Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Posts Tagged ‘Chinese quirks’

Just like Gilligan’s Island

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 14, 2009


To get a feel for what it is like to live here you merely have to access http://www.chinadaily.com.cn basically this site is to China what Fox was to GWB. Yeah, all is hunky dory, and everything is coming up roses. Earthquake-hey no problem, the government is there to help, polluted water- hey due to massive amounts of investment in greening the planet, it will all be fixed, blah blah blah…

The site here, is one of my least favorites, but will serve as a guide as to the face that China wants to present to the world. Funny thing is that it really reminds  me of that one Gilligan’s Island episode where the exiled dictator goes to Gilligans’ Island ( it can be found here). The reason for the similarity is that in this episode, the dictator comes to the island and wishes to make Gilligan the puppet dictator (unbeknownst to Gilligan) of his country.  Gilligan has a dream where this all is played out before his eyes, and in the end he wakes up and realizes the dictator’s evil plot.

The point, however is that China is like that, but specifically one scene. Remember the scene where Gilligan is in the presidential palace and someone opens the window and shows him the angry masses, looting and rioting. And then the dictator shoos that person away only to bring Gilligan to another window where all one can see is peace, harmony and happiness.

When I open the China Daily, I am reminded of this, makes you think, when I first saw this episode I was probably 7, but thought it odd, I now relive it daily.

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Lets be friends…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 25, 2009


When I came to China I was surprised to see how many ‘friends’ I had. Everywhere everyone was asking me if we could ‘be friends’. Friends, I thought, hell yeah, cant have enough of them…

Now ‘being a friend’ in China can mean many things, just as in the States. For instance, if you have amorous desires towards a woman and she says this, well, just walk on. Or, for instance, in the fifth grade, this is akin to a pact, being a friend may mean best friend, or to be on one’s sacred friend list. A list of people with whom one can chat, phone, generally annoy.

What I have found out is that in China, if asked, answer in the affirmative that you will be a friend to all. When they ask they question here, they are basically asking if they may communicate further with you in the future. The beauty of it all is that they are pretty timid people, so keeping in touch may mean nothing more than a text message a week or an email.

Being accepted into a friendship in China, is like being in the mob. They have several layers, like an onion. Typically when asked this question, you may feel it odd, seems somewhat sophomoric. Basically it is a benign request, unless it is from an overbearing student or 20something who wishes to improve their English, it is just another person for them to put in their list of names in their cell. Maybe its for prestige when showing others, maybe to help you, doesn’t really matter, just say "Yes, I would be honored to be your friend."

All about Chinese culture…

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