Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by ChangshaNotes, Jun 22, 2013.
I really like this lady
Pictures of people who mock me
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So, the worm does turn. Good for her.
thanks Colin, good read
I love her attitude, she doesn't let it get her down but uses it to her advantage, turning a negative into a positive. Others react to her because she seems so different from the norm to them but through her work we see her as the normal one.
I can relate to this a little. Where I live in China, there are very few foreigners and no others in the district I live in. Everywhere I go, I'm stared at, often followed. Sometimes with curiosity, sometimes with distrust. It is assumed that because I'm a foreigner, that I can't understand the local language (a dialect of Mandarin) but I can, so I hear some really nasty stuff sometimes. At first it was unnerving and intimidating, then it became frustrating. I've had strangers walk up to me and yank the hair on my arms as they've never seen that before and I guess want to know if it's real. I've sat on a full bus with 20 people standing, no one wanting to take the empty seat next to me. People follow me around in grocery stores to see what food I will buy. Sometimes a child will see me and is surprised and runs away screaming for his life.
It takes a certain kind of strength and belief in yourself to push through this, and to turn it into a creative endeavour that can add to your self-worth is truly magical. My hat's off to this lady.
By the way, most people here are wonderful, kind, generous and friendly. What I describe above is the exception, not the rule and it's easy to focus on the negative over the positive. There was a time many years ago where because I assumed everyone would treat me poorly I kind of made it happen, it's really few people that do this but with the size of the population, it's daily.
Not the girls though.
What motivated you to go to China?
i agree too,well said Colin, happened on me a few occasions and feels very bad,self-esteem tends to drop.
Not the girls though. I think this is the reason Dave the girls
I had travelled around quite a bit when I was in my 20's and found myself at 34 feeling bored and not looking forward to what my path had become. I was single, had a good job and was financially ok so I decided to start over. I went back to school to teacher's college then stated working as a temp, looking for a more permanent gig. I was still bored but I liked this path more. Somehow it came my attention that I could teach abroad, I figured it would be interesting and may even help me in the future. I had been to Latin America, Europe and Africa but never to Asia so I set my sights on there.
At 36 I chose China and the plan was to teach for a year and return. I had no misgivings about going to China, I had travelled around enough to know that most media about foreign countries is full of crap and it was exciting to go and see for myself, to learn some culture and to improve myself.
I went to a large city - Guangzhou, not far from Hong Kong. There are quite a few expats there and I thought it would be easier to get used to. I'm from Canada so I chose Guangzhou instead of say Beijing just for weather reasons.
I loved it. I loved the difficulties I had, the confusion, not being so sure of a situation or myself. I loved the how polar opposites are right next to each other here. Ridiculous wealth next to abject poor. Unbelievable acts of kindness and friendliness next to equally unbelievable acts of cruelly and indifference. The beautiful and the ugly side by side very little in-between.
After a year, I decided to stay another year but moved further inland as I prefer the smaller citiy's people more. I picked up the language and started to become more successful in my work and before you know it 10 years have past.
I'm not always as sure about my future path as I could be in Canada but I'm never bored.
Like any place Changsha has it's ups and downs. The summer is not easy here.
Here's a mobile phone shot of my friend holding a digital thermometer at the train station downtown Changsha
That's 46.8ºC (116.3ºF) and this isn't Arizona, usually very high humidity.
No, but they are no small part in why I have stayed.
Nice read Both the article and your story Colin
Great thread, this. In a way, it shows us what some people are like when they are not being taught and encouraged to keep an open mind.
I guess most people can be a little self-conscious from time to time, but most of us probably can't imagine what it's like to be forced to be very self-conscious all of the time.
The article and Colin's posts also show us what silly things people get hung up about. Weight, for instance, really doesn't bother me at all. I can't understand why some people worry about other people's weight.
Really intresting reads Colin, thanks for that! Was it difficult to learn the local language?
I have seen some of Haley's photos before, they are unusual and tell stories. Take this one for instance, one of my favourites:
“Never forget who you are, for surely the world won’t. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”*(G.R.R. Martin)
I admire her for having done exactly that!
As for why people worry about other's weight, is because they are different from the norm, maybe even what is considered normality. Being different in a very obvious way can be a heavy burden to bear- it' tribe mentality, us versus them, with "us" thinking they are better, for whatever reason. That the "them" can't be trusted, or are wrong, or are weird, but they basically do not belong. You can observe this as early as in kindergarden and primary school. For example school bullying is something everyone has heard about.
As Colin said, usually it is a small number of people who do this, but sometimes even one such moment can spoil your day, pushing all the good things into the background...
Well, people who bully in school will continue doing it in adult life, unless they are told that it is wrong.
A person's weight has nothing to do with how clever, funny or kind they are. It's just an excuse. Besides, a few hundred years ago, it was the height of fashion to have a pale and pasty appearance. It showed that you could afford not to work outdoors. Today, it's fashionable to be slim and tanned because it shows you can afford to live an active lifestyle.
In today's world with huge differences in social, economic, cultural and ethnic circumstances, it's more important than ever to keep an open mind.
Anyway, all credit to those who turn prejudices on the head.
I can't speak it, but I can understand the city version of it. The countryside version is more difficult for me. There are no learning tools for it. It's considered a dialect. The written language is the same as Mandarin but all the pronunciation is different and then there is popular word choice, minor grammar changes etc. It's not really worth my putting the time into learning it as it's very localized.
I speak Mandarin and so do most people under 50 (if they went to school) so I can respond to people speaking their local dialect here.
I don't think Mandarin is difficult to speak. It's harder than English at the beginning for pronunciation (grammar is much simpler) but easier to speak well once you get going but the reading and writing are like learning a completely different language at the same time. You can't sound anything out. So you either know the word/character or you don't. The written language is more concise than English so there is less content to understand vocabulary by context. I still have trouble reading some articles in the newspaper. Their history reaches back a long time so cultural references that are necessary to understand somethings can be beyond my knowledge.
Day to day stuff is easy though.
Fascinating Colin, hope you are enjoying your time there.
How long do you plan to reside in China, or is there a plan?
Ya, bullying does not stop out of school. There is a guy in his 50's I work with who gets bullied/teased by everyone, even the supervisors. I try not to involve myself, but it is addicting when everyone is picking on/ripping on him.
While I applaud the efforts to stop excessive bullying in school, I worry that we are over doing it. Teasing and making light of one another is something we need to learn to deal with. If we completely shelter children they won't have any way to deal with it in the real world.
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