Talk about Internet slowness; electrical outlets that rarely work -- Welcome to China!
I'm in the Chengdu Airport., in a cafe that offers 'free' Internet. What do I always say... 'Free' is no good! Here, the capacity (of the WIFI) is so low, websites never load. So, what good is 'free?' I'd rather pay where it works! There is no such thing as 'free,' trust me!
Additionally, one thing that just baffles Chinese are electrical outlets! Rarely do any of them work (anywhere in China)! Why? This is a country of engineers, yet simple electrical outlets invariably don't work and I wonder why? Right here in this coffee bar, the outlet next to my table is an example. When I try to insert the plug to my MacBook, the receptacle recedes into the wall, the plug falling out on the floor. It's a joke! But, I'm not surprised!
If I complained, they'd be 'nonplussed,' as Chinese people rarely complain about anything. So, it's basically 'BOHICA' (Bend over, here it comes again!) in China! There are so many customers it's a 'seller's market!' If you don't like the product or the service, there are a hundred behind you wanting it. So, the 'seller,' never bothers with anything that resembles 'customer service.'
Now, I know Chinese people aren't stupid! They fly airplanes, and they're going to the moon. They can build anything! But, things for the general public, because they don't complain, come under the heading of 'tough shit' (if a problem).
Chinese people just adapt (when there's a problem)! If the electrical outlet doesn't work, they just do without or move to where one does work. The thought of complaining never occurs to them! Why? They've been doing without so long, now they can do anything with nothing!
This is a group of people, probably the most abused and oppressed in history. If it wasn't the Emperor (for the last 3,000 years), now it's the CP. So, why don't they revolt? Because China, similar to the U.S., is a nation of 'sheep.' More importantly in 2009, things are better for Chinese people, better than they've ever been! This in terms of material things: food, clothing, and now amenities! If you've never had anything, something is better than nothing.
Additionally, China is a nation of the unevolved. Intellectually, as intelligent as any, there is little in the way of consciousness (I'm not even sure if this concept translates into Chinese.). The men play games and smoke cigarettes, and the women work. Groups never stop talking! Each person is but a 'cell' in a larger organism (be it family, friends, business, CP, or country). It's as if they cannot exist alone without constant contact with other human beings ('cells').
Chinese rarely do anything 'alone!' I can't imagine a Chinese person masturbating! If you discover one doing something alone, this is a very unusual Chinese person!
Recently on our cycling trip from Xining to Lijiang (summer, 09) we met a Chinese woman cycling alone from Lanzhou to Lhasa (some 2,000KM). Rarely do you ever see a lone man cycling (I've seen one in three years.). But, a long Chinese woman 'out there' cycling, VERY, VERY RARE! Of course, I interviewed her for 'Discover China (by bicycle).' She had lied to her parents, or they would have never let her go! But, she did join our group.
But, don't get me wrong... There are many things that I like about living in China, primarily the Chinese people themselves, the average 'Mr. Li, or Miss. Wong!' They are friendly, helpful, kind, even generous (at least with their time). Of course, there's the case of the 'bad apple,' but generally speaking they're honest! The younger ones (male and female) I've had some trouble with... They seem lost in a 'cloud' of pressure wrought by their Chinese parents -- this to either make money (males) or get married (females). Of course, there's the language problem!
I've discovered most young people, of any 'persuasion,' incredibly 'fucked up' as no doubt I was too (in my 20s). Seems to be a universal thing! But, Chinese uniquely so as caught between two worlds, the old era of Mao (deprivation) and the modern chic world of 'Hollywood!' One recently told me, 'We want what you have!' How can you argue.
Chinese people, generally speaking are, loud, boistrous, rude, even crude (the men mostly)! There's the spitting, shitting, honking/talking, and smoking madness of Chinese culture! If you've even been to Japan, it's just the opposite in China!
Chinese people wear long underwear year round! They just can't understand how I might be different, wearing shorts even in winter. 'Aren't you cold?' They always ask! I always try to explain I have 'horse legs.' Of course, they wear thin socks, and I wear wool (even in summer). I point to their feet in defense and ask, 'Aren't you cold?'
They call all 'foreigners' laowei! I explain that in the U.S. we are all 'foreigners,' and nobody would single you out because you look slightly different. Chinese people have been isolated for so long, anything different is scrutinized! They watch me do most everything. I'm sure they would like to observe me going to the toilet, just to see if I shit the same way! A Chinese friend, learning I could not squat easily, asked me how I could 'go to the toilet?' Squatting to them, to shit, smoke, talki on their mobile (probably giving birth) is natural. I try to explain that we 'are built differently!'
They love to laugh and have a good time (are much less serious than Anglo Saxons). Games and TV the most popular pastime (at least for men)! The Internet is used for entertainment, not communicating nor business.
Mobile telephones are worshipped! If one rings, the owner would interrupt sexual intercourse to answer (I joke about this, of course!)! 'Mobiles' are, in fact, 'God,' to Chinese people! Think about it... Out of a population of 1.4 billion, over one-half, or 800 million, have them! And it doesn't matter if they're crossing a busy street, riding a bicycle or driving a bus, they're most likely to be staring at that small screen. Even during a meeting, something important being discussed, if it rings the meeting's going to be interrupted!
There is no public courtesy in China! In private there are elaborate social rules, and I'm generally treated like some kind of 'royalty.' Out on the street, I'm just another piece of 'meat,' to step on, cut off, or push ahead in line! It's nothing personal, just a matter of survival (with such congestion). It's the 'too many rats in a cage' syndrome!
So, what am I doing in China as I like peace, quiet and solitude? A good question! Trying to get a 'rock' to a mountain! It's called, 'Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas!'
in the airport in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China (waiting for my flight to Lijiang).
Labels: China, general