Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Add’ing in China… or Chinese Ritalin

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 6, 2009


ADD’ing in China… or Chinese Ritalin

Having spent most of my time in the USA and the Americas, one of the first things I noticed here, at least in the adult aged population, is the lack of ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder may be on of the most misunderstood diseases ever, but if anyone has ever spent time in Mexico, Brazil, USA, or any one of countless other countries can attest to, it is quite easy to find. .

probably one of the charming aspects of Mexico, Colombia, Brasil whatever is their add, often seen as a friendly demeanor, or devil may care attitude. To me the manifestation of that is when you, for instance, take a cab, you tell the cabbie where you wish to go and take off. In mexico or brazil, the guy will tell you about mariachis tequila, anything that strikes his fancy, you in kind can respond as you wish, can talk about baseball, football, and they will not miss a beat. In mid sentence they will transition marvelously into the topic that you suggest. You can be driving to the zocolo and ask the guy about Teotihuacan, and off he will go on a 7 minute rant, never losing his way and without pause.

Try this in china. DONT EVER change the subject with a chinese taxi, they dont get it. They have a singularity of purpose that Kim Jung Il would admire. You ask to go to the airport, inquire about the Guangzhou tv tower (which is in the opposite direction), and he becomes nervous. The guy will shoot you about ten looks trying to decide if you are being chinese and hinting that you want ot go to that place. Inevitably, they will assume that any inquiry is not of mere curiosity or ADD, but that it is incumbent upon him to actually take you there, as if by being curious, in true chinese fashion, you are telling him that this is your new destination.

This phenomenon is not due to language barriers, happens even when a native speaker is with you. Chinese in general dont seem to have the habit of changing the mental channels on the slightest whim. To them, if one is going to the airport, one can only discuss airplanes, runways and such, its like being on Ritalin, you must focus ad nauseum on the task at hand till its utter completion. For if you are in the taxi and state that you want to go to location A, the driver is thinking why in the hell does one want to know where the Beijing opera is if one is going the other directing, it totally fouls up his mental operating mechanisms, doesnt compute.

Why indeed! Uh, well I do, and really those that I term ADD countries do… actually gives them a charm or mystique, allows you to relax, take it easy. The road is long the possibilities are endless…

hey taxis lighten up, have some fun….

One Response to “Add’ing in China… or Chinese Ritalin”

  1. Timothy J Ditch said

    I snort Ritalin!

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