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Blogs & Columns
14
Sep
2013
The Elderly Boom E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Local Ren
For nearly three decades, Mao Zedong encouraged population growth, seeing it as an asset to development. In the late 1970s, amid a runaway population boom, Mao left one extreme for the other and slapped on a one-child policy to limit the offspring of couples. Since then, the policy has halted an estimated 300 million births, leaving China's population at 1.3 billion today.

A possible effect of the "one child" policy, however, is the hastened arrival of China's silver tide. The consequences of the policy had not all been fully recognized when it was put into effect, but note that overpopulation is a far more problematic situation than an "aged" society. The early arrival of an aged society is an inevitable price for solving the great pressure of overpopulation. If we hadn't carried out the policy, the uncontrolled increase in population would be too large of a burden to shoulder.

 
11
Sep
2013
Tedious Taxi Trouble E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Bro Fan
Cab driver got the full whack of my jetlagged frustration as I arrived into the capital this morning. A female cab driver, I might add - always a novelty over here, but in my epic experience, on balance they do tend to be the ones that rip you off even more blatantly than their male counterparts. And this specimen certainly did herself proud.

If you’ve ever arrived at Beijing airport, you’ll know the score - before you’ve even got your baggage there’s already some geezer puffing on a fag collaring you for a cab. “Taxi SIR!!?” - I scowl - “Maybe later” he concedes, moving onto the next whitey and his fabled bulging wallet. Once in the arrival halls, the floodgates are unleashed as all manner of brown-coated shifty-looking males attempt to lure you into their respective rattling vehicles.

 
11
Sep
2013
Time for some introspection E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Bro Fan
Sure - you may have harboured fantastic illusions of 6am tai chi sessions followed by fresh fruit breakfasts direct from the countryside before hopping on your bike to work/school/the commune. A low-fat diet, heaps of reading, bit of dabbling with the lingo - you’re not even three months in and you feel 21 again, cholesterol and stress levels back down to zero, right?

Ha. It all goes sour when you realise just how early 6am is. Especially just to go and wave a cardboard fan around with the old dears in a car park, at the mercy of the freezing morning wind. Then, your ideal breakfast is reduced to your inhaling of a few baozi as you run to work, late - and hungover, since last night you discovered tequila’s sick cousin, Baijiu. You don’t even smoke, but within 6 months, Beijing’s air will allow you too to sample the lungs of an 80-year old asthmatic first hand, plus the skin complexion to match.

 
09
Sep
2013
Hot and Noisy E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Mary Higgins
One of the things about living in China is that you just can’t get any damn time to yourself. Wherever you go, no matter how far, there will ALWAYS be someone else there. If you climb the most distant part of the Great Wall, a little old lady will follow you all the way up trying to sell you cruddy postcards.

If you climb some far off sacred mountain, there will be someone at the peak trying to flog you a picture book, a bottle of fake water or some instant noodles. On the other hand, Chinese people seem to be cool with this. They find comfort in groups: Chinese people like “热闹″ (”re’nao” - literally, “hot and noisy”) - crowds of people, lots of noise and colour. This is fun.

 
09
Sep
2013
There’s more space at the back of the bus! E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Mary Higgins
When the summer heat becomes unbearable, I leave my bicycle in the parking garage and I head to the good 'ol bus stop. I don't mind the bus, it's relatively quick and more importantly, air conditioned but it does have the effect of driving my “rage-o-meter” through the roof. If you ever see a bus drive by in Shanghai, then you are sure to notice that there is an enormous depression right in the center of the bus. This depression is a result of every passenger without a seat refusing to move any further away than their arms gripping the doors will let them. It doesn't matter if they are getting off in 17 stops. For some reason they absolutely must be within arms reach of the door at all times. This is most noticeable when you need to get by someone to get off, the people in front of you will usually do no more than slightly arch their backs or barely twist their shoulders.

 
08
Sep
2013
What’s China like? Which one? E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by David A. Dayton
I’m always amazed at the question: “So what’s it like in China?”  It’s like asking: “So what’s it like in the US?”  Would that be LA or Chicago or Miami or Podunk Utah where I grew up?  The question is usually phrased something like this:  “I saw this documentary about China…is it really like that?”  Or “My friend went there once and said it was ________.  Is that true?” 

My parents came over to visit in ’07 and they were honestly relieved that I didn’t live in a quanza hut.  I live in SZ—12 million people, most money and education in China, no buildings over 30 years old, more BMW’s and Benz’s than bikes. Not to be outdone, I got some great questions from the Chinese during this latest trip home for Chinese New Year: “Do you know Joe?  He’s from New York.  He taught me English.”  Or my new favorite: “Really?!  Black people are Americans too?!”  And, of course: “What’s the weather like in the US?”

 
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