Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

“But China is Different”- Living and Working in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 25, 2011

But China is different….
You will hear this said more often than not when you make a pilgrimage to the land of toxins both air and food borne (and you should come).
‘But China is different’ is bandied about to shield a local from humiliation as well as if to instill pride in the ‘successes’ China has enjoyed. For the later it works like this: ‘But China is different, sure the Roman Colosseum is as old as the great wall and much dingier, but china is different, we did not bother ourselves with aesthetics but focused on function. Did you know that you can see the great wall from space?
to which the listener nods his head while thinking ‘how the hell can you see it from space when the pollution here is so rife I can barely see across the street in broad daylight’

The ‘But china is different can also be used shield like, ‘But china is different we have too many people so the planned execution of fetuses is justified.’
or “China is different the cultural revolution was an experiment that would not work in the USA’, your culture is not strong enough.’
…. to which the listener thinks ‘so your dads family tree was obliterated in some marvelous experiment with Chinese characteristics that in some way is wonderful in its ability to create a lost generation and obliterate feelings for generations to come?

By uttering the phrase, ‘but china is different’ the locals merely shed a light onto their collective ignorance. It’s as if to say that all members of planet earth who have pronounced facial features and do not belong to the mongol race (actually only those who do not come from the swinging sack of ancient Mr. Han), represent a homogeneous whole. As if to say that our brethren in Germany, Ireland and the middle east are as similar to your humble author as a pup is to is daddy.

This is how the Chinese roll. They grasp the dialogue of the show Big Bang Theory just enough to sate their desire for all things foreign and subsequently lump all barbaric foreigners into a hideous heap. Thus, armed with the cultural reality garnered from hours sifting through ‘sex and the city’ ‘prison break’ and/or friends, the typical Chinaman can relate to a diverse body of humanity as we are basically all the same.Sure the English eat soggy eggs and beans for breakfast and look forward to a plate of gruel- things the ‘yanks’ would never consider as human, but this is a detail, we are not from China and are basically the same.

At the end of the day, however, this becomes more of a crutch than anything for the sons of Han. it’s their inability to accept, understand and integrate themselves into other cultures and ways of thinking that sunk them in the past and will do so in the future. Sure they’ll send their prisoners to work and build our roads and yank out their precious organs as needed, but will they ever understand us? If history be our guide, we can infer that a country who spends 40% of their collective lives constructing obstacles for foreign invaders will not readily accept nor change their ways.

One Response to ““But China is Different”- Living and Working in China”

  1. Brewskie said

    “This time is different” is the famous last word of any bubble.

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