It’s All True

I wrote this a few days ago but I made it sticky to faciliate the flame war make it easier for folks coming over from Sinosplice.

One thing that about learning Chinese that makes me crazy is that there seems to be no definitive correct answer. The pronunciation that one cabbie tells me is almost as good as Da Shan’s, leaves another staring and repeating ting bu dong. Some of it’s caused by regional dialects; a town only an hour away might speak the Mandarin equivalent of cockney rhyming slang. (Ok, I’m exaggerating. Surely that’s Shanghainese!) Even common words like thank you are used differently by different people, all of whom insist that they’re saying it at the right times and everyone else is needlessly formal or rurally rude. And of course, xiaojie either means waitress or hooker, depending on who you ask.

The language contradictions are just a warm-up for all the contradictions in China. China has 5,000 years of culture and etiquette. Chinese people spit bones out on the tablecloth.

China is so safe, a girl could walk alone at night without worrying she’d be attacked or robbed. China is so dangerous, she might fall into a gaping hole in the middle of the sidewalk, left but the constant construction.

Chinese people are the hardest-working people I’ve ever seen. People like Juice Aunt and her husband are outside with their cart, all day, every day, no matter what the weather is. But Chinese people are the laziest people I’ve ever seen. I’ve gone into restaurants and seen the staff asleep on the dining tables.

More and more people in China speak English. If you consider HULLOR! and You buy? English.

I wonder if Middle Kingdom actually means Average of Two Extremes Kingdom.

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0 Responses to It’s All True

  1. Stephen says:

    Hahaha, that’s too funny -I think maybe.
    I couldn’t have thought of a better way to express it myself, even if I had spent countless hours thinking of a way to sum up the Middle Kingdom.

  2. says:

    You got some love from Sinosplice. China is “mysterious” because of the contradictions. Though it may be more obvious in China, the contradictory juxtaposed culture is not as unique as you may think. They just have 1.7 billion people to prove it whereas other countries/cultures have millions.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If u r not gonna appreciate it, then i see no reason for u 2 stay here any more. I guess the reason why ur still here is that u cannot make ur own living back to ur country whatever it is. So shut up ur mouth if here is the only place 4 u to survive. Honestly in China it would be much better without those who stink like u.

  4. Chetley says:

    I wonder if anonymous’ Chinese is as bad as his/her netese?

  5. ??? says:

    Oh, probably (??). If you’re not appreciating the country you happen to be in with a nitrous oxide smile 24 hours a day, you’re a bloodsucking leech who should be deported at the next opportunity, foreign scum.

    Anyway, great post. Wish it was longer, though, I got a nice laugh from it.

  6. Prince Roy says:

    if cabbies tells you your pronunciation is as good as Dashan, it generally is a bad sign.

    you’ll know you’ve arrived when they don’t mention your Chinese ability at all, but just converse with you like a normal human being.

  7. rational expat says:

    Shut up Anon and go back to shouting HELLO in the streets.

  8. Longtime Violet Reader says:

    Yeah, Meg, go home! We don’t need to read anymore clever and insightful posts!

  9. Katie Rabbit says:

    The comments on this post are too funny. People are genuinely pissed off at your obvious pokes at your experiences in China? HA! HE! And a double HE HE! I am amused.

  10. Meg says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. Now I realize that China will be better off without me. I’ll go home right away. I only wish you’d left me your name so I’d know who opened my eyes.


  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m Chinese too, and I’m pretty ashamed at my fellow Chinese (if they are indeed Chinese) for their stupid comments.

    Yes, it’s a land of contradictions. Which is what I think makes living in China fun.

  12. Anonymous says:

    also, I think you’re probably one of the condescending of the bloggers including Sinosplice. They’ve got a perpetual disdain to their comments. I’m not sure if they’re just trying to be witty and it comes out that way. But your posts never showed that ethnocentricity. You simply observe and remark on the facts, without that pompous so and so civilization is better vibe. I guess you don’t get on a soapbox and start judging people, which is really annoying if you’ve not even lived in the country for at least ten years.

  13. Ragel says:

    @ Anon Why would you say “here is the only place 4 u to survive”? Are you implying that China might have lower standards than America?

    @ Wilson My thoughts exactly.

  14. MantisBot says:


    Meg’s famous, she has a troll!


    She likes China, she’s simply pointing out one of the things she found difficult to deal with. I’m sure if you came to America you’d have some things to complain about too, like fake Chinese food and that damn silly Rabbit… Trix are for KIDS!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Your right. Meg’s blog is worth reading mostly because she isn’t trying to be a expert on everything Asian, just a visitor in China.

  16. Lonnie says:

    Like Da Shan….Scary….
    Nice post professor…

  17. Valehru says:

    “China is so safe, a girl could walk alone at night without worrying she’d be attacked or robbed. China is so dangerous, she might fall into a gaping hole in the middle of the sidewalk, left but the constant construction.”

    It’s funny cause its true. I almost choked on my dumpling when I read that, the doctor’s bill is in the post. But China’s post is so good that you know you will get it delivered to your house. China’s post is so bad that you might need to sign 10 forms and produce 8 different types of ID to accept it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Another contradiction is surely that China is a nation obsessed with making money, but if you leave a 20 kuai note to cover a 19 kuai restaurant bill, the owner might sprint halfway down the street to give you your change.

  19. Meg says:

    Valehru, Anon, you’re both so right!

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