The collective perspective. – Subjugating oneself to being insulted

From a wechat conversation
Someone posted a video they took themselves of a car crashed & burning on the 2nd ring road, in Beijing.

A = the guy that took & posted the original video


A: Wonder how that’s even possible for a single car accident

Me: chinese drivers are awesome

Me: where there’s a will, there’s a way

Me: playing with his phone… and he / she had a samsung galaxy s7?

A: Uber had turned a nation of already bad drivers into something much much worse! Everybody is driving slowly while trying to locate their next customer

Tobias: Bigots

Tobis: Sometimes slow is the problem. Sometimes fast is the problem. Sometimes careless is the problem. Sometimes unprofessional is the problem.  Bigotry always has the upper hand though. Sick and tired of laowais thinking the know what the ‘problem’ of China is. Go home and solve your own issues. Nobody wants your opinions on china.

Tobias: *They

B: Well, hopefully it thins out the crowd on the highways know what I’m sayin’….

Me: chinese person crashes …in china, unprofessional?  ehhh yep. because the professional thing would be not to crash, since when has being ‘professional’ meant that you can drive a car without crashing? or catching on fire?

And yeah, all this points to laowais should go home and fix their own problems. … brilliant.

or bigotry apparently

smartest sequence of conclusions I’ve seen for a while.

Rant (not said on the wechat group…which is why we’ve now got an article): go home and solve our own problems?

-you have to realise that a lot of us (with the exception of USA) are coming from countries that don’t really have many problems…or at least not the problems that are interesting and as challenging as China’s.

-We are here to put our great detective skills up to the challenge

-we are like the detective from another agency that looks about to steal your case away from you….

-relax, we’re doing your job so you don’t have to… don’t fight it, just know that the professionals have been called in

-plus we know that you raising a hand against the government can mean bad news for you, we’re simply removing that as an option… if anything you should be more relaxed by our ponderings

-what’s more, you don’t have to defend idiots from foreign scrutinisation just because they are also Chinese….Idiots are idiots, that is not the bonding aspects.

-Idiots in China, are …obviously as a majoirty, Chinese., but not all Chinese are idiots….. to confuse the 2 however places you in the basket of the idiots.

-to take offence for others idiocy,….is in fact idiotic in itself, so well done, give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve reacted in a collective fashion to an individual case of idiocy in a situation that demanded no connection to that individual, unless of course you HAVE been in that situation before…

so you’ve reacted to the scrutiny of 1 individual and taken as an attack on yourself because you’ve deemed yourself as fitting into a collective disposition not as idiots, but as Chinese….which was not neccesarily related.

And the only rational, sensible thing to do in reacting to such a situation, is of course taking an offensive position against the ‘attacker’ , but not as the individual…. oh no, but as the collective that that individual must obviously fit into.

And what pray, collective group is that?

Foreigners…. oh yes, everyone that is not in YOUR collective.

or as you put it….laowai.

Laowai, the term used either by foreigners living in china which use it ironically to showcase how the other group,- the nationalistic, narrow-minded, possibly jaded in some way douchebag chinese also use it.

or by Nongs..   but nongs will be nongs

Note. not all chinese are douchebags, not all are narrow minded, and not all consider themselves as part of the collective, ….just people the emanate all of the above qualities

Given the context as well…

what? the dude that crashed and somehow managed to have his car catch on fire… couldn’t possibly be Chinese?

Why do you think this is an unreasonable conclusion to reach?

China, Beijing a city of 20 million or so, with a population of 100,000 foreigners…. of which maybe only 3% have their drivers license, and of which the majority live outside the 2nd ring road….

(from where this scene was taken)

yeah… I think it has a pretty high chance that the driver of this car was Chinese

And nobody wants your opinions on China?

No, you don’t want MY opinions on China.
Especially when they point out the error in your own opinions.

You don’t want to be insulted, which is fair enough, not many people do, but YOU being insulted in this situation, is your own fault, because this situation didn’t call for you to be insulted… you simply took that upon yourself.

And by the way, I’m sorry I didn’t know that in sharing the blame for this individuals idiocy you are also standing up for and are the voice of the collective that you’ve taken it upon yourself to be a part of

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

How to score a sweet date

I knew a person that she called her friend (our mutual friend) on her cellphone on the subway, and was talking to her using earphones and the microphone from the headphones, and had the phone palm up.
She saved my friends picture to the profile.  And a Chinese guy looking over her shoulder saw the pic thought ‘hey she’s pretty’ ; copied down the phone number, and then afterwards gave my friend a call.

