I went to discuss a potential business idea with a friend at the local coffee shop located in a mall. I was faced towards him, and he was faced towards me (obviously) but he also had a view of the electric sliding door.
I was explaining an idea I had, when his jaw kind of just dropped, and he was glancing at the door…and then he started giggling to himself.
It turns out he was looking at a Lao tai tai. (Old Chinese grandma) who apparently couldn’t figure out how to work the automatic electric sliding door that would allow her to get into the mall.
Apparently there were 2 such Lao tai tais before this, for which this 3rd one was now making my friend laugh, because it seemed to be now an inherently Lao tai tai problem.
Throughout the course of our conversation there were another 3 plus one 20 something year old girl, so 6 + 1 in total.
We stopped to watch each one whenever it happened.
These old ladies…these poor old ladies ‘bless them’, evidently walked up to the door in such a way that the sensor failed to see them. And these old ladies blessed with their lovely Chinese education system had never thought about why? Or how? one of these automatic sliding doors worked, so apparently couldn’t figure out that the sensor controlled the door.
Therefore they didn’t move back to allow it to see them, or wave their hand or anything, and unfortunately for them, whenever they did move, they moved in such a way (like parallel to the door) that the sensor still couldn’t see them.
Different old ladies were knocking on the door… trying to push it open, looking behind them for some reason… one old lady even put her head so close to the glass I thought she was going to try and lick it to see if that would help.
In the end the door opened, not because they did anything that guaranteed it, but because someone else came from behind and the sensor caught them.
So I can’t help but think that these old ladies simply came to the conclusion that the door was magical, and that they had to do something special to get it to work, but couldn’t for the life of them figure out what that magical act was.
I kind of imagine that perhaps those old ladies are still stuck in the shopping centre afterward not figuring out how to open the automatic doors that allow them to get out of the shopping mall. Although there are so many people in China that there was bound to be some ‘magical’ person to come up and help them.
A little thought crept into my mind that day… and has stayed with me for a while.. was If these people can’t figure out something basic like an automatic sliding door… the how? And the why? A basic example of cause and effect,
So, how have they got so far through life?
This is a pretty basic concept. You would have thought that all the turmoil that China has been through that these people that are unable to grasp these basic concepts…would just die. It would be an actual human example of Darwin’s ‘Survival of the fittest’…or in this case smartest, and as these people were clearly at the back of the line at the time they were giving out the brains, they should have failed Darwin’s test.
If ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’ is essentially Capitalism, but the CCP doesn’t want it to be referred to as ‘Capitalism’, because that would mean admitting they were wrong beforehand. (and it IS Capitalism- proof of such can be found knowing that Deng Xiaoping took a trip to America in the 1970’s to learn ‘new concepts for growth’. This can be found on the documentary ‘China- A Century of Revolution 1976-2011’ available on youtube)
Therefore they’ve added ‘with Chinese characteristics to their original plan of ‘Socialism’ , which now essentially means Capitalism…which therefore …clearly doesn’t mean Socialism any more.
Words have definitions, words have exact definitions, and adding 2 more words onto the end of another word isn’t how you change the definition of the original word, you’ve created an idea yes, but you haven’t changed the word. Instead they are mis-representing the original word.
Same as democracy, the word democracy has an exact definition, that’s the magic of the English language, we don’t have 1 word to express many different concepts, we have many words to express many subtle differences between concepts. The fact that the CCP has interpreted the word democracy to mean something that is beneficial to them, actually is not correct. Words can be interpreted differently by the connotations associated to them, but the underlying exact definition will always remain intact. One could argue that the Chinese translation of democracy is different, but the fact is, is that if the definition of the word is not exactly the same as ours, then the word is NOT the same, and either they do not have that word in their language, or they do not have that concept in their culture. It’s as simple as that.
So when writers talk about ‘Is China approaching democracy?’
It is OUR definition of democracy, because it is our word. The CCP might argue that they are already Democratic because it is their interpretation, that counts. But this is not true.
So when the CCP states that they are on the road to democracy, it is more to appease international actors than speaking the truth. If they can define any word however they want then they can effectively claim anything.
