Readers' Submissions

Living In China

  • Written by Chinaman
  • April 17th, 2004
  • 9 min read



As I read the other readers submissions it was time for me to also contribute and give some of my insights. However, since I am not a native speaker please excuse my disgraceful use of the English language.

I know Thailand since I used to live there a couple of years ago and nowadays still frequent it. Now I am living and working in China. Also traveling a lot around, usually in the big coastal cities. So I think this qualifies me to write this piece. Everything is based on my view, to which undoubtedly not everyone will agree. But I can give some ideas for the guys who think about other places besides Thailand. All this is just meant as information for people who have a job offer for China or intention to live somewhere in Asia and looking for information.

I would like to give some ideas what to expect here in China in reference to Thailand which readers should know already. All the info is based on my experiences in big cities which have also some economic strength and are growing e.g. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Dalian, Chengdu, Chonqqing, Qingdao. To speak about the less known places would be a complete different topic.

First of all China is still China, even that it has now become quite fashionable to stay here. At the moment it seems that the whole world thinks Shanghai is a cool and hip place to be. There is a lot of media coverage about China and Shanghai especially, but if you look straight at all what is offered here, an experienced Asia traveler will say it sucks ass compared to other places. This just shows the influence the media has.

People

Public behavior of people is disgusting and the lack of politeness and respect against each other is the worst I have ever seen in Asia.

Interaction between people on the street is best described as asocial. If you want to cross a road people will happily run over you with their car. It seems like other individuals do not exist for the average Chinese. Chinese pedestrians and bicyclists are among the bravest in the world, nobody cares to look before crossing the street or changing lanes. I always wonder how they survive. Most likely this is mother nature's way to deal with the overpopulation here.

People are spitting everywhere and wherever you go you will hear the not so pleasant noise of people snotting. On walkways people will bump into you, even while standing on open areas with space around you they will still bump into you. Pushing is normal everywhere from the elevator to entry into subway / bus and supermarket.

On the other hand, if you deal with the people one by one, they are usually ok, but in the broad mass they are unstandable.

Conclusion: you can stand it if you are in a good mood, but if you are already annoyed you get really aggressive and hate builds up (my experience). People who are already fed up by the behavior of Thai people or value politeness should avoid China.

Food

Do not expect a lifestyle like Thailand where you can always get inexpensive and great food on the street. Here you do not want to (and better not) try it.

For restaurants the food is ok, some regions have nice food but in general lots of the stuff which is eaten by the locals is not nice. Most times it is greasy, oily or unhealthy in general. Besides this it contributes to the breath problem. (see below)

Western food is difficult to get, mostly poorly prepared or expensive.

I found myself as a regular at McDonalds and KFC after a while, which gets quite embarrassing if the staff there starts to know you.

Going out

You will not face the closing time issue like in Thailand now. Bars are free to open and close like they want (how it should be).

From the entertainment value the cities have not much to offer compared to other Asian counties and the West. Of course you can find some bars clubs and discotheques where the foreigners hang out or the places of the "hip" locals (Usually pretty girls and less than thrilling guys with some cash to spend).

Beer and drinks are expensive, depending on the city and type of place, 120 baht to 170 baht. Japanese style girly bars are also widely available but usually expensive.

Cost of living

Expensive, if you want to have a western standard of living. Good bread, cheese, sausages are difficult to get. You can not compare it to the situation you have in Thailand. Basic food like meat, fruits, vegetables, beer (in the supermarket) is cheap, comparable to Thailand.

Apartments with basic western standard 20,000 baht if you want something better 40,000 baht, Expat housing with 2-3 bedrooms $US 2000 – 3000.

Expat community

What I found is in the “smaller” cities it is more fun, since all foreigners seem to be in the same shit. Everybody sticks together you have local places to meet and its quite easy to get in contact. Whereas in the big places like Shanghai and Beijing people tend to ignore each other. This might be, because first of all there are already too many foreigners here, and a lot of these guys are now business high fliers, young manager style people who mostly are no fun to be with. But for sure, you will meet as well lots of nice and interesting people from all over the world.

Work

English Teaching: I am not in the teaching business, but met a few guys who do. Money wise it should be ok. Much better than Thailand, but living is also more expensive here.

