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You Don't Know China

Popularity 6Viewed 6787 times 2018-4-29 07:57 |System category:News

I have decided to write another book. This time, it will be about China and the amazing experience I've had here living in Henan Province. I've already had inquires into doing a film documentary on this subject.

My working title is, 'You Don't Know China'.

Western people, especially Americans, do not know China. They think that they do, but, unless they've lived here like I have for the past 7 years, they know almost nothing of the real China. They don't know the wonderful quality of life here and the real lives of every day people. Their ideas about China are distorted by the American media, outdated concepts, misunderstandings and political ideas and opinions.

My goal is to 'set the record straight' on China. Westerners need to know the truth about China. China is a wonderful and amazing place. I want the world to know.
The following is a short article/essay I wrote about Chinese' love of exercise.


I'm guessing that, unless you've lived there (here), you don't know this about China and Chinese people. They love exercise and they love getting up early to do it. The parks are full of people every morning walking, jogging, children laughing and playing, flying kites, playing ping pong, lawn bowling, doing Tai Chi, badminton, croquet, doing exercises of many kinds and even, ballroom dancing.

Yes. You read that right. They even love ballroom dancing on the plazas in the beautiful parks here in the morning. The amazing green parks, with gorgeous flowers, duck ponds, weeping-willow trees and pristine sidewalks, are meticulously maintained and almost picture perfect. People flock to them to do their morning exercise.

You will see couples, not just a man and a woman, but, you'll often see two ladies dancing together, ballroom style, in the parks. I've seen them as early as 6:30 a.m. Tai Chi groups start at about 6:15 a.m. There will be a master Tai Chi teacher (you can easily identify her/him because he or she has a loose fitting shiny silk-like outfit on.)

Chinese people consider 'old' as anyone over 50. A bit odd considering their obsession with exercise and health. Many of the people that you see are retired which only means that they could be slightly more than 50 years old. However, they love their exercise.

Several ping pong tables are permanently located in most parks. It is very common. The players are serious about the sport and are quite good.

It is also common to see a group of men, upward of 50, 60 or perhaps even 70 years old, standing around some monkey bars while a few of them show their strength by doing things there that I couldn't do when I was 18.

Recently, I saw what looked like a man at least 70 years old, stretching against a wall with the inner arch of his left foot against a wall and his right leg straight up the wall with his mid-body area pressed against the wall. His body was perfectly vertical while pressed against the wall with both legs. Left leg down and right leg straight up. I was so amazed that I had to stop and gawk. He didn't mind. He knew that he was doing something 'gawk-worthy'.

Well, I could go on and on about it. Suffice it to say, you likely 'don't know China'. It is truly a mysterious, wonderful and amazing place. It is very likely far different than you've ever imagined.

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





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Reply Report Chengking 2018-4-30 10:10
Another popular exercise among my retired Chinese friends is walking 10,000 steps everyday. One can download an APP to one’s mobile phone and it will monitor the exercise.
Reply Report hithere 2018-4-30 10:42
Funny. You talk like China is somewhere in heaven where people have no access to.

It doesn't take a genius to understand what China is like, and it doesn't take 7 years of living there.

One visit along with some interaction with the locals can give you a pretty good introduction to modern Chinese mentality. It might help to look like them a bit, so that they open up to you more. Perhaps it's harder for westerners like yourself. As for me, I learned more through online interaction, whereas real life interaction left me a bit why were the Chinese citizens holding traffic signs, being punished like school children...the Chinese people told me this themselves, otherwise I would have no idea they weren't traffic officers or what they were doing's just the why I couldn't ask back, and couldn't understand at the time.

With the modern technological age, you don't need to be in China to understand modern Chinese mentality. Chinese peoplel are everywhere, you only need to interact with them. I don't know if it's because I am Chinese, so I already know a lot of the Chinese culture (minus the new Maoist Chinese culture, I don't know anything about that, that was what had me confused earlier), but I can tell you that I learned enough to not want to try living there anymore. The childish mentality they have going on in China, is so different from the overseas Chinese culture that I am more used to.

Though I am really glad you like it. But how do you get by with the language barrier? I know that I was dying by the end of my 2 years in Japan, because my interaction with the Japanese was very limited to simple words and body language. And Japanese was not a language I had a passion in.

Anyway, I guess all the morning exercises is new to you, because you come from a way different culture. See, when I first read that, I think, so what, I already know that. No idea how I know it, but I already know that. Even though I've never lived in China, except for some touristy visits for a few weeks. There's nothing mysterious about it. Maybe before they opened up, it was mysterious. But not anymore. There are Mainland Chinese *everywhere* to them and the mystery is gone.
Reply Report hithere 2018-4-30 10:44
Mainland Chinese good at ping pong? That's old news too. This was probably one of the first things I learned, like 20 years ago.

So I have no idea what you're talking about, I guess, this whole post.
Reply Report hithere 2018-4-30 10:54
Oh, I just realize you were talking about the white Americans. It's my understanding that most of them don't know the details about China, and they don't care to find out more, either. China is just one of those Asian countries on the other side somewhere with slave labor. Vietnam, China, Cambodia, all the same. I grew up in the US, and the word "China" was never mentioned once ever by anyone. That's how much they care about China. China is in the news more in recent years, but I'd bet the attitude is still the same.

So yeah I don't understand the point of your post.
Reply Report MichaelM 2018-4-30 12:13
I love to see all comments. Very enlightening and informative. Thank you.
Reply Report KIyer 2018-5-2 06:39
Enjoyed reading this.
Reply Report Archer_1 2018-5-3 16:16
hithere: Funny. You talk like China is somewhere in heaven where people have no access to.

It doesn't take a genius to understand what China is like, and it d ...
Learning about China via the western media certainly won't get you any closer to the real China.
Reply Report Swifty55 2018-5-5 13:52
Want to know the real China. You need to be very good in  the Chinese language. I have been in China full-time for 7 years since I retired from the USA. I also was an exchange Professor for 2 years back in 2006-2008 at Peking University. Learned to read, write ,and speak Chinese while teaching at Peking from Stanford. Your book I feel will not do well in the USA for no one that is a citizen of the USA cares about life else where anymore. Now if you wrote this book in the 50's or even the early 60's it would be a success in the USA. People back then actually wanted to know more about the world.  Maybe your 2,00 or so young people who actually follow you might buy your book. Other then that not many Chinese who actually read books from the library will have little interest. Even in the new tech world Chinese check out books compared to the USA  by a large percentage. Education in the USA has been watered down at every level including the so called top 10 Universities . I know for I spent 20 years as a High School teacher, 5 of them as a Principal, and 17 years as a college professor in the USA Contrary to what most foreigners think, Chinese are very good at " Critical Thinking" I  would pick the top 10 students at Peking University in every subject against the top 10 from Harvard in like subjects for they would out do Harvard's students by a mile. The foreigners I have met that have retired to China as I have know much more about the real life in China for they are fluent in Chinese. Unless you are fluent  in Chinese you are way behind in knowing the "Real China" of today. The majority of us have become a member of an actually Chinese family through marriage. Until you become a real member of a Chinese family your writing will be one sided Good luck but I think you may be disappointed with your final result.
Reply Report MichaelM 2018-5-6 08:34
Swifty55: Want to know the real China. You need to be very good in  the Chinese language. I have been in China full-time for 7 years since I retired from the US ...
Thank you for your opinion. I'm working with the same publisher for my other books that were highly successful (allowed me to retire wherever I want on the planet). I will write it. Nonetheless, thank you for sharing your insightful comments.
Reply Report Swifty55 2018-5-6 11:41
Best of luck.

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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


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