О насVOSTOK Magazine - это первое независимое медиа об обществе, культуре, истории и политике стран Ближнего и Дальнего Востока. Мы пишем обо всем, что кажется нам важным и интересным.
On old women's pre-dawn gatherings and why it's better to be a 5-star hotel resident if you are a Youtube addict.
Last time we spoke about Chinese national peculiarities of trade, food, attitude towards non-Asian foreigners and the secret behind male seasonal fashion.
This time we'll tell you about old women's pre-dawn gatherings and why it's better to be a 5-star hotel resident if you are a Youtube addict.
6. People of the streets
Chinese are a really loud nation – this is one of the most common stereotypes about them. Well, it's true. If you suppose that you're going to be enjoying the beauty of China in quiet while your solitary walks will be accompanied by smooth sounds of zither, forget about it. If you want to be alone in China, you have to become a complete recluse. It's always loud out there. Chinese people shout, sneeze, spit, take photos of you without your permission, and that's okay. Let's find out why.
Don't think that nobody is watching you while you are choosing a fancy T-shirt that manifests your love towards Shanghai or Beijing. Maybe this one time you are lucky and no one approaches you with the question about how it is even possible for you and your girlfriend to have hair of different colors or about other things that usually astonish Chinese people. But you have to be aware of the fact that all the time you're in the store someone is staring at you. Even if you ended up buying nothing the things you paid attention to (tried them on or laughed at them) will sooner or later be purchased by your Chinese observers. The point is, Chinese citizens look up to the Westerners, they want to imitate you.
7. The way one treats oneself and his looks
Don't avoid the attempts of the Chinese to start a conversation. There is no such thing as "private space" in China. Yes, it's hard to get used to it, but remember that in other parts of the world it's usually hard to get a chance speak to the natives. And also, the main topic of the discussion will be you! Isn't it flattering? Firstly, they'll say that you speak excellent Chinese (don't get cocky, they will say that even if you can only say "Nihao"). After that your interlocutors will tell you how cute and beautiful you are. By the way, if you are in the middle of bargaining that may help you to get a big (as they say) discount. If this topic is brought up outside of the market they will probably speak about their nation too, they may complain about how everyone has the same hair color and how all Europeans have a "beautiful long nose" (though in different circumstances this compliment would sound kind of weird).
8. Urban culture
If you stay in one of the Chinese cities you should definitely visit one of the street markets which usually open in the evenings in small side streets. You will be lifted by a cheerful human whirlwind. You can even buy nothing, but you will certainly become a part of universal cheer. In the daytime tired workers bring their chairs and sit there (yes, many people carry their furniture with them, so don't be surprised when you see a Chinese guy comfortably sitting on his armchair in front of a supermarket watching TV through the window), in the evening lots of sellers gather there to sell everything one can imagine. We highly recommend you NOT to buy food, but a slice of melon is harmless and tasty so go for it. The Chinese are "loud", that's a fact. But in Rome do as the Romans do. You are a guest in the country with a great past and a promising future, so you have to put up with it.
9 Granny's secrets (Personal experience)
Russian aged women are a great power that is led by who-knows-what who-knows-where. Everyone has faced that hidden power at least once. When a pert grandma spots a place to sit, you'd better get out of her way.
Chinese grandmas can also give you a decent fight. Their secret is everyday gymnastics which they do early in the morning. You are bound to witness them after spending a long night out. They just run circles doing some exercises to a cheerful music. One may not only watch that "dance" (they won't mind) but also join it. Don't think, however, that this set of exercises is easy to repeat. After just 5 minutes you will be completely exhausted while cheerful Chinese women will go on smiling and repeating the exercises. You will leave this magic circle before the end of grandmas' morning gymnastics, I assure you. According to a young trainer, this gymnastics is really helpful, it helps women to stay in a good shape. Many women come to train every day, not only to do exercises, but also to hang out with their friends.
10. Zuckerberg won't call back
If you want to exchange contacts with a Chinese friend, be ready that your comrade most likely won't have Facebook or Twitter accounts as the usage of these services is limited in China. The official aim of these restrictions is "the quality improvement of the information and the protection of the mental health of young Chinese people". It's worth noting that this control is executed by Chinese security agencies all over the country. Chinese websites are also censored. But don't get upset. If you have the urge to talk to your compatriots, you can go around this limit (via VPN or proxy, look through it before you go to China). But in order to continue communicating with Chinese friends you'll have to register on some popular Chinese social networks.
For example, "Sina Weibo" (新浪微博) is a Chinese Twitter counterpart. And instead of Facebook Chinese (mostly students and well-educated people) use "Renren" (人人). There's also "Tencent" which is a social network based on QQ (a popular Chinese instant messaging platform). And of course "Wechat" (微信) which is a mobile app for voice and text messages and that is quite similar to WhatsApp.
If you can't live without Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, we have good news for you. About a year ago Chinese government has permitted the usage of these services in 5-star hotels. This is because government is striving to show their loyalty to wealthy foreigners.
If one is warned, one is protected. Good luck and have a great trip.