Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese “Grown Ups”- an Oxymoron?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 10, 2010


After living here, I thought that “Chinese experts” or “Chinese education” or maybe even “Chinese law” all were oxymoron’s, or things that are mutually exclusive. But now my eyes have been opened, I realize the true oxymoron here is “Chinese adults”.

The reason that I say this can best be summarized by the following, consider it a snippet of a conversation that I had with a very good friend who had lived here several years back. He told me all of these things before leaving. Back then I was somewhat ignorant, but now I know.

Here is the gist of what he said,
-“After living China, he decided that most of the people don’t actually know how to be adults. They seem to have stunted maturity levels.”
-the local Chinese thought that his children, a boy of 14 and girl of 15 were much older- the Chinese thought them to be of college age.
-his children preferred to associate older chinese because they felt more like they were peers developmentally.
-his kids were normal back home, not overly mature nor immature -he then explained that the behavior of the “average” Chinese person to be about on the social-behavioral level of some 14 or 15 year olds in the U.S.
– the reasons cited where that the chinese have a
I’m the center of the universe mentality and
you have to tell them every detail of what you want me to do because they refuse to think for themselves or do any extra work” attitude-
-he also said that the reasoning skills of American teens that he knew far out-paced the reasoning of the average Chinese, who seem so willing to accept everything their government tells them. “Oh, you can’t speak to me of religion? It must be for the good of ‘the people’.”

The guy had some great points and I’m happy that he’s home now. He misses China, but after being back for the past few years, he is happy.

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