My friend was like wtf??  Why would you admit that when you called me?

So… lesson learned.. you can look over the shoulder of girls making phone calls to their hot friends, and if you like what you see for that person’s saved profile…just write down their number.

That’s the Chinese guys way.

What’re you waiting for?

Be the creep you know you can be!

What’s considered intelligent…

Went for a massage with a friend because we were feeling sore after trampolining.  Yes I said trampolining, but that’s not the point of the story because there’s nothing illogical about that.

At the start of the massage I raised my head out from the little hole in the massage bed to scratch my chin, and was met with ‘怎么了? ‘  what’s wrong?

And I said 我就。。。痒。  I just ….itch.

And she’s replies.  ‘Wow 中文这么好。’ wow this Chinese is of THIS level.   But meaning to say that it’s pretty good.

And I was thinking…hang on, I know that 痒 yang = to itch, or tickle (yes it’s the same word in Chinese, pretty funny considering it has a big difference in English)

I know that this word isn’t learnt by many beginners, nor is it even the word that intermediate speakers of a language know because they don’t need it in their daily lives, but for you to judge my entire Chinese speaking ability on 3 words….that’s pretty impressive.
Impressively naive/ stupid I mean.

She then proceeded to talk to me… and I’m sorry… but please just concentrate on the massage,  but err anyway…..proceeded to talk to me, and quoting the recent news… about the tiger (read about it here, opens in a new page), and defending the woman that stepped out of her car because her husband was driving too slowly. (after which point a tiger came out and took her away)
The massage lady said, well yeah I think she thought she had enough time.
No. that’s a really shit excuse.
Well anyway, then she quoted some sort of Chinese poem, or extended 成语, (idiom) to explain the Chinese stance…
and I’m like… ‘I’m sorry I don’t understand what you mean’ after she prodded me and asked ‘你明白吗? ’   do you understand?

No. I don’t.

To which she replied ‘什么都不知道‘ wow you don’t know anything.’

And later in the conversation, ‘there’s so many things you don’t know’

Really?   Really? I’m speaking your language, talking about recent events, for which you apparently admitted before (albeit rather naively) that you thought my Chinese level was decent, and now you’re quoting ancient Chinese poems to back up your shit-for-brains reasoning of why the husband driving the car was doing the wrong thing…. And you have the audacity to say… ‘you really don’t know a lot’

Lady, wtf is wrong with you?

The ancient Chinese poems by the way are a normal thing. Once you really get into Chinese language learning, you’re expected to know some Chinese poems. They’re meant to teach morality and reasoning, and lessons to be learned, just like we have in English and any other culture.  But the difference is that in Chinese there are thousands of them. Same with idioms- hundreds of them.  And if you want to seem like you’re intelligent in China, you don’t show it by how rationally and logically you can prove your point; you show it by working one or more of these ancient poems, or idioms into your story. A retelling of what someone already said is considered intelligent.

Of course we do that in English too, a retelling of a quote at just the right time IS intelligent, however when it is a large basis of one’s culture…something feels slightly wrong there.

Also learning about all these things in school is a convenient way to shift focus away from learning about modern history… history that China obviously isn’t too proud of, and onto history from hundreds of years ago and the ‘lessons’ learnt from them.

I have heard before the message that they sometimes play on long distance buses as a public announcement of sorts, to ‘remember to compliment foreigners on their Chinese’
It was something like this, I heard that they do that before I heard it myself, and then even when I DID hear it myself I was unsure if I actually understood it correctly.
Basically the reasoning as I understand it, is that they want foreigners to study Chinese and the government acknowledges that it IS a difficult language to learn, but if they’re discouraged by people constantly not understanding them, then will stop studying… and it will affect China negatively somehow.

But many Chinese people often have this ‘wall’ of incomprehension, where they just don’t WANT to understand you. So if they can understand you enough, they will begin working in things that are more and more native until you eventually can’t understand them unless you’re Chinese. People you’ve just met seem to do that a lot.

When that happens in OUR home countries, and we’re talking to a non-native speaker, WE don’t do that; because we know that it will discourage the person from improving their language ability. And, moreover…it’s just rude.
But for the Chinese you have to remember that there is an overall sense of ethnocentricity from the general populous, so proving that they are better that you, (yes it sounds stupid) a native speaker of the language is better than a non-native speaker) in the comparison of who can speak that particular language … is one way to show superiority; whether it’s done consciously or subconsciously.