If ‘harmonious uprising’ actually means that they will reclaim all former territories and provoke others into taking military action rather than initiating it themselves, then that’s what will happen. However the CCP stating that that’s what they are working towards because THEY have chosen to define the word differently …well it’s not actually a real accomplishment for China in the eyes of the world.
It’ s ‘Flying’ in the air, we don’t know what it is ie. We can’t indentify it, therefore it’s ‘Unidentified’ and as we don’t know what it is, we can’t say its anything in particular so the safest bet is to call in an ‘Object’ .
That’s what the acronym is, and therefore the definition of the acronym is such as above.
The connotation however is it’s Aliens. Because when people have heard ‘UFO’ they have come to identify it as meaning Aliens.
However this is not necessarily the case, because that’s not what the actual definition is. The actual definition is there despite what people have attached the connotation to.
Sure connotations can transgress into definitions, but keep in mind that the original definition is still there.
To be honest those people could just say “something hit him in the head” because let’s face it , what kind of poxy person uses the word UFO??
You can’t just change the definition of a word because you thought it meant something different, and at whatever time you’ve been using it, you couldn’t grasp the slight intricacies that distinguish one concept from another.
That’s your fault, not the words fault.
And you can’t blame someone for using the word correctly which might have been different from your …however you put it,… incorrect understanding of the word.
Just because a word has a connotation attached to it (the emotion that you feel when a word is used), it doesn’t mean that the definition is anything less than what it has always been. The definition is still there, hiding in the background.
A colleague (a non-native) and even a non-American colleague told me that I couldn’t use the word ‘amazing’ to describe something disastrous.
She said, the word amazing is only for good things.
No…. that’s the connotation of the word amazing. It’s because you , and perhaps many other people associate the word ‘amazing’ with good feelings.
Amazing is to inspire amazement – A feeling of great surprise or wonder. (Oxford dictionary online)
Wonder doesn’t necessarily mean feeling that something is wonderful. It just means to express curiosity in thinking how and event or situation could have happened/ come into being.
So why was this colleague so taken aback that I used the word ‘amazing’.
Well I was looking at the crater left behind from the Tianjin Chemical warehouse explosion. And said ‘wow, that’s amazing’
Rather than assuming that her connotation derived definition of the word was of course the only one that mattered and therefore meant it WAS the actual definition of the word, she could have come to 2 more positive realisations.
1.) I was being sarcastic, and me saying the word ‘amazing’ still fit into her definition, but I didn’t really mean what I said.
2.) I did actually mean what I said and that perhaps listening to the word ‘amazing’ when spoken by someone that actually knows wtf they’re talking about means, that perhaps your understanding of the word wasn’t exactly as it should be.
So, Yes, I was AMAZED at how big the explosion was, I was surprised and horrified wondering how such an event like this could have happened, and therefore I justifiably thought the incident was AMAZING.
What did I actually say though? Or rather did?
I dumbed down my English, and said… “oh I mean I’m amazed because I’m shocked at how an event like this could have happened.”
(with her not seeming to get that amazing and amazed were connected somehow)
Ok the other thing that is pissing me off is people not knowing the difference between sarcasm and irony.
I realise I live in a country where English is not their native language, and of course the culture is completely different so it’s likely that people can’t really distinguish the difference between the 2 because unlike the Australian’s and the English, they haven’t had decades of humour based on these 2 concepts.
So in my view, the Chinese more or less get a pass here.
In fact they do actually have sarcasm AND irony …and they are 2 separate things, but you have to seriously look around to find someone that uses it properly.
Which in fact, brings me to my real point here.
Most of the time I love being able to speak to Americans because of the one simple fact that I don’t have to dumb down my English to be understood. I can talk about common culturally related stuff, because Australian’s are pretty much that link between the differences between Britain and America. We understand them more…plus all those American TV shows certainly help too.
And for the most part, even though I don’t agree with it, I can understand that even though some people would say they’ve butchered the English language by changing the spelling of certain words to make it easier for pre-school kids to learn, or dim-witted people…. Hey, yes they’ve changed some words, they’ve added their own spin on it, they’ve of course got all their own colloquialisms and slang. But it’s still English. It’s not British English anymore, its instead justifiably American English.
However at the end of the day, words do have meanings.
