Chinese love queuing, sometimes

Good manners?

Our Chinese friends can be very annoying because of their queue-jumping attitudes. But Chinese love queuing, sometimes.

I am always taken aback how they can queue up for hours to get anything free of charge.
Like here in Sanlitun, to get a free ice cream “MAGNUM”, said to be “Belgian”.
I would rather pay the 30 RMB than standing in line for so long.
Oh well, I am not Chinese enough I guess.

Racist tirade against Chinese

Bad German guy

Even China Daily took up the story that circulated wildly on the Chinese Internet, about the Racist tirade against Chinese by a German guy. He did wrong but did anybody care to look for the reasons of his outburst? Maybe he was daily being faced with (unpleasant) parking problems? Was there a special reason he snapped? Who knows. And yes, I know some foreigners who really act as axxholes here and shame us. But that is not the point.

My view

Sorry but I have my personal view on all this, shared by several old timers in Beijing.

Street assaults and robberies are now more common, but also anti-foreign attitudes. Worse, if a foreigner is assaulted and beaten in a robbery, he is likely to be accused of “assault”. So, I guess you give all your money and stuff, let yourself be beaten up, to avoid even worse. For those naïve, I have some (bloody) pictures of such assaults (that I did not want to post here…). As for the “racist” stuff, see below.

The story

“Senior Daimler executive removed from post after racist tirade against Chinese people in Beijing parking row”
German expat Rainer Gaertner also allegedly pulled out pepper spray to disperse onlookers during quarrel over parking space
Dated 22 November 2016

My comment as posted on SCMP:

I have a different take on this story. Yes, the guy used improper language and attitude. Agreed. On the other hand we see in Beijing mounting anti-foreigner sentiment (without any immediate reason), racist insults and even physical aggression. If a foreigner defends himself physically he faces prison. Racist and xenophobic attacks seem to be “OK”. Will those (Chinese) attackers face any punishment? Like losing their job? It is a one-way “justice”. China has changed for the worst, in the past Chinese were overall very polite. Now some have become arrogant and blame foreigners for whatever, ranting and assaulting them. You won’t read this in the media because this is CENSORED. So, we have no rights? Contrary to what wumaos say, as foreigners we have no “favorable treatment”, on the contrary right now. Not to be surprised foreigners are leaving, so China is one of the countries with the lowest amount of foreigners IN THE WORLD. I have many local friends but they are the first to tell me “Be careful. Many bad people. Don’t try to argue”.


Pipa concert and a famous Chinese painter

Artist Liu Yaming, famous oil painter

On 15 May 2016 we were invited for a special concert at the studio building of a famous painter, Liu Yaming. The large building functions as a gallery and has workshops, reception areas and a small auditorium. The area is called Qiaozi International Village Arts District, Qiaozi Art Commune. It is located about an hour’s drive north of Beijing, in a mostly rural and mountainous area called Huairou, home to several national parks, nature reserves, and ski resorts. Qiaozi is a small arts community and populated by established artists, architects and filmmakers. Artists like Shen Shaomin (who hosts the 4A residency), and Qu Yan, (who organizes the XuCun residency) live and work there. Several (oil) painters have their studio in the area; the buildings are all pretty big. Not your poor artist corner! See some of the buildings as well as some of the many paintings hanging around in the house.

The artist was born in 1962 in Neijiang in Sichuan province. He is best known for his somber, evocative oil paintings of female figures. Liu’s paintings focus on a single female figure, usually looking straight at the viewer without a smile. This moody, mysterious atmosphere is heightened by the hazy backdrops he paints the women in. In this piece, though he uses multiple colors in the background, the pinks, yellows, and blues are murky and painted in almost nebulous shapes. In contrast to the backgrounds, the subjects are painted in exceptional detail, which contributes to a sense of individuality and personality unique to each piece.
See more:

The location of the concert also has one of his famous paintings, a huge Dante / Inferno kind of somber piece. On the left side, other large paintings.

Zhang Hongyan, an outstanding Chinese pipa performer

The concert focused on the pipa.
The pipa (pronounced “pee-paa”) is a four-stringed lute, one of the oldest Chinese musical instruments with over 2000 years of history. The concert showed several different types. None had the bent neck: all were straight.
The star was Zhang Hongyan, an outstanding Chinese pipa performer, teacher, Professor at the Central Conservatory, supervisor of MA students and member of the Chinese Association for Cultural Development. Zhang Hongyan trained at the University of Columbia in the USA.

Zhang Hongyan graduated from the Central Conservatory and attained her Master’s degree. Zhang Hongyan is one of the finest pipa performers and teachers. Her rich repertoire includes works by many composers. Zhang Hongyan frequently performs at the world’s most prestigious concert halls, in New York, Berlin, Vienna, Washington, Beijing and many other.

After the concert we were invited to a buffet, on the rooftop, with a great view on the countryside.

Chinese government websites: do not visit!

Well, that is what Chinese government gives you as a message.

