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Blogs & Columns
Disaster Handshakes E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Bro Fan
No. 1: The wet fish: Reticent, unsure and often damp. An apparent favourite of the Chinese official, it appears to couple particularly well with flushed cheeks and inane smirk. Eye contact is optional and far from encouraged, and all round execution, timing and apparent sincerity is found to be sorely lacking.  Although lasting no longer than a few seconds, the wet fish handshake can seem endless, and often leaves the handshakee with a definite sense of repulsion.

It appears that many Chinese girls often believe they can get away with this social faux pas of a greeting, hiding behind a bashful grin and trembling bottom lip. This, clearly, is a mistake. No. 2: The On On Ariston: Enthusiastic, keen yet potentially a little too geeky. The greeting is sincere and friendly, but is just overcooked: you meet, look each other in the eye, grasp and squeeze, firm and commendable. But then it happens - your greeting has come to an end, your pleasantries are all but exhausted, and you make to back off and continue with your life.

Fake Fakeness E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Ian Clark
In this day and age we've grown accustomed to fakeness: Hollywood, computer games, television ads, makeup on females, joke news, soy meat, plastic everything....But now that the Chinese control more and more of visible world, we've uncovered something something bizarre: fake fakeness, lies about lies, nonsense made of nonsense.

For example, what is a "pirated disk"? It's a collection of Hollywood visual lies which are copied by lying Chinese. Hollywood complains about it, saying, "They're selling copies of our movies" - but listeners' curiosity must be piqued - are Hollywood movies themselves not disingenuous copies of life? In the same way, one can observe in today's China the unsuccessful imitation of Americans, who are themselves unsuccessful imitations of Europeans. For example, a "pizza" in America is an insult of the Italian original, which gets further insulted in China. Here, the pathetic pizza has to sit on the table without pizza sauce, without olive oil, and with stupid pineapple pieces spread on its head.

Paranoia E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Mary Higgins
It is natural to develop random idiosyncrasies and quirks when you live in one place for too long. This is especially true after an extended tour of duty in China. Quick and obvious examples are jaywalking or “nudging” people out of your way in a crowded area. There is nothing wrong with picking up a few habits (be they good or bad) as they are very much a part of the experience.

However, there is one unfortunate act that horrifies me when I find myself doing it back in my home country: handing over money to a cashier in a store. It isn’t the act of physically offering money which is a problem rather I have forgotten how the world works and, like someone learning to walk again after recovering from a terrible accident, I need to re-learn how to live with other people. Allow me to explain:

Understanding Chinese Women E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Gregory Mavrides, PhD
Most foreign men, prior to visiting China—particularly ones who have never dated an Asian girl before—hold a stereotype of Chinese women that portrays them as these soft, demure, reserved, shy, alluring, and near ethereal-like "creatures." What Western men encounter instead is often something much closer to the polar opposite.

Although it is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to generalize about women from any specific country or culture, there is a great deal of strong anecdotal evidence, as well as data from a few empirical research studies, to suggest that many Chinese women do share certain culturally-influenced and induced characteristics. This unit will attempt to describe and explain the various factors at play that influence the psychosocial development of women in China today and how these express themselves in relationships with men.
Get Well Soon E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Barrie Noland
Antibiotics and painkillers are widely available "over the counter" in pharmacies throughout China, and pills are likely to be much cheaper than an IV. The second reason is that there is a belief among Chinese medical staff that drugs administered directly into the bloodstream work faster than drugs that must be processed through that time consuming middleman, the human stomach. My headmaster cannot translate my diagnosis. "You have a bad cold!" she says.

I have a fever of 101.4 F and a general ill will towards all humans. I stand in a room with six other people to receive my shot in the rump. In a country where public baths are a fact of life, there is little privacy. I tell my headmaster: "I want her to wear gloves. Gloves." I mime.

The fine print E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Mary Higgins
I have always found that business in China is conducted extremely honestly. What’s that, you say?  Impossible?  You are quite wrong, my friend. It is you that has been defeated time and time again by honest merchants that have pegged you as a sucker willing to subject yourself to their whims. You were not beaten by them insofar as you were beaten by the fine print. In China, the fine print is king. It rules over all and it rarely loses.

Here’s a pretty straightforward example. I have a nice big computer chair at my place. It is where I spend an extraordinary amount of time hiding and shielding myself from the outside world. My lease is up next month and I recently signed an extension. During the negotiations, I mentioned that the computer chair is broken and that a new one would be required. “Not a problem,’ replied my landlord. “I’ll be back later tonight with a new chair.”  Hazzah!  He was no match for my abilities. He caved. He’s pathetic.

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