Ok so on ‘Sarcasm’ and ‘Irony’
Yes, they are in fact different and somehow a lot of Americans don’t seem to get this, nor do all the other countries that America influences.
The definition from the dictionary app that I have in my phone (with apparently all definitions coming from wikitionary.org) says:
ironic- 1.) Characterized by or constituting irony. ‘it was ironic I forgot my textbook on human memory’
2.) Given to the use of irony; sarcastic
Which when you click on ‘sarcastic’ it takes you to ‘sarcasm’ or which one of the definitions is: A sharp form of humor intended to hurt, that is marked my mocking with irony, sometimes conveyed in speech with vocal over-emphasis. Insincerely saying something which is the opposite of one’s intended meaning, often to emphasize how unbelievable or unlikely it sounds if taken literally, thereby illustrating the obvious nature of one’s intended meaning.
Ah hah! That’s more like it. But if you’ve noticed the word humour is spelt ‘humor’ which designates that this is American English, and therefore this is THEIR understanding….which as explained above, has transgressed away from British English somewhat.
And ‘intended to hurt’? …mmm I wouldn’t necessarily say so, intended to emphasize how ‘unbelievable or unlikely it sounds if taken literally, thereby illustrating the obvious nature of one’s intended meaning’ , yes, but only hurting someone if they themselves take offense. It isn’t necessarily meant to be hurtful.
So it’s understandable how American people can be confused that sarcasm and ironic is different, knowing that for one point their dictionary gives a fantastic example of ‘sarcasm’ , and another more or less reasonable definition of ‘ironic’ , but then confuses the student by just casually throwing in ‘sarcastic’ as a directly related synonym.
And so why does the rest of the world seem to not know the difference either?
Why, because America culture has permeated around the world with its lovely TV shows and movies, spreading its values, understanding… or in this case sometimes lack of understanding to all those that want to escape from their monotonous lives and watch reliably captivating TV/ Movies.
Let me give you a quick example.
I was in a taxi once going to my ‘Chinese family’s’ place and as soon as I got in the taxi I could tell he was a bit crazy.
So we started off and there was a lady driving in front.. she was going really slowing and the reason was was that she kept looking in the rear-view mirror putting on her make-up. (she clearly didn’t want to crash which is why she was going slowly but she also wanted to keep driving, because she evidently thought she could do both at the same time – she couldn’t. )
Before some butt-munch squeals out that I’m choosing to rip on women, this lady was not an example of all women, but simply an example of an idiot. She should have either stopped by the side of the road to do it, or done it later.
But anyway, she was weaving from one side of the road to the other going very slowly because clearly she couldn’t concentrate on the road and her makeup at the same time. But it meant it was impossible for my crazy, angry taxi driver to overtake. And despite the fact that he was rhythmically beeping, she couldn’t hear him because concentrating on 2 things as she was, meant that she couldn’t hear the beeping. Oh and there were other cars behind us seemingly beeping at us, which was making my driver more crazy.
Anyway, my taxi driver finally overtook her only to bestuck behind yet another idiot that couldn’t figure out where he was meant to turn left. So this guy was now driving slowly down the middle of the street, with his left indicator on sometimes stopping abruptly trying to figure out if THIS was the place he was meant to turn or not.
Again he finally got the chance to over-take this idiot, which evidently decided he didn’t want to turn left after all. And then what did my taxi driver do?
That’s right, he proceeded to drive slowly in front of these 2 cars.
From swearing his arse off at these 2 cars, to now driving slowly himself thereby holding them up…. You have to ask yourself was this ironic or sarcastic? Or… as per apparently many people’s definitions, did it not matter because these are pretty much the same thing?
Irony can be seen as something (an event, something that is said..whatever) that is contrary to expectations that usually happens in a way that is bad to the person involved/ affected. And can be seen as possibly humourous because of this.
Sarcastic is pretty much the definition from the dictionary meaning above.
So it would make sense if the taxi driver drove ironically, or that the situation was ironic, because of the context of the event you would expect that as he was so angry from being stuck behind 2 aggravatingly slow drivers… he would speed up and drive away in a fast and erratic way, but instead he continued to drive slowly. The person being affected in a ‘bad’ way.. was me. Getting stuck behind 2 slow arses, and then my own enraged taxi driver proceeding to drive slow himself… not so good if I was in a rush.
