Will the real China please stand up?

Well after having been inundated with emails from colleagues enquiring about China and teaching in China I thought I would take a break from my customary “diary” blog mode to answer here and also give my very limited view of things over here. Firstly many people were confused by the “traditional” view of China they have in their mind’s eye and the account I have been giving. Well let’s say it’s a bit like the Chinese student’s typical view of the UK- you know the thing pin-striped men in bowler hats sipping tea and discussing the Queen and the weather. OF course there are some people like that,but the modern UK is nothing like that.The same goes for China. You can find peasants bowed over in the fields with Chinese conical hats planting rice. But you also find people driving Buicks around Hangzou and chatting on their iphones. One of my students told me her friend chucked her boyfriend as he refused to buy her an Iphone. People here are VERY materialistic on the whole. There are public universities like ours,but there are also private universitiies for spoilt rich kids who failed the exams and are trying to get into quality programs abroad, and will get there. There are 22nd century skyscrapers,and behind them back alleys with people making dumplings off the back of a rickshaw. There are very ornamented temples such as the ones we saw in Hangzhou and there are little hovels looking like something out of Dickens.There are traditional restaurants serving all sorts of Chinese foods (not fortune cookies those aren’t real,and not just chow mein whatever that is!) but there are also McDonalds,KFC and Pizza Hut everywhere in every city even ours.In fact the opening of the new mall here complete with Pizza Hut and Walmart was a major event here.And we are only a city of 500,000. So what is the real China? Is Xiamen the real China or is Shanghai? Of course it all is!That’s what makes living here such a blast. You can have it all-Shanghai with rock and jazz clubs and little traditional villages that have not changed in centuries. More to come….

the Future generation of China

Lin'an and the river

 

 

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