Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stop Being So Damn Negative

I believe that after reading some of my ravings essays here one might think that I have a kind of negative attitude about China. Appearances may be a bit deceiving.  China is where I live, and what I write about in this blog, so you sometimes see some unkind words regarding my adopted home.  However, I think that if I was to write about other places where human beings are, you would find that my tone might be equally, if not more caustic.
So in an effort to be more positive, I have some good things to say about China, and my town:

  1. It is a great place to shop for groceries.  I am able to get very fresh and exotic produce, sea food, eggs, tofu, fresh noodles, dim sum, spices, nuts, dried fruits, and wealth of other things at open markets and from small local purveyors.  It's commerce at its most basic, and full of wonderful human interactions as well.
  2. Chinese food is incredible.
  3. Dumplings!
  4. Unlike the US, the government has admitted that corruption is rampant, and they are actively prosecuting officials.
  5. Cell phone service is far superior to the US.  You are not tied to a parasitical contract.  There is no minimal fee you pay each month.  You buy a phone, and pay ahead for the time you use. Phones can be anything from cheap Chinese phones to iPhones. There are bootlegs, 10 year old new Nokias, and good Chinese brands.  You can buy the latest models of anything.  Walk three blocks and you can find a large shopping area that is nothing but small shops with glass cases chock full of devices ranging from $10 to $600.                                                                   You can pay for your service at a mobile service company, at ATM type devices, or any number of small holes in the wall where you hand the person your money and the phone number, they call a number on their beat up phone, type in your number and their secret code and voila, you have 100 RMB credit to your account.  I do a lot of text messaging, and I spend roughly about $10 a month for my service.                                             Cellular coverage is also excellent here.  There are no dead spots, and you don't get bent over and gang raped any time you try to call from outside your coverage area.   
  6. If you are smoker, it is an awesome place to live.  Cigarettes are dirt cheap and you can get away with smoking almost anywhere.    
  7. You are a lot less likely to be injured, or die as a result of violence here than you are in Pakistan, Syria or the US.  In fact it's pretty darn safe.  Guns are illegal, and people are far less prone to settling disputes by trying to kill each other. I can go anywhere in this city (in the daytime) and be completely safe from harm.  (Except from traffic.)  That is not the case in Los Angeles, or even Portland, and you stand a much greater chance in the US of getting shot than you do here.
  8. They have fewer people in jail and prison than the US even though they are a totalitarian state.
  9. The government wants everyone working, and is constantly acting to create and encourage job growth.    
  10. Beer is cheap.
  11. They have a very cool high speed train system.
  12. They have e-bikes.
  13. They value education.
  14. Life here is far better now than it ever has been for the average person.
  15. The money is pretty.  The largest denomination is pink and worth $16.  If you have the equivalent of $500 in your pocket, it's a big wad o' cash.
  16. It's not the best place in the world to be a woman, but it's better than most places in Asia.
  17. There are no Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, TV evangelists, creationists, Republicans or Democrats.
  18. But they do have some very entertaining superstitions.
  19. You can spit any time you want.
  20. If you want to be frugal, you can keep your cost of living very low.  On the other hand, if you want to live high on the hog and spend lavishly on nice things, you can do that too.
  21. Public transportation is cheap, and goes most places.  You can get a cheap bus to virtually any place in the country.
  22. It's the bootleg capital of the world.
  23. Nobody here knows who Kim Kardashian is.

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