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31-01-2020, 14:47   #16
Urquell
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What do you wish you could say, but if you said it, would get you sent to a Re-education camp for 10 years?

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31-01-2020, 15:10   #17
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I know it may be a bit difficult but can you try and explain Chinese society to us stupid westerners.

China is a communist country, I believe the state controls most things. How then, can you get to be a billionaire in China? Is it all who you know? How do ordinary Chinese people, who make the collective effort, put up with the sheer inequality of it all?

I watched American Factory on Netflix last week and the sheep mentality of the Chinese workforce was pretty evident. They are taught ‘life is work’. Do you see it in day to day life over there. How do they regard you as the lazy westerner? Do you think if we worked as hard as them would we be a more successful society?
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31-01-2020, 15:21   #18
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Anyone who has a go at you for this doesn't have a notion how difficult the language is to learn for native English speakers. Mandarin (and Cantonese) are classified as Category V languages, meaning it takes roughly 88 weeks (2200 hours) of study (note study, not casual) to reach general proficiency.

Setting reading aside (and the massive difference in their characters to Latin based languages), the tones are extremely difficult to master. My wife has taught me a little, but without actually studying it, it's just very difficult. The few things I can say, probably only she would understand what I'm attempting to say. Without the correct tones, it could be incomprehensible to a native speaker or just as easily come out meaning something I didn't intend.

Just drink some warm water and you'll be grand.
I mean I can't really say much, I've been here over 4 years in total and my Chinese is only passable. I know 2 people who have gotten pretty good at Chinese in the space of a year, but they studied 4+ hours every single day.

The hot and cold thing is pretty funny, hot water fixes everything. You get sick, thats because the air conditioner is bad for you, everything cold is bad for you. Drink hot water, that will make you better. Yet on numerous occasions I've seen Chinese people in McDonalds ordering ice cream at 10am in the morning. Logic!!
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31-01-2020, 15:54   #19
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你好

I know it may be a bit difficult but can you try and explain Chinese society to us stupid westerners.

China is a communist country, I believe the state controls most things. How then, can you get to be a billionaire in China? Is it all who you know? How do ordinary Chinese people, who make the collective effort, put up with the sheer inequality of it all?

I watched American Factory on Netflix last week and the sheep mentality of the Chinese workforce was pretty evident. They are taught ‘life is work’. Do you see it in day to day life over there. How do they regard you as the lazy westerner? Do you think if we worked as hard as them would we be a more successful society?
China is not a communist country, well not in the true sense anyway. It is a capitalist country that retains enough communist ideology to keep the government in control. Chinese people in general are free to make as much money as want. Anyone who has been to China, or plans to visit, would not for one second think they were in a communist country. Nothing would feel out of place apart from the obvious cultural differences, but you get that everywhere. Yes there's censorship and certain things are controlled, but as long as the economy is good and people can make money the vast majority of Chinese people don't particularly care. It's when those things go bad that we might see some unrest.

Yes, there can be a huge disparity in terms of earnings. The average monthly salary is pretty low for your bog standard worker. The cleaner in our office makes 2,500 RMB a month (325 euro). Yet I know a Chinese person who work for the government who has 3 apartments, in 3 different cities, and not cheap cities. But the one thing the Chinese government does well is making sure that as many people as possible have a job. There are more parking attendants in China then there are people in Ireland. Do Chinese people work more hours than those in western countries, definitely. But it also depends on what job you have. The people I work with work 9-6, that's it. Yet just outside my apartment complex are 3 convenience stores, owned by a husband and wife in all cases, who are open from 8am until midnight, every day without fail. So it's a mixture of being told you need to work X amount, versus voluntarily working X amount to make as much as you possibly can. Trust me, there are as many lazy Chinese people as there are Irish.

Like you said above, it can be hard to explain as things here vary so greatly from person to person, and city to city. I guess, in general, inequality is more noticeable when there's 1.4 billion people.
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31-01-2020, 16:13   #20
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How's the interest in soccer over there? It seems the last few years the money players moving from Europe are getting has exploded exponentially. Has it always been like that or has China all of a sudden become a mad soccer nation overnight? Do they get massive crowds, tv money etc to pay these massive contracts?
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31-01-2020, 16:35   #21
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A friend of mine who worked in China some years ago said that, whatever you do, don't talk about 'the three Ts' - Taiwan, Tibet and Tienanmen (i.e. the massacre there in 1989). Is that still the case? Are local people willing/happy/able to talk about these issues, or, say, the Uighur situation in Xinjiang? In other words, how much freedom of speech is there on the ground in China?