Good luck. What I understand, the websites are tailored to be visited only by Windows users (how much were they paid for that?). Use Apple and you are out of luck.
Now, how more short-sighted can that be? As a webmaster I even wonder how they managed that filtering in their web design.
We already are living in an Intranet in China, not Internet. Isolated from the world, unable to reach the most important websites one needs for research and business. And forget many of the international email platforms, blocked in China.
In other words:

  • China does not welcome foreign business people, if they come here they are supposed to limit themselves to China Daily, Global Times (worse!) and sterile CCTV news. No more contact with the outside world; no more emails;
  • Chinese people should not know what is REALLY going on in the world;
  • Chinese people, the less they know, the better;
  • Think twice before outsourcing your web design to a “Chinese” company.

Unless of course you think Baidu delivers “information”. I had a hilarious moment with a Chinese friend looking up the word “horny” on Baidu. He found it was well, some rough skin stuff. I explained it was not really that meaning…
Oh well. China says it opens the door more and more. They forgot to say they installed double glass in the doorways, so the “flies” will not come in.
There are still many naïve foreigners who did not get it. Until they sit in their 5-star hotel and can’t open gmail.
I just wonder what all those hundreds of thousand of Chinese who study and travel abroad think when returning home. And are back in their isolation.
So, when the government talks about “innovation and creativity”, allow me to become cynical.

And this sarcastic comment from Sinocism:
“Mark Zuckerberg’s Donation Spurs Philanthropy Debate in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ – One of the jokes going around is that the announcement must be fake because when a PRC user tries to find Facebook their browser says the site does not exist…”

Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou?

OCUD (Obsessive cell phone use disorder) describes a person who continually talks on their cell phone or checks updates on mobile apps in public, while driving, meeting friends or eating in a restaurant. Or going to a classical concert. Mal de Coucou is a new buzzword, says China Daily: “Describes a phenomenon in which a person has an active social life but very few close friends”.

So, how are you doing?

I think mobiles have become a terrible plague. I am not sure but Chinese people might be the worst hit. One cannot understand how Chinese survived before the era of mobiles, when we had at best a fixed telephone and a fax. And of course TV and newspapers. I did never saw anybody going to the restaurant with a fax machine.
The result is that personal contact has deteriorated. Everybody is on the phone, does not pay attention to the people sitting around them. Generally speaking it worsens the attention span of people who have a real difficulty to focus. You send people a mail, they at most read the subject line and maybe the first line. Then they ask you for details that were already inside the mail. You ask to do research and the results are often poor. They write a report or mail and do not pay attention to spelling nor details. You have a discussion (or what seems to be a discussion) and they hear 20% of what you say. They are too busy on their phones.

Enjoying life? Oh… that is even worse. Eating out, no time to enjoy the food: time to make selfies, a pic of the dishes and quickly spread it over their social media. Sightseeing? They don’t see anything, do not enjoy the scenery as they are again busy with selfies, shooting pics and updating their social media. For a Chinese, sitting on a terrace and enjoying the people walking by must sound like a total waste of time.
One of the frustrations is going to a classical concert or ballet in China. People are totally inconsiderate, constantly on their phones, even talking. It feels like if we foreigners would do the same in a meeting in the Great Hall of The People. Imagine the Chinese “indignation”.
Even sex suffers. Who has time for it? Updates and messages must be checked immediately. No time for cuddling or something real nice. And the phones stay on all night, waking up people who then complain why contacts update their news in the middle of the night.
Not to be surprised the older generation suffers most. The children meet the parents or other family members but just remain glued to their screens. Nice dinner!
In Beijing the rule in traffic is that driving a car mandates to keep an eye on the mobile, so if one turns right or left, no time to put on the signal and no time to look if cars, bicycles or pedestrians are in the way. Some drivers are pretty skilled to turn around while working on their phones and even smoking. That is all OK as you never see traffic police anyway. Pedestrians and bikers are no better. People walk in bike lanes, talking or texting on their phones and deaf to the warnings from bikers. Pedestrians cross streets glued to their screens. Bikers text while biking or riding their motorbike. I even once saw a guy riding his bike and reading his newspaper but that was a primitive specimen.
The fixations with drivers and their mobiles might also explain why Chinese drivers are so terrible: they do not connect with their cars and their environment as we do. Just look when they try to park their car. Or try a U-turn.
Another real annoyance is in the gym where people consider the machines comfortable chairs to keep busy with their phones while others want to use the machine. Consideration for others is not in the dictionary.
As for me? Well, I talk very very little on the phone and prefer SMS or WeChat messages. Yes, I keep a close eye on WeChat but I do not have 500 people I hardly know that want me to check what they are “doing”. Or any crap they want to tell the world. When I rest, stay in bed or sleep the phone is off.
And yes, I perfectly survive sitting on the beach, near a pool or in the mountains with no wifi and even no phone.
Why should we know what our 500 “friends” are eating, what their dog or cat is doing, what bag, shoes, beauty creams, … they just bought? Or one more selfie to show how cute or handsome they are?
Not interested. Except if it is from a real close friend and I then prefer to see it in person. And talk, without a cell in my hands. Otherwise I would be phubbing. No, it is not a spelling mistake: it is the new word for ignoring the person you are with in favor of your phone.

Here is an interesting video:

Have fun watching it.