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1) Everyone will assume you don’t speak Mandarin.
I’d like to try and be fair about this, as the honest truth is most of us here do not speak the language. And if we did, we wouldn’t speak it very well. Still, please give some of us credit. A few of us can not only only speak the language, but we speak it better than you do.
2) Everyone will assume you are a teacher.
Yep! The abundance of English schools in China for sure is overflowing. Just because I don’t wear a pinstriped suit with leather shoes and a black briefcase doesn’t mean I’m a teacher. Some of us actually have other jobs that have nothing to do with our ability to speak English.
3) Everyone will assume you don’t know a damn thing about China.
I was very embarrassed when some of my colleagues from a former life didn’t know who Mao was, let alone who the guy on the huge Deng Xiaoping billboard(Shenzhen) was. Yet(sigh), believe it or not, more than a few of us do know who these people were, along with their significance. This would include Qianlong and Kangxi, Cixi, etc. Please don’t think we’re all totally illiterate about your long history.
4) Everyone will assume you don’t know how to use chopsticks.
The dumbest damn question I get everyday in China is are you used to the food? This is often after I’ve told them that I’ve lived here for years. Do you think I go to McDonald’s everyday? Do you think I act like Chinese in America and ignore the native cuisine of the culture I live in?… But back to chopsticks: yes, I actually learned to use chopsticks. That would be because when in Rome do what the Romans do, and btw, very few Chinese restaurants have a fork and knife. Asides, Chinese food honestly speaking tastes better with chopsticks. Please though, don’t fall out of your chair when you see me using them. It’s learn to use them or starve to death.
5) Everyone will assume you are here to screw as many Chinese girls as possible.
In the West we have a saying, It takes two to tango.
If the West wasn’t always being demonized all the time, maybe we wouldn’t be looked upon as so exotic.
5b) Everyone will assume you go to a bar every night to screw as many Chinese girls as possible.
Actually, a pub is a good place to relax and unwind after a day of work. (I prefer to go to popular Chinese hangouts) This can be done because…wait for it; no one thinks you speak Chinese! Thus they leave you alone… If they knew I could speak Chinese, I’d be mobbed. Why we can’t go to a club unless we have a hard on, though is beyond me.
6) Someone will say hello to you every damn day you are here.
Unless you have an ability to move beyond hello and converse in my native tongue, like a grownup, don’t feign to have an interest in conversing with me at all, please, unless it’s in Chinese. What if I actually answered back in English? Than what? Oh, I know what happens next! You look like a dumb-ass! At first, it was all about being the good soldier and representing the West well. And I honestly tried with all my heart to answer back hello as well. But I’m human. Just because you haven’t been within actual eye contact of a Westerner before doesn’t mean you have to jump out of your britches to say hello to me in English. And please don’t go and pout if I don’t answer back.
7) South China doesn’t have central heating.
Your apartment is a glorified concrete box, and you will freeze. This is especially true in Shenzhen.
When you pour yourself Chinese tea just to warm your hands on the cup, rather than drinking it, you’ll know what I mean. When it’s warmer outside than it is inside the box, you’ll know what I mean. When you can see your own breathe inside your apartment, you’ll know!
When you wear 3 sweaters and the chill still kicks your ass, you’ll know!
When you don’t even want to take a shower, because that means you have to get naked first!
8 ) You will be stared at quite a bit.
It will be an experience you’ve probably never encountered in your life, and it will make you uncomfortable.
9) You will be expected to hate the Japanese for a 1000 generations…
Well, don’t the Russians and Germans get along??? The Germans and the French?? The French and the Vietnamese? ? Abbot and Costello? ?Leno and Lettermen? China isn’t the only country that was bullied by the Japanese. Why do I not hear the same angst coming from Korea? I do agree, the extent to which your country was humiliated by Japan is beyond pale… But the Japanese walking the street in China today weren’t at Nanjing. They weren’t at Pearl Harbor and they weren’t at Bataan. As a collective, the country actually embarrasses itself when it shows how easily it’s feelings can be manipulated en masse. It’s like Pavlov and the Dog. Have you ever considered looking up on the internet how many jobs Japanese companies create in China? It would be easier if they were allowed to buy advertising in your local newspaper to advertise that number, like they do in my native country, but apparently they are not allowed to. Japan would’ve gladly paid reparations to China, but some fellow by the name of Mao told them to forget it.
10) You will run into a lot of people that don’t speak Mandarin very well.
Someone forgot to tell me I shouldn’t take it so hard when they don’t understand me. And they all neglected to tell me that China isn’t like America, where we all speak the same, from North to South, and East to West. There is a little thing called dialect that my Chinese friends back in school fucking forgot to mention before I came here. Did I mention that I was sent to learn Mandarin in Guangzhou?