Cheers!
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31-01-2020, 16:41   #22
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I started hearing reports about 2 weeks before Chinese New Year, but at time it just sounded like a local outbreak and I personally paid no attention to it, as did most people. Things started to sound a bit more serious in few days leading up to Chinese New Year, but again I think everyone thought it would just fizzle out.

While I don't necessarily believe that the government are intentionally (go figure), I do believe that there are far more people infected than the number quoted. Why the discrepancy? It seems that the hospitals in Wuhan are only admitting those with serious symptoms as that is all they can cope with. Are they testing every single person with symptoms? I highly doubt that. You've got to remember that in a city that size there are going to be tens of thousands of people every week who are sick with illnesses that are NOT the coronavirus. It's a matter of logistics. I take everything I see online with a grain of salt, especially videos as some of the more popular ones I've seen have turned out to be old. Though this one is particularly eye opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AI3R41dGnU&t=40s

Chinese New Year was basically non-existent, everything was cancelled. Since last Friday, almost everyone has been at home 90% of the time. Everything is closed, apart from shops selling the necessities. There are about 50 restaurants on the street I live on, none of them are open. For now at least, shops still have plenty of stuff, but as you alluded to, no bread There's been a huge increase in the number of places selling vegetables the last couple of days, apparently organised by the local government.

As for transport, that has been limited a lot. Most bus routes have closed. The subway is till open for now, but shortened hours and you need to show your passport, wear a mask and have your temperature taken. China's version of Uber has closed, that is a big one. To take a regular taxi you need to show you passport also, as well as wear a mask. Everyone is wearing masks. Streets are pretty empty for the most part, just people venturing out to get what they need and then straight back home.

I've stocked up on noodles and rice/beans, just in case. I venture out maybe once a day to get some vegetables and stuff. I have a dog so I bring him out 3 times a day, but just within the apartment complex I live which is pretty big.

I work in an office how, so I can work from home and will be doing so for at least the next 2 weeks, probably longer.

So yes, the boredom is real!!
I've watched some of that video you posted earlier, it is very scary isn't it? Hopefully it's as contained as it possibly can be for you but it seems like a total nightmare for people in Wuhan. A dreadful situation. Has your workplace closed down or are there others who are still going to the office - was it a choice to work from home I mean or were you all told to do so?

Have you stockpiled any food and water just in case or are you reasonably happy that the stores will remain open?

Have you a plan to fill all of your spare time for the next while indoors? At least having a dog gets you out of the apartment a few times a day and you have some company
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31-01-2020, 17:10   #23
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Will you ever be considered Chinese living there.
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31-01-2020, 19:15   #24
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Have you recently visited Hong Kong? It has been a few years since I was there to present a paper at a conference. It was expensive when I went. But fortunately, someone was paying my way. Still expensive to stay? Anything else to be mindful about?
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31-01-2020, 20:22   #25
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is veganism/vegetarianism a thing?
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01-02-2020, 02:15   #26
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How's the interest in soccer over there? It seems the last few years the money players moving from Europe are getting has exploded exponentially. Has it always been like that or has China all of a sudden become a mad soccer nation overnight? Do they get massive crowds, tv money etc to pay these massive contracts?
I would say interest is on the rise, but not enough to actually make the Chinese team decent . The've built lot's academies in recent years and hired lots of coaches from abroad, so they're trying. Maybe in a few years. Interest can be quite regional too, for example Dalian is known as a football city, mainly because they used to have the best team. Whereas in other cities basketball would be the most popular sport.

I believe they've capped the salaries now, no they won't get getting the big name players anymore. I play football every week, though it dies down a bit in the winter. There are some really decent Chinese players, they're always very technical. But if anything they try to be too technical, and no matter who we play we always win. They're also awful in the air.

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Will you ever be considered Chinese living there.
Nope. Getting Chinese citizenship is next to impossible, so you will always need a visa that has to be renewed every year.

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Have you recently visited Hong Kong? It has been a few years since I was there to present a paper at a conference. It was expensive when I went. But fortunately, someone was paying my way. Still expensive to stay? Anything else to be mindful about?
I haven't been to Hong kong since 2015. I was supposed to go last October but decided against it and went to Macau instead. I really liked it, buut going from China it was pretty expensive. In saying that, the local food street food was cheap enough. I've heard that hotels and stuff have gotten a little cheaper because of the recent unrest. A friend was there last week and he didn't seem to have any problems, he loved it.

