You Know You Have Been in China for Too Long

This is a popular article circulated in the expats community for some time. Share with everyone.

You know you have been in China for too long when…

  1. You no longer wait in line, but go immediately to the head of the queue.
  2. You stop at the top or bottom of an escalator to plan your day.
  3. It becomes exciting to see if you can get on the lift before anyone can get off.
  4. It is no longer surprising that the only decision made at a meeting is the time and venue for the next meeting.
  5. You rank the decision making abilities of your staff by how long it takes them to reply “Up To You”.
  6. You no longer wonder how someone who earns US$ 400.00 per month can drive a Mercedes.
  7. You accept the fact that you have to queue to get a number for the next queue.
  8. You accept without question the mechanic’s analysis that the car is “Broken” and that it will cost you a lot of money to get it “Fixed”.
  9. You find that it saves time to stand and retrieve your hand luggage while the plane is on final approach.
  10. You can shake your hands almost perfectly dry before wiping them on your trousers, or you have your suits made with terrycloth pockets.
  11. A T-Bone steak with rice sounds just fine.
  12. You believe everything you read in the local newspaper.
  13. You regard traffic signals, stop signs, and copy watch peddlers with equal disdain.
  14. You have developed an uncontrollable urge to follow people carrying small flags.
  15. When listening to the pilot prove he cannot speak English, you no longer wonder if he can understand the air traffic controller.
  16. You regard it as part of the adventure when the waiter correctly repeats your order and the cook makes something completely different.
  17. You are not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb.
  18. You blow your nose or spit on the restaurant floor (of course after making a loud hocking noise)
  19. You look over people’s shoulder to see what they are reading
  20. You throw your trash out the window of your house, your car or bus you are on
  21. You would rather SMS someone than actually meet to talk ‘face to face’
  22. You wear nylons when it is 30 degrees outside
  23. You honk your horn at people because they are in your way as you drive down the sidewalk
  24. You regularly fumble for five minutes to find 10 jiao despite 10 people waiting in line behind you
  25. One of your fingernails is an inch long
  26. You ride around on your bicycle ringing a bell for some unknown reason
  27. In a meeting you say everything will be ‘wonderful’ and give no details.
  28. You forget that the other person needs to finish speaking before you can start
  29. You burp in any situation and don’t care.
  30. You see one foreign person eating Pineapple (or whatever) and say “Yes, all foreign people like Pineapple”
  31. You start to watch CCTV9 and feel warm and comforted by the ream
  32. You take a nap while you are dining in a restaurant with your girlfriend/boyfriend
  33. Just everything produced in your home town is “very famous in China”
  34. You don’t do any favors without wondering what your personal benefit could be
  35. You never ask “Why?” anymore.
  36. You understand all the above listed references.

My Comments?

Unfortunately, most of the items listed above are true – it is the behavior of my fellow people. What would I say?

There are some bad behaviors, and there are also many things that are just different. One of the best thing people get during travel is sensation. People are much more sensitive in a new world, and notice every difference from its own country. It is the same for people going to other countries. For example, Claire posted about the France version along with the Chinese one here. Don’t too worry about this part.

I do worry and feel ashamed of the bad habits people have, with the “jumping into the line”, and “spit in restaurants” on the top of the list. I am confident and optimistic about the future at the same time. We are in the transition period of urbanization. There are more people moving into cities in the last 20 years than people living in cities. Litter? Bad habit, but did you ever see a dust bin in the cotton field? It takes time for people to get used to the city life.

I thought of another word: Jay walking. Why people use “Jay Walking” to talk about people who didn’t obey traffic rules? From a reference book, I learned the word was invented in old cities (like New Yorks) in 1930s. Jay means “village people”. See, it has nothing to do with country. It is more relative to the time in progress. I would say, of cause, China is not so advanced in development… So take the time.

Having said that, I do agree it should be brought to everyone’s attention to improve all these bad areas.

What do you think about these 36 items in the list?

14 thoughts on “You Know You Have Been in China for Too Long

  1. this list is BS!

    No. 1 VS No. 24 VS No. 7?! WTF?

    No. 33 ?!

    I’d rather believe this list is written by a FLG practitioner!

  2. When my throat starts itching and begins producing light yellow mucus, I know I stayed too long in China. (It’s about 2 and a half weeks for me.)

  3. If you wear a dress, put on a pair of high-heeled shoes, and carry a designer handbag when you climb the “Yellow Mountain”, You know you stayed China too long.

  4. If you wear a dress, put on a pair of high-heeled shoes, and carry a designer handbag when you climb the “Yellow Mountain”, You know you stayed China too long.

  5. We can not blame the migrants for everything. Those 36 items are typical characteristics that demonstrated by the majority of the Chinese, which makes who we are!

  6. If you start arguing loudly and fest fighting in public place, you know you stayed in China too long.

  7. if you start carrying a ladies handbag which is big in size, you know you stayed too long in Shanghai.

  8. I agree with most of the list being habits of the culture

    but only some of them have I personally taken on.

    The biggest point that of not asking why anymore.

  9. No need to be ashamed at the so-called “bad” ones. I even do some of them now; and also I realized something about western Europeans. When Chinese people want to take out their frustrations, they usually BREAK some social rule — getting in someone’s way, doing something just a tiny bit rude, etc. But western Europeans are more dishonest. When a western European wants to take out some frustration, he will do it by deliberately FOLLOWING a rule, in some excessive way that causes inconvenience to others. Driving *exactly* the speed limit and making everyone mad, while saying to himself “I am a good person, following the rules; they are bad”; being very stubborn that some process must be “exactly by the book”, pretending to help someone while really criticizing, offering to give gifts of assistance that embarass people. Western Europeans very often use “rule following” and “being good” as a weapon to inconvenience others. They (we) do this very deliberately and maliciously, all the time.

    I am always shocked when Chinese people never (or rarely) do this. I think it is because European culture has so much emphasis on moralizing, preaching, and judging — so people in the west learn to suppress ad sublimate all of their frustrations and be more sneaky about it.

    (I also squat while waiting now. It’s such a smart idea)

  10. My addition…

    37. You know you won’t get ahead in your career or life without knowing the word “guanxi”.

    38. You find it strange if your friend doesn’t have ayi.

    39. You wear your Shanghai pajamas out in the middle of the day.

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