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Comparing China to the remnant of the British Empire|
I took my wife and children to Chinatown for dinner yesterday. It was Northern Chinese food, between us we had 3 dishes. The food was nice, the restaurant is quite popular. Here is my experience of it and how it made me think.
We went in me and my wife and our two small children, coming back from a long walk in the country. We dressed very causally, certainly didn’t look well off as most people would look on a night out in town. A young Chinese waitress came greet us. She sized us up and decided we were carrying a baby pram and not particular well dressed, sent us to a out of sight, out of mind corner of the restaurant(I remember having better treatments when we dressed nicer).
When the bill came it was only 27 dollars, which was pretty cheap for 3 dishes worth of dumplings, stew beef and Chinese pancakes. An ordinary restaurant in Australia would have charged twice that. There were two dumpings left over, my wife asked for a takeaway container so our daughter could have it later on as she loves dumplings.
“Its 30 cents for a takeaway container” The waitress baked.
I didn’t like her tone, gave her a disgusted look. She instantly picked it up, fearful of me complaining and my wife being white, her attitude did a 180 degree turn. She cleared the table, asked us how the food was, did her best to fake a sincere smile and even made an attempt to play with my daughter.
Its normal for restaurants in Australia to provide takeaway containers for diners for leftover food and it wasn’t the 30 cents that bothered me. It was more of the bargaining tone that bothered me. She reminded me how I recently lent an apartment I owned to a Chinese tenant and how she was so friendly before she signed the lease and even offered to take us out for dinner and wanted to make friend with us, and how I discovered her bargaining tone last week, when she was demanding a rent decrease using words like “Unfair” and “I don’t have to help you” because I put the apartment on sale and the real estate agent needs access to the apartment for open inspections.
In a post communism China, Chinese who come out of that system, unlike their cousins in Hong Kong, Taiwan and SE Asia seems to have lived in a dog eat dog world all their life. Their way of relating to people seems to be - size them up, fake sincerity and see what advantages they can take or try to stop themselves from taken advantages of.
The country has turn into one which farmers and baby formula makers are capable of producing fake baby milk for their own babies. And two years old toddler is left to die on the side of the road. For now, its economy is growing and its mass produced products are cheap thanks to its 2 dollars an hour labour. But a country which turns on its own babies and children is one which is dying and not growing. As I person of Chinese descent, I am sad.
Remember last week, I was cycling to work and my tyre was punctured half way and I had to walked to a bicycle store to get a new tube. The shop owner sold me the tube and couldn’t get a person to help me with installing the tube till the afternoon but offered me the pump and tools nevertheless. I was in my clumsy way trying to removing the tube from the punctured bicycle tyre. The person from the Scout centre next door saw me and offered to show me a quicker way of changing the tube.
The Scout person was being helpful because he genuinely believes in promoting outdoor activity and mateship. I was thankful because I learnt a new skill. He didn’t charge me anything.
British society seems to be full of fraternities, Scouts, Masons, Churches, Charity Organisations, Returned Serviceman Leagues and Missionary groups. They compose of individuals with common beliefs and common causes, generally believe in doing good and contributing to the society. Yes, there were cases of abusing power and they had been exposed and many westerners are distrustful of authorities as a result. But those groups generally do more good than harm, like Scout groups encourage young people to explore the outdoor, parents to build bonds and young people to build friendships.
China on the other hand had successfully removed any groups and associations since the communist took over. And historically, it seems the only prolific associations in China are sadly triads- rebels turn crime gangs who are into violence, smuggling and selling drugs.
May be its time for a change?