Festivals!

  Soon it will be Christmas!! Yes, in Chinawe have Christmas. Though we don’t celebrate it the same way as yours, we celebrate Christmas like every other western festival imported to China– we eat and get together with friends, after work.
  Although I cannot shake the idea that I’m going to have one extra day off on Christmas, it’s better to introduce to you some traditional Chinese festivals first.
  Spring Festival — This is the most important festival for Chinese, and probably you have already heard of it on news before. Basically it’s the lunar New Year and every family get together at the New Year eve waiting for a brand new start to begin. It’s a 15 days of firework, by the night of the Lantern Festival (15th day of the 1st lunar month), spring festival is officially over and everyone goes back to work. In 2012 the lunar New Year will begin on January 23rd. It’s impossible to write down all the details in one post, but I’m thinking I will give you daily-posting from the day Chinese begin to prepare for this big festival!

  Dragon Boat Festival (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month) – It’s a festival commemorating the ancient poet Qu Yuan. Chinese celebrate this day by eating a traditional food – Zong Zi. One of my friends has told me about his first time dealing with Zong Zi: “Aw…It’s sticky!” There are dragon boat competitions in southernChina which represents the way people search for QuYuan when he committed suicide in 278 BC.

  Tomb-sweeping Day (usually around 5th day of 4th lunar month)– On this day, Chinese go visit their relatives who passed away by cleaning their tombs and putting fruits and food beside the tombs (in this way those who passed away can have a nice meal in the other world). Amazingly, it is always raining on this day, it’s like the tears from the above world.

  Mid-autumn Festival (15th day of the 8th lunar month) – It is said the moon is the roundest at this time of the year. Round shaped is always standing for something fully fulfilled and perfect. Family members get together and share moon cakes (which are also round shaped).
  Besides all the traditional ones, Chinese also celebrate the Christmas, New Year (Of course!), Valentine, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day.. Sometimes when it gets so real that I can even have a day off on Christmas! You might ask what’s my plan on this day, well, I will treat it like every other Sunday in this year, but thanks to the Christmas discount I might go shopping!
  Western festivals became so popular since early 2000s, retailing companies introduced them to Chinese when people have extra money to spend on things other than necessities. Honestly speaking, most western festivals equal to shopping festivals to Chinese (while at the same time, you can also find out people in church who really believe in Christmas spirit). Friends get together after work and have dinner together then they spend some time together.
  But as more and more Chinese begin to pursue a work-life balance, I believe there’s still huge potential for further development with more and more festivals being introduced to Chinese. On the other side, Chinese, especially those aged between 18 and 30, show a great interest in and positive attitude towards Western festivals. I believe it won’t take long till Chinese begin to appreciate the meaning of western festivals other than just consider them as shopping discount day.

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This blog is a supplement to previous blog “Chinese Love Life”. Check out more information at https://watchingthechinese.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/chinese-love-life/

 

    Firstly, I really do wanna slap myself of being such an idiot: How could I possibly forget this very special ingredient of the “Love Life”—SEX!!

    OK. As a well known fact that Chinese people are very conservative, so basically there’s no need to explain why Chinese are also VERY conservative when we come across “sex”. Even the last generation (ie. People born in 1970s) consider “SEX” forbidden before legal marriage. “Virgin” seemed to be much more important and glorious than being a good wife and a good mother. At that time, people didn’t talk about sex in public and (I guess its probable that) they might not even talk about sex with their partners. For some reason, society had considered sex was something everybody should be ashamed of. You could do it privately but you were not supposed to say it out loud, much less you should enjoy it. The direct consequence of this awkward way of considering sex as nothing but a “baby machine”, is that kids usually have absolutely NOOOOO idea where they come from…

    When I was between 6 and 8, curiosity drove me to ask my dad this question which everybody else must had a same experience.

    Me: “Daddy Daddy, where do babies come from?”

    After staring at me for a very long time that it felt like a century, he finally said, emotionlessly: “Go away.”

(This is actually a very good example of the Social Awkward Code. Chinese often find a way to ignore or pretend to overlook a very awkward question/situation to avoid the embarrassment. I know I know, it’s ineffective and totally childish. But in our defense, we do it for our benefit: To erase the uncomfortable feelings which is eating us up during the ice cold silence… Hahaha, maybe a little bit exaggeration here, but doesn’t make it less true.)

    But I might have told you so many times that things have changed a lot in the past decade. Youth now know pretty damn well about sex. In fact we know more about safe sex than our parents. When two people at their twenties, they both know they should be responsible for their behavior. So enjoy the pleasure brought by a spectacular sex or stay virgin (which is still the symbol of purity) are all available options. But the decision is very hard to made since moral standards is changing every time in everyone’s heart. Some couples may have sex after 3 or 5 dates, while others may keep away with it until one year later, or even after marriage.