My show of intelligence; ie combining rational and logical thinking into wit; was what silenced her though.
So that keeps me happy.

See the next article, or click here. Opens in a new tab

But they’re foreign languages, and you’re a foreigner

hahah I got asked for the 2nd time by a colleague: Can you read this?  is it German?

Me: no, I think its Dutch

Colleague: Can you read it?

Me: hahaha no

Colleague: But I thought you were European?

Me:  errrrr

hahah Australia  ..yeah sure = European, and yeah sure regardless of that ….all Europeans can understand ALL European languages… because that makes sense.

The 1st time this happened was when a high level manager asked me to translate into 5 different foreign languages (all European) from Chinese.

And I was like….errr, but I don’t know those languages.

But they’re foreign languages, and you’re a foreigner, he said matter-of-factly.

Me:  hahahah , * then a look for which I realised he was serious*
errr but that’s not how it works.  I only know English & Chinese.

I can recognise which ones are which, but just because I can do that, it doesn’t mean I know how to read them.

That’s one of the first times that it kind of hit me that Chinese people really DO just think all ‘European’ looking people are the same.
And think that all the culture and everything is completely shared.

Of course it would be silly if WE were to think the same about them.  ie. Japanese, Chinese & Korean as being all the same, despite the fact that THEY actually do share common language points as well as historical & cultural points.

But perhaps ‘foreigners’ only know that because they’ve travelled a bit, and a more open to the world.  Or perhaps not really open, just not as closed as China has been, and in some respects with thinking….still is.

It’s another case of ‘us & them’

I’m astounded when I come across this, however you’ve got to realise that for many colleagues, I’m the first foreigner that they’ve had proper contact with.  So in a way .. .I can kind of understand this.

All laowai look the same

I had a mini argument with a Chinese friend over the fact that she said ‘ I think all laowai look the same’

To which I pointed out that some people are black, and some people have orange hair… and apparently that was too much logic for her to handle… and I haven’t heard back from her.

I thought originally that Chinese people just said ‘Laowai all look alike’ because it was a childish retort to some people saying ‘all Asians look alike’

As if it was a ‘I know you are, but what am I?’  kind of thing

But I think there’s many that can’t tell the difference….  and what’s ironic, is that they also can’t tell the difference between Koreans, Japanese and Chinese… I think that’s very funny too.

Basic hygiene

Why is it that people only seem to wash their hands as they’re washing their food containers?

They never seem to actually wash their hands properly.
And most of them usually not at all.

I even saw one guy wash his hands before going to take a pee, and then didn’t wash his hands after.
Hahahah why?  What the hell?  What kind of logic is that?

An American colleague saw this happen as well.  So it wasn’t just a one-off.

People, if you’re taking a shit, there’s a chance you’ve got something on your hands… hopefully not, but a chance.

If you’re taking a wizz, then you’ve been touching yourself. If you don’t wash your hands……well I don’t know about you but I don’t want to shake hands with a guy that’s got penis hands.

Also its just basic hygiene.
Each time you go to the bathroom, regardless of what you do, each time you come into a house, or about to eat dinner… wash your hands, and then you’re fresh for the people you’re about to meet.

If you’re not going to do the latter, at least do the bathroom one.
Come on people, this is just basic hygiene.

Did you know that in 2003 when SARS was in full swing in China, the government had to tell people, to urge people that every time they went to the bathroom, every time they ate food they had to wash their hands afterwards with soap and sing ‘happy birthday’ twice, because this was on average the right amount of time to make sure they washed their hands properly?

My Uncle lived here at the time. And he said it was hilarious. There were grown men in their 50’s, all senior company executives standing at the wash basin singing happy birthday twice over.

The only way you can justifiably not wash your hands is if a guy was to literally not touch himself as he took a pee.
Which to be fair I’ve actually seen.
Literally this guy just pulled down his pants and underwear to his knees and started peeing.
That’s what kids do in primary school man. … you’re above that by now surely.

It was like Butters (from South Park) going to the bathroom.


Toilet answering

Every time I go to the bathroom here in China, there inevitably seems to be someone that whilst squatting down doing his business, his phone rings, and he immediately picks it up.

What?  Don’t…..ahhhh…. just don’t do that.