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is veganism/vegetarianism a thing?
Among Chinese people, not really. There are vegetarian/vegan restaurants, very few though. So perhaps there has been a small increase in the number of people adopting a veggie diet, but not a noticeable amount.

There are plenty of vegan/veggie foreigners here. My girlfriend is one of them Most of them don't actually find it too bad here being a veggie, contrary to what most people would think. Chinese people live their meat, but they eat more fruit and veg than the average Irish person. The issue is that in typical Chinese restaurants they often find a way to sneak a little bit of meat into dishes. Eating culture is different. A group of people would share multiple dishes rather than having their own dish. I love this aspect.

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I've watched some of that video you posted earlier, it is very scary isn't it? Hopefully it's as contained as it possibly can be for you but it seems like a total nightmare for people in Wuhan. A dreadful situation. Has your workplace closed down or are there others who are still going to the office - was it a choice to work from home I mean or were you all told to do so?

Have you stockpiled any food and water just in case or are you reasonably happy that the stores will remain open?

Have you a plan to fill all of your spare time for the next while indoors? At least having a dog gets you out of the apartment a few times a day and you have some company
Yes my workplace is closed completely, along with most most other peoples. The official government set Chinese holiday was extended from January 30th until February 2nd, but I believe that has been extended again. No it wasn't a choice on my behalf, we were told to work from home for the next 2 weeks, that will probably be extended. The consensus is that the the number of confirmed cases is going to continue to rise for the next 2 weeks, at least. They slowly reduce, but nobody really knows.

I've stockpiled certain things, but for the moment shops are still open so no cause for concern just yet. As I mentioned previously, shops (convenience stores, supermarkets) are the only things open.

I won't lie, it can be mind numbingly boring. I've never been in a situation where I've been stuck inside for so long...and for the foreseeable future. Crazy when you think about it. I've done lots of reading, watched tonnes of TV shows and movies, lots of cooking and cleaning etc. I'll have work to do next week so that will help. I'll have to come up with something else to so though. Any ideas?
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01-02-2020, 05:45   #27
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A friend of mine who worked in China some years ago said that, whatever you do, don't talk about 'the three Ts' - Taiwan, Tibet and Tienanmen (i.e. the massacre there in 1989). Is that still the case? Are local people willing/happy/able to talk about these issues, or, say, the Uighur situation in Xinjiang? In other words, how much freedom of speech is there on the ground in China?

Cheers!
You can probably include Hong Kong in that list. But yes, it is advised that you don't discuss these topics, especially in a public setting i.e. in a classroom. In saying that, there are plenty of Chinese people who are willing or even want to discuss these things. Know your audience comes to mind. While some Chinese people like talking about Taiwan or Hong kong, some can get pretty offended if you, for example, believe Taiwan should be an independent country. You've just got to really know the people you're surrounded with then talking about such things. I've seen Chinese people almost start fights over someone saying teh wrong thing. Chinese people, in general, are quite patriotic and proud of their country...and that includes the above mentioned places. And if their views don't follow that of the CCP then, yes, they better not air those thoughts publically. That includes on social media.

The Uighur situation is a bit different. Everyone just turns a blind eye to what's happening there. People from Xinjiang are also, in a lot of cases, treated as second class citizens. I'll give you an example. A former colleague of mine, American guy, lived in Xinjiang for 2 years. He married a girl from Xinjiang and they moved to Tier 2 city in eastern China. She had perfect English and was a qualified dentist, but could not get a job anywhere. On various occasions they even had the police knocking on their door. They eventually had to move to the USA when her brother and father were sent from 're-education'. Mad stuff altogether.
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01-02-2020, 07:56   #28
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I read the sad news of Wu Huayan, a 24-year-old student, on the BBC website (which is banned in China). It was reported she died from malnutrition as she scrimped money to pay her younger brother's medical bills. However, it appears she actually had a rare genetic condition which causes advanced aging of the body. It must be really scary in China if you are poor and need medical intervention. Do you have medical insurance?
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01-02-2020, 08:37   #29
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What are the supermarkets like over there? Is there the same range and diversity of goods as over here?
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01-02-2020, 08:54   #30
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Do Chinese people know anything about Ireland.
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