about quality of food and beverage, your happiness will be gone. Period.

 

#7 Escape from your safe zone

I have seen many people here find their own people and then spend the whole of their time in China with their own people. Go out together, dine together, and play together. The build their little town right here in China. Like the China town in USA. This is to be avoiding if you want happiness. What is the point been in a different country if you spend all of your time with your own people? You can do it better back there in your motherland/fatherland. I admit this feel safe and comfortable at first. However, escape this safe zone to realize the nirvana of being in China.

 

#8 Chinese holidays are not ours


Specially the New Year time, May 1st and national day. If you go out for fun in these times, it is much about suffering among million of them rather than enjoying sceneries. Talk to your boss, get arranged different vacations for you.

 

There are a lot more to say. But lengthy blogs may not be read by our CD fans. I wish you will too add more tips to make our foreigners “Happy”.



About Author :- I am Sube 苏贝 a PhD scholar. I love writings blogs, columns and articles for online or offline publications. Contact me if you want articles for your website, newspaper or magazine which related to life, motivation, carrier, science, technology and innovation. Wechat 微信: subezji or email: xiaosube@hotmail.com If you like my blogs, please consider giving me Red Packet (红包) via wechat.



(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs
2

Flowers

Shake hands

Ray

Friends who just made a statement (2 Person)

Like 1 Share
8.03K

Report

Comment Comment (17 comments)

Reply Report Chengking 2016-2-28 10:37
Love your plug about receiving "red packet" via WeChat.  
Reply Report sube 2016-2-28 12:05
Chengking: Love your plug about receiving "red packet" via WeChat.   
Thanks
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-2-29 15:57
Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it in our blog homepage.
Reply Report sube 2016-2-29 16:10
voice_cd: Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it in our blog homepage.
Thanks
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-3-1 23:15
#5
it is hard to respect the biases when they are based on incorrect information or the apparent belief that people from outside of China all behave like people on American TV programmes.

Many Chinese men attempted to molest and harass myself and other European women in a group of professionals I was working with due to their erroneous belief that the US tv show 'Sex and the City' was how all non-Chinese women behaved.
They then got all offended when we assured them in no uncertain terms that they were mistaking fiction for fact.

Sadly we were subjected to this kind of behaviour on more than one occasion, and I am not talking about in bars or night-clubs (which we did not go to), but in coffee shops and on the streets.

Respect works both ways.
how am I to respect a culture that disregards some of the most basic behavioural norms of millions?
Reply Report sube 2016-3-3 09:10
BlondeAmber: #5
it is hard to respect the biases when they are based on incorrect information or the apparent belief that people from outside of China all behave  ...
This problem is not only limited to China. This is a problem of desperate and lost men. They think sex can be bought to their bed with a single smile or a small talk. Actually in real world, sex is a long process which need feeling of deep love from both ends. I know for a strong love, for a strong love at first sight, it does not matter the women is from which part of this world, but quick long relationship may occurred in the same day. But everything depend on the feelings of both parties.

Another thing these people do not understand is TV series are usually designed to be addictive and change the perspective of people, in order them to subscribe to the series which make it a gold mine for producers. Most of these TV series are based on common perceptions it exclude the reality of the common world.

In my specific tip, I have not asked to submit oneself to these biases. I have asked to accept that there are these kind of people, but there are good people too. Find good people and spend your happy time in China.

Writing this comment is the first thing I did today morning when I logged into my laptop. The reasons are, I really respect and value this kind of in-depth comments. And I also respect for European ladies, they are educated, knowledge, financially independent and open minded, less dependent.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-3-3 23:23
sube: This problem is not only limited to China. This is a problem of desperate and lost men. They think sex can be bought to their bed with a single smile  ...
I think the best response to such ignorance as I encountered is anger and a public dressing down - there are times when 'being sensitive' to local cultures is not the right thing to do.