Just let it ring out.

Surely the person on the other end can wait until you’ve finished your business.
You’re life surely can’t be that busy where each call has to be answered straight away because if you don’t you won’t have enough time in the day to do things.

Sometimes these guys are having a chat on the phone… and of course not using an inside voice….and they’re having a particularly explosive episode of diarrhoea… and then suddenly they’re shouting even more to shout over the top of their own …umm…sound.

And there’s no apologies… its just… ‘hey YEAH YEAH, OH REALLY?, wait… *disgusting farting sound…..OH YEAH I CAN DO THAT’

Fucking hell man, do you really think the person on the other end wants to hear that?

Even if you weren’t making the sounds yourself… wouldn’t take the call would you?
Because there’s a chance that other people could be making them.

In the same way that you wouldn’t go into the bathroom to take a phone call, right?
Or are these people solely focused on the smell or something?

Errgggh… the… I don’t know… there’s just no concern for other people apparently.

If the golden rule does apply to them (the whole do to others as you want done to you) then it means that if they’ve gone through this process and still pick up their phone, then they’re quite clearly happy to be hearing another person fart and shit on the other end of the line.

Is this what 5000 years of culture has led to?

Please let it not be so.



Dangerous Foreign Love article

ABC china warns women of foreign spies in dangerous love comic

China’s first annual National Security Education Day, see both links

Hahahah , there’s been some recent commenting about this online from a lot of foreigners, and from some Chinese too, but I feel they’re not really addressing some of the key issues here.

First read the article, and then …what do you find strange about the way the Chinese depict themselves?

1st scene, there are apparently 2 Chinese girls speaking. (This is how the government thinks Chinese girls look like)   Basically exactly like foreigners.

I mean yes, they’re speaking Chinese, but 1 has red hair and the other has brown hair…. I’m pretty sure everyone in China has Black hair, so either these are the most rare of Chinese girls, have dyed their hair (maybe because they’re not proud of their Chinese heritage) or…are actually foreigners. typical chinese girls
Also both these girls have large eyes. … mmm even Chinese people know that’s not a common trait.
To be fair its also how Japanese people portray people in their cartoons… maybe the Chinese gov. are just big fans of Japanese culture and so of gone with the same depiction?

The first thing uttered is “今天有个外国朋友组织的聚会,你不是要提高外语水平吗?跟我一起去参加吧。

And the translation from the article is pretty much correct, but it leaves out the fact that if a person says ‘foreign friend’ it would mean that it’s a Chinese person saying it, because foreigners here would just say friend.
So the implication is that these are indeed 2 Chinese girls speaking.

Scene 2, David (the foreigner)… speaking perfect Chinese, welcomes them to the party.

As we now know hair colour and waviness is nothing to go by…because apparently these are perfectly normal Chinese traits, the only way you can tell that David is a foreigner is that he has a big nose. david the obvious foreigner
Obviously all foreigners have big noses.

Oh and he is wearing glasses.

Traditionally though, isn’t it generally Asian people that wear glasses?
So either the glasses signify that he is meant to be intelligent, or the Chinese gov. thinks that foreigners are blind, because one of the guys at the table could actually pass off for being Chinese, but he is not wearing glasses, so what does this infer?

Oh and ‘naturally brown haired’ Chinese girl, weren’t you there to practice your ‘Foreigner language’ skills.
You seem to be speaking an awful lot of Chinese… what are you doing?


In the translation, it doesn’t even specify what foreign language it is… its’ just generalised…’foreign language’.
Because the rest of the depictions are completely generalised right? Like Chinese girls with red hair and brown wavy hair….yeah sure.

This kind of cartoon or ‘educational awareness propaganda’, it’s one of these things that you look at and a thousand thoughts pop into your head at once, there’s too much to deconstruct, you’re just left staring at the poster shaking your head as you quietly have a brain aneurysm and a small trickle of blood dribbles from your nose.

Apparently Xiao Li is the typical gov employee, and there’s enough of a problem that people need to be told this information en masse… which means that the training to keep secrets actually secret is not good enough…… en masse.

Just how naïve is this girl?
Plus as a side note… isn’t she getting fatter in the pictures?
When she’s sitting on the bench …she’s clearly slightly fatter right?

Or… is this a ploy by gov officials to coax foreign potential spies into thinking that Chinese state employees are all that naïve, and then the Ch. Gov. can catch foreign spies more easily?