Could it be said that the taxi driver was driving sarcastically?
Yes. Although of course you would have to define the context as it was above.
And that would be that he intentionally decided to drive slowly so as to press a point that the 2 people now following him (the man once wanting to turn left, and the spatially unaware make up lady) were in fact driving slowly beforehand and holding everyone up.
So you see there IS a difference.
I drive sarcastically sometimes just to point out the idiocy in how other people drive. For example beeping at people even though it’s evident that they can’t move forward because the gap is not big enough, and when they are in the same position, I do the same.
By the way don’t worry, I realise that I’m coming across as a pedantic word Nazi….. but then again, at the same time, I don’t want people to continue being stupid… so there we go.
16th September 2015
Recently when some Chinese guy asked where I was from, and I said Australia, I was surprised to hear a different reaction than the standard “oh Australia…yeah yeah…kangaroo, kangaroo, kangaroo!”
Instead he said…. “I think Australian’s are racist towards Chinese people”
When i gave him a quizzical look, he continued…
“recently there’s been some things in the news about Australians not treating Chinese people very well…….like i don’t know why Australian people don’t like Chinese”
First of all…. Hahaha I think it’s funny that this guy dropped the ‘racist’ bomb when he is Chinese, but then again Chinese have throughout history have never seen the irony in anything they’ve said or done. In my view Chinese people are the greatest practitioners of unknowing, unintentional irony.
Anyway, 2nd – wow a Chinese guy that actually knows a bit about what’s going on in the world. …well… I didn’t get too hopeful about that, because as you’ve seen…he’s done the classic Chinese thing of jumping straight to the result, and not asking why an event culminated in that result. Basically just not asking why.
But he’s grown up in the Chinese education system… where this ‘why?’ is not a big area of focus.
So that, I can forgive.
A classic example of this is , 为什么？ 没有为什么. （why? , no why? ）
Really promotes the open education system they’ve got going on here. And what’s more is that people generally seem satisfied with that answer. Amazing.
Right, where was I? Oh right, Australia, racists, Chinese… irony, not understanding there could be a reason..blah de blah,
What I find strange is that this confuses the mainland Chinese people. Well to be honest, not strange, because as you can see above… I can justify this in some way .
No, we don’t like MAINLAND Chinese, because you nuggets don’t integrate and in the meantime take the time to insult us in your own language about the country in which you now have the privilege to live in , whilst also simultaneously ripping on our culture.
And we’re expected to be friendly towards you because of that?
23 September 2015
It’s becoming more than just coincidence now, every time I decide to go to the bathroom at work, there is an Ayi cleaning it.
It’s the reason that I’ve decided to consistently use the cubicles instead of the urinals, because at any point in time the Ayi (阿姨) just come in and start cleaning the place.
Sometimes they shout something to which the equivalent meaning is, ‘is anyone using the urinals?’ and then they don’t really wait for an answer and just come in.
Anyway, I go in there in the morning… and the ayi is in there cleaning once again, but… cleaning the roof.
This is a bathroom, people don’t shit on the roof People don’t throw shit onto the roof, do they?
So I’m like…oh whatever, I’ll just go in a cubicle. First cubicle I walk into, there’s a shit just sitting on the side of the squatter toilet, like just sitting there, not even in the bowl kind of thing, some guy shat on the tiles. What?
Surely the cleaner should actually clean the things that are supposed to be cleaned first right?
If you need to clean the roof, ok, but do it after the toilets are clean.
It’s like those Ayis that come to your house to clean but you have to constantly watch them and guide them and tell them how to clean, despite the fact that this is their job remember, because otherwise they will start cleaning the doors or something, before they get to the kitchen.
They could be at your house for an hour and not have started on the bedroom, or the kitchen or the things that count.
In fact for that kind of situation, that’s the reason I don’t have an Ayi, well first my place is a bit shit. It’s really just for me, and nobody else should see it.
But its mainly because when I think about calling an ayi, and knowing that I have to be there, I start thinking the amount of time I have to spend for the lady to come to do a shit job…well I can just do it instead. It’s really not about the money.
But in terms of advantages disadvantages paying for a person to waste my time and do a shit job whilst me getting thoroughly pissed off…mmm, no I’ll just to it myself.