Someone disrespects me just to make themselves feel good, especially when I am not doing or even speaking to them, and a total stranger - I will tell them off, no problem.

telling foreign women to tolerate this treatment is not something they should have to accept because 'this is China' - no woman should have to accept this ANYWHERE.

if even one man changes how he looks at women and treats them with more respect, it is one less misogynist in the world.

we can not change the collective attitude of millions if they behave in an uncivilised manner, but we can change them a person at a time.
Reply Report sube 2016-3-4 08:33
BlondeAmber: I think the best response to such ignorance as I encountered is anger and a public dressing down - there are times when 'being sensitive' to local cul ...
Yes, I think in some situation a controlled reaction is good rather than toleration. Anyway, except these problems I hope you are enjoying your stay here.
Reply Report helenriver 2016-3-4 20:39
I agree with all your points. I have an ex-colleague who complained about China every day during his stay here for two years. He had many things to say about the inconveniences here, the rudeness of taxi drivers, the stupidity of people who cannot fully understand his English, the blocking of many foreign websites, etc. He assumes that the censorship has ruined all Chinese people's mind and only westerners see the whole truth. I attempted many times to explain to him about some things he observed here, trying to give him a different perspective of looking at things. But he is very stubborn and remains very unhappy in his time here. I feel sorry for him because he could have been happier if he just tried to understand the differences without judging everything with superiority. I admit that China does have many aspects that needs to be improved. I just wish that all foreign friends can see that China is improving. Luckily this is only one individual case. Many of the expats I know have assimilated themselves nicely into the life here, learning the language, making friends, travelling to places, using taobao and wechat, etc. I hope all expats can feel happy staying in China despite all the differences in lifestyle, ideology and culture.
Reply Report sube 2016-3-5 01:50
helenriver: I agree with all your points. I have an ex-colleague who complained about China every day during his stay here for two years. He had many things to sa ...
you are not alone. All of us have this guy in our friends list. Who is bitter about everything around them in China. They even curse. Very sad. The only question for the people who see worst in everything around them here is, why do not you change your plans and try another country? However, I agreed to BlondeAmber, there are rudeness of people here in some areas, but if some body find bitterness in everything around them, in your case for two years, they wanna get themself out of the country.
Reply Report pnp 2016-3-6 12:36
Tell me how one can be happy when he is faced with anti-social behavior everyday and almost everywhere he goes, such as  littering, spitting, helping their children to urinate and defecate on pavements and walkways, lifting them up to urinate into wash basins in restaurants and public toilets, leaving behind dirty shoes prints on basin tops, smoking in public toilets, bus stops and wet markets in defiance of the ban on smoking, throwing garbage out of cars and buses, just to mention a few!
Reply Report sube 2016-3-6 12:50
pnp: Tell me how one can be happy when he is faced with anti-social behavior everyday and almost everywhere he goes, such as  littering, spitting, helping  ...
The scale of the problem is depend on exactly where you are living in China. In general it is moving towards positive direction. If you are planing to live long terms here, you will see things are getting better. If you living here short term, forget these things. Try to achieve your short terms goals, it is not wise to be upset with these things. See my first tip,
Reply Report pnp 2016-3-6 12:50
And please add on to the list above the destruction of public properties, especially in parks and nature reserves, climbing up beautiful cherry blossom trees, breaking their branches, and breaking off blossom twigs to hold for photo shoot, trampling on flower beds and flowers for a better photo shoot, throwing garbage down steep mountain cliffs, forcing cleaners to abseil down the cliffs to retrieve bags after bags of garbage!
All your points are too simplistic and ignore the unpleasant truths one sees and feels everyday.  One can't close one eye to the problems and pretend they don't exist; one has got to be either blind or devoid of emotions to be able to face such anti-social behavior and still pretend to be happy!
The only saving grace is that China offers other things which are interesting to foreigners, and that's why many are still here despite the above!
Reply Report pnp 2016-3-6 15:37
sube: The scale of the problem is depend on exactly where you are living in China. In general it is moving towards positive direction. If you are planing to ...
'The scale of the problem is depend on exactly where you are living in China'

It's a national problem, not a regional one; been to many rich cities and witnessed the same.
Don't know where you got your optimism from, that 'it is moving towards positive direction'!  I have lived in China for a long while, and what I see does not give me the same optimism!  And the problem is not going to go away anytime soon, despite measures like 'blacklisting' those engaged in anti-social behavior!
But having said that, I am happy to be here in China, as I try to pretend there are no problems, like you prescribed
Reply Report PatrickInBeijin 2016-3-20 22:20
Well said!  Nicely written.  Jia you!
Reply Report sube 2016-3-23 11:39
PatrickInBeijin: Well said!  Nicely written.  Jia you!
Thank you
Reply Report sube 2016-3-23 11:39
pnp: 'The scale of the problem is depend on exactly where you are living in China'

It's a national problem, not a regional one; been to many rich cities a ...
Thank you.

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


Album

Recent comments

Star blogger

Anming

4124

views

Maierwei

2603

views

财神

4580

views

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.