    But the truth is, there are “limitations” on sex even in my generation. For example, usually when good boy had sex with a good girl that means the boy should be responsible for the girl; we never talk about sex with our parents, in fact even if our parents ask “Are you still a virgin?” (which normally wont happen in chinese family, coz our parents automatically think we don’t have any sex life.) we nod our heads and assure them their baby daughter are still pure white as the wedding dress.

    Well, as the next generation is getting more and more crazy. I bet they would come up with some brand new ideas about this topic. Maybe in their twenties they can be 100% honest with their parents and the society that they have sex and the sex feels pretty good. So, I say, lets see. Ha.

Chinese Love Life

    Yesterday is the lunar date of Chinese valentine’s day. Girls have been expecting the gifts from boyfriends since weeks ago. Rose-selling people started marching up along the street at the lunch time. Word on the TV said thousands of couples getting married yesterday. Being single made me the only person who hung around on the Internet, wondering when is the so called Mr.Right gonna arrive on his pure white horse back.. Nahhh..Lets just talk about something not-so-dreadful. Hmmmm. How about Chinese Love Life?

     Generally speaking, LOVE is pretty much the same in all countries. But the way of people meeting their love and the way people expressing their love are quite different. Being Chinese makes us pretty shy at expressing our undying love fire to other people. Although as the world is becoming “flatter and flatter”, the new generation is having some fun at their love life/affair. One night stands, cheatings, twisted relationships, etc. Amazingly, Chinese really catch up with the international level. But what I want to tell you is a more traditional process of “Falling in love with a good girl/boy”.

Date:

    Usually, Chinese don’t start dating until the two know each other very well. For example, being classmates for years or he’s-a-friend-of-my-best-friend. Until recent years, “Dating” was still considered to be events happen during relationships. Once you start dating, that usually means you are about to be in a relationship soon. I think it shows a sign of responsibility, at least avoids the awkwardness of “Lets not meet each other any more” after an undesirable first-date. You don’t fool around and date several persons at the same time even before you get involved in a relationship. Dating several persons at the same time is considered cheating, even for now.

    And another thing is about age. Teenagers are not allowed to be in a relationship or dating or having anything to do with the opposite sex before colleage. The wild teenagers are often called to the principle office together with their mums. They may even get suspended from school for holding hands with a young man. All you should do at this age is studying.(See more in previous blog: Education)

Relationship:

    Ok, nail down the first date and several dates after that. You are good to go to the relationship. I’m not quite sure about this part. Coz from what I’ve heard and what I’ve been through, this is what usually happens: After several dates, the two are feeling quite comfortable being with each other, feeling warm when thinking of him/her, with no further difficulties in sight (ie. Long distance, religious problem, difficulties related to money and income.), well, basically you are in a relationship. What matters is give a title to the two people and that’s it.

    But what is the difference between a date and a relationship? If the “commitment” is the answer, then I don’t think I see it on chinese people.(Maybe it rarely exists.) I mean, most chinese wont draw a line of commitment and discuss it with the partners. Then some of chinese may not even know what is commitment, coz when something going wrong, they believe a simple word “sorry” could solve all the problems. Abortions are really common nowadays (although the promotion of one child policy partly contribute to it), and people can even get married with only aiming of reproduction. I think that’s one thing we chinese still have to learn in our love life.

    Anyways. The rest of the story goes very similar to your story. Getting married, have kids, live happily ever after(will it?).

Marriage:

    Marriage is a big part of everyone’s life. If a woman at her 20s still have no sign of having a boyfriend, the parents and grandparents would be really asking about the same question every chance you see them: “When do you give us some grand children?” or should I just type in “Child”. And with the old tradition of bringing more kids means bringing more prosperity into the family, so almost every couple is having a baby or two(If the couple are able to pay the fine of the second child). And divorce rate inChina(0.79 per 1,000 people 2004) is way below the international average(1.3 per 1,000 people), which shows the commitment do exist in the marriage. Parents are normally very responsible for their child. Being collectivism makes parents forget about their individual benefit and think more for the Big Family. Take my parents for example, they have lived for 24 years. When I was a child, they used to fight a lot. But amazingly, after enduring for twenty more years they are getting along with each other better and better! Although one must say their love has become family-love already, but I still think its good.

    Its Love after all.

Education

    After an intense discussion with my father last night, today I want to talk about something I don’t like aboutChina: Education.

    We all say that the youth is the flower bud, the most valued, and the strength of future. But who are we kidding? Although we are promoting the concept of “Education” in every corner ofChina, compared to the high speed development of this country, those kids are not even in the running! Every now and then, I am always surprised by the behavior of people of my own age. What they do or what they don’t do leaving a strong smell of “immature” everywhere they go, indicate the fact that most Chinese student are only super-excised on “Study the Text Book”, which goes extremely opposite to the well-balanced education.

