Living in china and the 4 basic necessities

Taken from a conversation with a friend after a bout of food poisoning from some dumplings he ate the day before.

A: Honestly, I’m starting to be tired of Chinese food just because of that
-I’ve never had food poisoning in my life before coming to China
-And now this is like three times in the last year
-Pretty sure food poisoning isn’t really good for your body
B: Hahha… and the texture..
A: Nah but like so many sauces/spices/herbs
-You simply can’t taste the actual food anymore
-I think I’m definitely going stick with western food more and more
-Really makes you wonder why we like this country so much when it lacks so many of the very basics
-Food that doesn’t make you sick
-Water that doesn’t make you sick
-Alcohol that’s not fake
-Air that doesn’t make you sick
-I don’t think it gets more basic than that haha
-I can kind of understand why my friends don’t really want to visit me here

B: Food, air, water ….all makes you sick
-The only thing they’re missing is shelter that makes you sick
A: Oh I’m sure the shitty materials they use do
-And the fact that buildings just collapse every now and again
B: Oh yeah.. earthquakes… schools
(referring to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in which government built schools collapsed because the local gov was trying to save money by not meeting all required safety standards…apparently pocketing the difference)
-Wow…. china has it all

A: Although you may argue, death isn’t exactly sickness
B: Hahahahaha
-Yep that’s what the gov will argue…
A: Hey if you’re dead you’re not suffering
-And your family might even get money!
A: That’s the golden argument right there
-Moniessss !
B: Yep, Socialism with chinese characteristics!
A: What a lovely place

Water- It obviously not that China doesn’t have clean water, it’s just that it’s not available for free.
Air- you’ve seen the news.
Food- there’s a reason that the chinese go-to excuse for pulling a sick day is ‘拉肚子’ la duzi (diarrhea) instead of just saying…”I’m sick” … and that’s because it’s relatively common. Go figure.
Shelter- To be fair Chinese construction has got a lot better in recent years.  Although I think much of this came through trial-and error, a bit like Chinese medicine I guess. But either way this is improving.

What a lovely place.

So who is the illogical ones in this situation?

We are, the 2 foreigners having this conversation.
Because we both come from countries which have all these.
But in fact the reason why we’re here is because it’s almost as if our own countries are already good.  It’s gone through all the phases of progression and growth has now slowed down and relative to China everything is perfect….  too perfect.

But, its that reason why we’re here, because that is also boring to some regard.
We’re attracted to the madness of China.

The madness like explained above?  …not quite but still.

The madness of China is great, and as you see from the stories in this site there’s a lot of madness.

What a lovely place.

I’ll die later…

Living in China I see a lot of interesting things each day, there’s rarely a day that someone doesn’t try to run me off the road… not necessarily on purpose…just, its China; or there’s not a food scandal; or just plain any old event that has got me scratching my head thinking  ‘….errr…what the f…?’

And to be honest, that’s one of the draw cards for China for me. It keeps everything interesting. However in the Chinese environment, you can justify things away quite easily.  Mao’s China, non-mind expanding education system, propaganda, etc. a culture that has a few aspects that are in conflict with the modern world that we all now apparently live in.  So there’s a lot that I’m willing to forgive.
Which is nice, otherwise I would be rambling non-stop.

So it is with extra disappointment when I see a foreigner in China doing something utterly ridiculous. Something which you can’t justify with recent history… its just plain old idiocy.

Now, all those that ride a bike know the importance of wearing a helmet. I mean this should be common sense. (关键词) = Should. Because you think, ‘if I fall from where I’m standing onto my head.. that’s a 2m fall with no forward movement…I would be injured and it would hurt’
‘if I fall from the same height but am travelling at 40km/h, I would probably be even more injured.’

So like I say, common sense. There shouldn’t and I stress Shouldn’t be a person out there that is thinking now ‘…. oh yeah, that makes sense, I was just wearing a helmet before because it kept my head warm in the winter…but this whole safety thing sounds pretty good’

Ok, and I’m sure many people are aware of the terrible pollution in Beijing. So at the end of 2011 (I think), the government only just admitted that it was indeed pollution in the air, not just ‘fog’. So many foreigners have been wearing pollution masks to protect themselves from the pollution. And many Chinese have thought..ahhh fuck it, I’ve lived 20 years without it… I must be immune by now. Brilliant thinking by the way, just brilliant.

So anyway, I saw 2 foreigners drive past me in Sanlitun (a very busy foreigners/ wealthy Chinese area for drinking, eating and shopping, & notoriously bad traffic area) drive past me both wearing pollution masks, but no helmets.


Your priorities are a bit distorted I think.

You’ve chosen to wearing something that reduces the chance of dying from pollution …..eventually, but you’ve chosen to not wear something that will protect you from dying

Just because you live in China it doesn’t mean that you can use their excuses. That’s just idiotic.

It as if they’ve decided that ‘yes, my life is worth protecting, but when I’m young…I’m invincible, which includes my head being smashed against the pavement at 40km/h or above, but…everyone knows the real killer is when something bad is done steadily over a long period of time. That’s the real danger’


I bet they smoke too.


fresh air…mmm hmm

….lets open the window for fresh air…

open window air pollution

Are you looking OUT the same window I am?

The pollution level today is around 200 and someone has decided…yep fresh air exists outside

No AC in summer, window open in winter

And you hear Chinese logic is different than westerners….

yeah in the fact that no logic is different from some logic

I guess though….if you keep the window closed and you’ve  got 30 or so office workers burping with their mouths open… farting …consuming air etc.  the ‘good’/ safe air is eventually going to run out, to the point that outside air , no matter how dirty.. is actually going to be better. And those 10 little pot plants you have in the office are not enough to compensate for all of the above

Which makes me sad because… eventually you’re also going to open the window… and then you’re left thinking… they…can’t …surely… be thinking ahead of me on this one?

For which you then recall all those times where you’re told… “you think to much”   and realise… nope, its just coincidence