For other jobs payment is usually good, however in the last years the hardship allowances have been reduced.

How to deal with the locals in the workplace is another story and would take many submissions to describe. In general let’s say the professionalism of people is usually very low. Most things are handled inefficiently and people lack the skill of logical and analytical thinking. Usually no one is able to create something new by themselves. Service is mostly poor because people often just don’t care about in which way or how they perform.

Lack of personal hygiene

The locals have the worst breath ever. This can make easy things quite difficult for example if you want to buy something and the sales guy smells out of his mouth like somebody shit inside and he took it in for a couple of weeks. (No fun really! It’s the worst I have ever encountered. Maybe there are places where it is even worse. If so I hope I will never be there.)

The biggest problem is that this issue is not limited to the male population but also for the girls. They look quite nice and tidy but if they open their mouth its like end of days. So bad breath had been a KO criteria for some potential girlfriends of mine. Until now I did not find a working solution for this. Mouthwash and toothbrush seem only to help a little. I do not know how to fight it. Any recommendation is welcome. (Antibiotics?)

Females (General)

Now we come to the (partly) bright side of this country. Lots of pretty girls here! It seems like they concentrate in the big cities, most likely it is easier to find a well off husband here.

Well educated girls, university students, are easily met around town, so the contact you will have here is quite different from the girls you tend to come in contact in Bangkok first. Of course gold diggers and money honeys are also here so please beware.

Spoken English is quite good for the college girls, much better than what I found from Thai girls on the same education level.

Females – Family

The Chinese usually have only one child. So at least you do not have to take care of sisters and brothers and the rest of the village. Their Buffalos also seem to be much healthier than their Thai counterparts. :)

The typical Chinese family saves a lot of their money, so usually the parents do not need to be supported. If you really marry there might be a good chance that you even get some money from them for house down payment.

Adaptation

Let’s have a look at the last two hundred years the Chinese always left their country and successfully set something up. (Look at all the Asian countries and the money and power behind is always controlled by ethnic Chinese.)

They proofed that they are able to adapt to other locations, and you will find Chinese everywhere in the world.

The weather in most areas here also sucks. So it should not be too difficult for your honey to get used to the climate in other countries.

Last not least, behavior of people can not get worse than what they are used to already from their own country.

Females – Working girls

Working girls you will also find almost everywhere, just go to the bar areas. But the lack of spoken English makes everything a little difficult.

For the locals there are lots of KTV places with girls available for everything. From what I heard most places are quite dirty and the girls also lack in personal hygiene, but you can also find high class places which are ok. (But expensive)

A lot is also going on in the Chinese hotels and barber shops.

Females – Girlfriends

Let’s look at the good sides here in China. There are lots of pretty (white skinned) girls here. But getting the real stunners might get a little difficult since they usually do not go through the hassle to learn English (What for? They can easily find a rich local or Hong Kong guy who will take care of her). And they know their market value and will behave like this. Better leave your fingers away from them. There are lots of nice and pretty girls with a reasonable education and real jobs available, who will be quite happy with a foreign boyfriend. This is also no wonder if you have a look at the local male counterparts, which are less than thrilling.

Girls also come in all sizes and colors, so for everyone there is something to find.

Females – Wife

I never married one (I still consider myself too young to do that) but I talk with people who did and other peoples experience with their girlfriends. I think the following: With the Thai girl most likely you will have a big problem if you take her out of the country, because they will not be happy due to the food, weather, people… (her only happiness will be, to make your live to hell). Everything will be different from being in this easygoing country with its friendly and happy people.

Most people told me that their Chinese wives have almost no problems adapting to other countries, they seem to be quite flexible in this way. They are quite good in picking up other foreign languages and are honest, trustworthy and sincere. Of course there are also problems like you will have in all relationships.

Another point is that you will have a white skinned ethnic Chinese wife. As such she will usually automatically be considered as high class in all Asian countries. Of course this benefit will not count in the western countries, as there they can not distinguish between different Asians.

Last: Don’t come here for holiday, it sucks. Better go to the Philippines, Vietnam or Thailand. We will meet there!

Hope the information provided here is useful !

Stickman says:

Very useful! So, Thailand for holidays and China for wife hunting?