    Raising a kid is not easy to do these days, not to mention educating them. When a kid enters the primary school, the competition begins right a way. In order to get into a good high school, those kids are taken to countless training classes during the weekends: violin, painting, international Olympic math competition classes (No kidding, I even had a similar class at my age.), English practicing classes, etc. Those “hobbies” cost a lot of money and take the kids’ life away: they are too busy to be KIDS! But the thing is, if your kid is not qualified for some kinds of “special talents”, you will have to pay extra money and make extra effort to get your kid into a better high school. So the parents don’t have much say in this, we can’t blame them coz not every parent is born to be rich. But just imagine, despite all those classes, do the kids have the opportunity to learn how to get along with other people? Or how to be responsible? Or even, do they get to learn how and what is love??

    Sadly, the answer is NO. In fact, my mum just had a conversation with me two months ago, which should have been done when I was 17: Safe sex. And the funny thing is, after years of “self-study” on this “highly sensitive” subject, I already know more than my mum does. Same thing happens to “How to build a relationship” “The importance of independence” and “How to buy yourself a nice comfortable BRA”.

    Ok, you may say Chinese parents are not good at communicating and expressing themselves. And every time you blame it on the Culture, it is a dead end. So how do the Chinese teenagers learn those stuff to enforce their soft powers? The answer hides in the highly condensed word: University.

    The entrance exam of university is the very first challenge faced by all Chinese students in their life. The quality of the university, or should I say the ranking level of the university within this country, relates positively to their future salary payment. Every student fights full-time for their marks in this exam, 8am to 10 pm everyday. And all they learn are the same courses: Math, Chinese, English, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, etc. If they survive the exam, BOOM, welcome to university!

    During the 4-year-time, everyone needs to educate themselves from a naïve high school child to a well-sophisticated social person. They make new friends, they participate into every event held by university, they fighting their heads off to get an internship in the Fortune 500. And during these time, they must learn everything they need to be qualified to survive in the Society.

    If we compare the “self-study ability” of students around the world, Chinese would win without any doubt. But one side effect of self-study is that one could go astray very easily without proper guidance.

    I heard girls get pregnant twice at 15, I heard a couple divorced just because the man didn’t get the PHD degree. I heard a 26-year-old woman never had a date in her entire life, I heard the son beat his father just because his father couldn’t afford a house.

    I am speechless at those facts. What happened to Chinese youth? They don’t have moral standards in their heats any more. They don’t know what is respect and what is love, they don’t even know what’s the true meaning of life. And who do I blame? The Education, not only the kind of education you get in school, but also the education you could get from your parents and peers.

Train Wreck in China, July 23 2011

【[Background Info.]:
A Chinese bullet train crashed into another high- speed train that had stalled after being struck by lightning Saturday in eastern China, causing four carriages to fall off a viaduct and killing at least 33 people and injuring 190 others, state media reported.
– “Bullet-train wreck in China kills 33, injures 190”@http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_18538692

Up to now, the number of death toll has reached 35, the China official says. But the true number of how many people died in this accident? We will never know.

35, is a magical number: At least 35 people died in China train crash; 35 dead in central China Floods; A gas explosion at a coal mine in Henan China killed 35 people; 35 people were killed in the landslide in Chongqing, etc. Why those accidents are so obsessed with this particular number? One of the reasons I got from the Weibo (A popular mini blog website in China, which is very similar to Twitter.) is that the secretary of a municipal committee of the CPC will be dismissed if the death toll is not less than 36. Seems like some are always being protected from the responsibility they should take. Some of them who were involved in the rescue say, the death toll is surely over 35.

Questions raised during the rescuing: What is the reason caused this collision, is it the lightening or the unqualified train driver? The exact time when the accident happened? 20:34 or 20:28? And why the officials gave us two different timelines in two days. Why the second train hadn’t detected anything when the first train was paralyzed by lightening for several minutes? When I was trying to search for the answer, I always got two or three more versions. And the ones provided by the Ministry of Railways are always going contradict with the rest.

That’s the side effect of the Hiding Code in China which I’m not proud of. People could only get half of the truth, and the other half is hidden under the big red glorious brand: Gov.

I feel so sorry for those unfortunate people, coz this accident could have been avoided only if the Ministry of Railways did they job right. But at the same time, I feel so proud of the Chinese who spread the truth and giving a hand to those injured. Although actions of people are still under monitor by the Gov, we are trying our best to discover the truth. That’s one step closer to the real Change of this society.

And this is a good start.

Chinese in Foreigners’ Eyes


This is a documentary talking about how Chinese is perceived among people from different countries. I watched this video in Feb, and now I’d like to share this video on my blog because I think what they tell me is true. Despite the fact they are talking about chinese in england, and there’s quite a lot difference between chinese abroad and chinese domestic, which I will explain further later.