Oooh hoooo…clever…    haha I think perhaps we’re jumping ahead of ourselves.

OFFICER: “You show a very shallow understanding of secrecy for a State employee.”

Hahahah and who’s fault do you think that is?

The talking dog

2 race horses are talking after a race, 1 horse says to the other,  “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong Jim… at the start of the race I feel great, in fact I’m leading the pack, and then suddenly further down…. it’s like all the other horses just overtake me and I don’t know why.  At the end I’m usually in last place.”

The other horse says… “hmmm it is a mystery”

Suddenly a dog speaks up and says… “Excuse me, but I’ve been following your conversation and might I add, that I’ve also watched a few of your races, and it seems to me that the problem is simple.  In my opinion you’re over exerting yourself too early, that’s why at the start you’re doing so well… but then you’ve spent all of your energy and so at the end, of course the other horses are going to catch up.

What you should do it ration your energy, start off at a normal running pace at the start, keep it up and then at the end your can use your final burst of energy to take the win.”

The 2 horses look astonished.

One horse turns to the other and says,….”well bugger me… a talking dog”

I feel like this joke perfectly sums up the situation when I’m trying to reason with illogical Chinese people sometimes.  (not all Chinese….just the illogical ones)

I say something that has reason and logic, something that if they took on board would help them… or at least help the other people around them, because they would stop being such a dick.
(like cars just stopping in the middle of the road, or blocking up traffic just because it suits them)
But the expression I’m met with is… ‘oh a foreigner is speaking Chinese to me.’

Not, WHAT that person is telling me.
Or THAT what he is saying has reason.
Or THAT what I am doing is wrong, maybe I should correct that in the future.
Just… hey 老外说中文




pandas 1Pandas are the most loveable nearly extinct animals in the world.

I mean who cares if some insect goes extinct because of human environmental meddling?
Or a certain breed of snake or something?
But everyone cares if the Panda goes extinct… because I mean look at it, so adorwwfable.
This is probably why it’s the poster-animal of the World Wildlife Fund.

Panda research is done in China, where most of the research gets put into making these loveable idiots breed.

You see Pandas seem to lose interest in mating once they’re in captivity.

And whilst everyone knows that Pandas are renowned for eating nothing but Bamboo, it was my mum on a recent trip to Chengdu and to the Panda breeding centre that asked the question, “well they seem to be very much like normal bears, they still have meat-eating teeth, so can they just not eat meat anymore? Or can their stomachs only handle Bamboo?”

She asked this to our bus driver and to the local guide that we had who works for the centre.

“Oh yeah, to be honest they can eat meat, and in fact a lot of the Bamboo they eat doesn’t get fully digested.”

With my mum’s questioning eyes, he continued  “oh yeah, but the meat makes them more aggressive, so we prefer not to feed them meat”

My mum and I just looked at each other utterly surprised.

More aggressive? Wait, so you’ve been making them docile on purpose, feeding them something that they can’t even digest properly, and then you wonder why they don’t have the energy for sex?

They don’t have the energy for anything.pandas 2

At least give them a bit of meat, an aggressive horny panda is surely better than one that only wakes up for munching on some bamboo and then rolls over and goes back to sleep.

How about you put a little more research into that element huh?

You can read about this online, it’s true. Pandas were never hunters, but they did eat meat by scavenging, perhaps that was enough before to make them somewhat reproductive.


Also the first time I went to this Panda breeding centre just outside of Chengdu there was a mini-museum walk-around paying homage to the Giant Panda, and like many Chinese things they collected a bunch of information from all sources and put it together, they made some sort of timeline out of it, but didn’t pay too much attention to the details.

There was a picture and beside it was a caption stating the quizzical statement ‘Nobody knows why the Pandas seem to die out’  and in the picture was 4 men carrying a Panda inside a supposedly hard bamboo cage all wearing hats made out of Panda fur.

The next picture along was ‘The traditional uses of Panda in Chinese medicine’

Yeah, I’ll tell you why their numbers are so thin, probably these 4 guys wearing dead pandas on their heads ahd quite a bit to do with it.

And where are they taking that particular Panda do you think?  Across to the next picture so they can make some virility medicine?
Let’s hope this is when the Pandas were at least still eating meat.

Now… the centre has conveniently removed these pictures, most likely because many foreigners were taking pictures of them and secretly laughing.

I’ll try to find the picture.