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Trivia Shenzhen and China

Did you know that...

  • It's normal to slurp when you drink your tea or soup, also in the office?

  • Chinese girls and women run in the office stampeding on the floor (like hitting the floor with the feet flat, making as much noise as possible)? It's a bit hard to describe, but once you see a Chinese woman running, you know what I mean. I find this highly curious.

  • some Chinese pick really weird English nicknames for themselves. To be fair, if I had to pick a Chinese name for myself, perhaps I would also pick something weird, but still... Some examples? Boat, Icecream. Most pick a name that is more normal, for example from popular TV series or movies.

  • (air) pollution is a very serious problem in China. Here in Shenzhen we have bad visibility most of the days; the pollution in Shenzhen is already less bad than in some other cities.

  • police in China does not do much? I thought that in a country where the government plays such a big role, that the police would be respected. Instead policemen hang at bus stops, or stand besides the road. You can buy illegal DVDs next to them of overtake on the right and they will not even blink. Oh, I forgot to mention they are very corrupt

  • corruption is a big problem in China. It's normal that you pay some extra money for example to get your drivers license to some officer. If you don't pay, you are less likely to pass the exam. Or take the previous mayor of Shanghai...

  • illegal DVDs cost 5 yuan per piece. You can buy them everywhere, also in stores that sell legal music. Illegal sellers are sometimes a bit nervous when they know police is checking, at other times they stand next to the police.

  • government works so inefficient because they are not judged by their performance. In fact, unless you make a really big mess of it, you are guaranteed a reasonable salary and you don't need to do much when you work for the government.

  • many Chinese do read and write English, but listening and speaking is often underdeveloped. Learning English is often given a high priority though and English teachers (white male preferably) are always in demand.

  • you can negotiate prices in many small stores (electronics, clothes etc). Not in big department stores or supermarkets though.

  • traffic in China is crazy. People overtake left and right, press the horn very often. Don't be surprised when somebody on a bike, without light of course, will drive towards you on the wrong side of the road when it is dark.

  • young people who want to get married traditionally first have to buy a house.

  • when we are watching news on Hong Kong channel, we often suddenly get a commercial. The news from HK is broadcasted with a small delay. This allows the news to be censored when there is some sensitive news. They do this by quickly switching to some general purpose commercials.

  • websites are still being blocked by the Great Firewall of China, but nobody seems to care about it in China. For example the BBC news and Google news are always inaccessible. Also Flickr, Facebook and blogspot are blocked

  • Health care is very commercial in China? You can see advertisements for hospitals and clinics at bus stops, on buses, on tv, in newspapers: everywhere in fact. You can also just go to a hospital to see any specialist you like, as long as you pay beforehand.

  • fake money is everywhere and everyone needs to check if they get real money. Especially bills of 50 and 100 Yuan need to be checked. This can be done by checking the watermark, rubbing Mao's jacket with your fingernail and checking if there is relief, if the color of '50' or '100' changes when you tilt the bill.

  • Mandarin sounds really totally different than Cantonese. After some time in China I can easily hear the difference. I can understand some Mandarin, but no Cantonese at all. Sounds so weird! It's also easy to recognize people from North China: they speak with -rrr at the ends of words.

  • chicken feet contain many little bones. I didn't know, but many people in China like to eat chicken legs, be it steamed or fried, and then spit out all the small bones.

  • people from North China are much taller on average than the people in South China. It's a big difference to walk on the streets of Beijing or Shenzhen!

  • the Chinese stock-market is like a big casino? Gambling is in China officially not allowed, so people have three options: go to Macau, play Mahjong or invest in the stock market. All three options are definitely fully used!

  • All pregnant Chinese women wear special 'pregnant woman overcoat/dress' over their normal clothes. I didn't see this in the Netherlands. Supposedly those closed are anti-radiation (to protect the unborn baby against laptops, phones etc). They are quite expensive, but almost every Chinese women wears them.

  • Motorbikes are not allowed within the city of Shenzhen. This is to fight crime, because criminals often used fast bikes to steal handbags and mobile phones.

  • In Tencent we have a rule that you cannot marry anyone who works at Tencent. One of the workers has to leave Tencent then! Update end 2009: this rule has thankfully been changed significantly and I'm now married :)

  • Chinese hospitals are not allowed to tell expecting Chinese parents what the sex of their new baby will be. This is to prevent the abortion of female babies. Still many people prefer boys, but most will not go as far as an abortion.

  • You have 0 privacy in hospitals and everyone is used to it. Everyone stands in a queue before the doctor, door stays open and impatient patients will try to sneek to the front of the queue and interrupt the doctor to ask about their problems. Otherwise the rest of the queue just listens to you. Test-results are often deposited in a common place and you just find your (or someone else's) results in the pile

  • Everyone can have only one Chinese child, foreigners included. If you do not apply for a hukou, but let the baby have a foreign nationality (Hong Kong, Dutch etc), then there are of course no limits as the government cannot do anything about it

  • Many Chinese couples have their baby in Hong Kong. The baby then automatically gets Hong Kong citizenship and you are not limited to the one-child policy. Cost: about 100.000 Yuan (10.000 euro), which is no problem for the new elite.

  • Chinese couples need to get married before having a baby, because otherwise getting approval to deliver the baby is very complicated

  • Many Chinese girls see marriage still as a way out of poverty/improving their living standards. It partially explains why you often see cute young women with older ugly guys.

  • Shenzhen summer temperatures are around 31C and most of the days it's sunny. The humidity is what makes it feel much worse with daily ranges around 80-90%

  .... more to come!
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Visha  - Proper manners   | |2008-12-15 04:00:28
If you have proper manners, you may not sit down and relax, while you are putting your feet on the table. Because chinese people use it as a table to use for bidding. (for budha, a chinese god very famous)
Salamander  - additional info     | |2010-03-23 20:27:49
Corruption is world-wide-spread, it was not necessary to mention it. It is the same all over the world.
As for illegal DVDs, same, you can buy them everywhere, also in stores that sell legal music.
labatterie     | |2010-05-03 12:15:04
It is the same all over the labatterie world.
TonBakker  - Marry     | |2011-03-30 00:09:30
Hi, Thijs, do you know if an in China living Dutchty together with a Russian girlfriend, can marry at the Dutch Embassy/Consulate.
I cannot find the answer at HollandInChina, nor can MinBuZa/DCZ give an answer....
malau  - Mixed couples and babies   | |2012-03-03 18:04:24
Just to say that foreigners and Chinese couples can have as many babies as they want - without paying the fine. If any official told you otherwise then they are after a cash backhander and trying to cheat you.
Thijs  - disagree     | |2012-03-04 15:57:08
I disagree: the Chinese government only looks to your Chinese wife to determine if she can get permission to deliver a baby. If the previously already got permission (for the first child) then they will not give permission for the 2nd time. Therefore you will miss all sorts of paperwork. That wouldn't matter so much perhaps, until you need a MBC and need to leave the country with an exit&entry permit.

So I do believe that - only via your Chinese spouse - they can control it and even fine your spouse.

3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 June 2010 )
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