Or… even better, perhaps it’s even easier to just convince myself that I enjoy living in filth.
This is an advert that I saw on youtube, whilst I am in China, using as Czech Republic VPN, watching a Ricky Gervais standup show (an English comedian) and this American advert comes on, advertising for ‘South California Toyota’
Wow, so many things to process there. 1st question, why do they think an American advert is suitable for me?
2nd, and probably more importantly, why is the advert in Chinese??
At first I missed this, I thought they had somehow worked out that I WAS actually in China, and because of that I needed to see a Chinese add, but then I notice it said ‘South California’.
How many Chinese people are there living in South California, especially that don’t speak the language?
That’s crazy! How is it that they don’t integrate? To be honest I would take a guess and say that they are all old people that have moved to America to be with their son’s / daughter’s family, who realise they’re being bothersome on their sons/ daughters and need to take things into their own hands once in a while, such as making a car purchase. But still… the fact that there is adverts dedicated to Chinese people in Chinese, just assuming that they can’t speak English, is pretty bad.
(not bad for the company of course, they’re obviously going to be playing on the ethnocentric nature of these particular Chinese, and when these old fogies come in, they will be greeted by a Chinese salesman, because these foreign devils….ie. the people whose country you live in, are not to be trusted.
I asked my teacher about this, and she pointed out that the Characters are in traditional characters, which is correct. Which could signify several things:
South California Toyota made a mistake, and they didn’t realise the rich mainland people don’t read traditional characters
The advert is directed towards Taiwanese people & HK people, and these are the A-holes that don’t integrate
Their target market is really only the old Chinese people and South California Toyota knows that these old people….provided they can actually read, came from a time where they still learnt traditional characters
They know that many young people can also read traditional characters because all the best karaoke songs about chasing a childish woman in the rain, are from Taiwanese artists, and therefore many young people can read these traditional characters.
In light of this the cars probably come with a karaoke machine, just for good measure.
Finally something the Chinese and Japanese can be united about.
(21st August 2015)
Interesting quote from the lonely planet guide book ~ circa 1997 by a random Chinese lady (and common held belief as I’ve heard it personally many times before..) “there is no racism in China because there are no black people”
Hahaha. Well for a start, why just black people? For you to single out black people in the first place, isn’t that kind of inferring that the only people worth discrimination against are black people?
That’s a pretty bad reason, and it doesn’t seem to hold your civility and culture in the highest of regard in terms of openness, and acceptance for diversity. It’s as if you’re saying ‘we’re not racist because those black people/ those people worth being racist to are not here….so we can’t possibly be, but …if they were here…we’d have nothing to hold us back’
Plus a person that people are racist to doesn’t have to be physically present for racist thoughts, pre-conceived or bigoted ideas to present themselves. Usually this happens from ignorance BECAUSE people don’t know enough about a culture, or a race…or BECAUSE they have no opportunity to meet them physically and come to their own conclusions…. Therefore because “there are no black people” , people are likely to be more ignorant and therefore more induced with preconceived ideas about the people they know nothing about. And because this is combined with what the government shows them on the news images of poorer people & generally negative images of Africa, and Chinese people’s general dislike to the colour black…especially for skin colour, then this very limited but chosen information combined with the lack of opportunity to meet actual black people in real life and decide for themselves, is likely to make them more discriminate, not less.
Adding to this is the Chinese people’s general ethnocentric nature. Which in loose terms asserts the notion that China as the middle kingdom has had a long and generally more sophisticated and civilised history as compared to other countries, and because of this- is generally the superior culture. Not necessarily the government system, but the culture attached to China/ the Han people…and therefore the people. In Chinese thinking terms, it works as the Centre-periphery approach, not in terms of psychological approach that is often the case for acceptance of what is regarded as ‘Western’ countries, but that of a geographical approach.
As in the further outside of the physical centre that is China and the Chinese/ Han culture you go…the less civilised the people. Therefore Africa, being incredibly far from China is naturally seen as an uncivilised group of people. Europe whilst obviously far away from China has been proved over time to offer a degree of civility and culture, but obviously this wasn’t always the case, especially when compared to China 3,000 years ago.
Does anyone know what i’m talking about?
Why is it so quiet in here?