Traveler and kung fu teacher Maria Pipenko has made an effort to take down all those bad clichés that come to thought when we think about China.
Here are ten of those China stereotypes that she’s kicking down!
The Chinese don’t have proper manners, but that’s only our point of view on behavior. A well-behaved Chinese person has a whole set of manners that Western people usually lack. Blowing your nose into a tissue or letting your friend pay for a meal are both very rude, but a friendly Chinese person won’t ever discuss this so as not to embarrass you. They always think about others over themselves.
All Chinese are small. Their shortness was related to their diet, but in the last 20 years their well-being raised, and they’ve grown.
Chinese products are poor quality. Of course, lots of cheap Chinese goods are crap, but if you look at labels on almost any popular brands, you’ll see the same Made in China imprinted on them. The quality is determined by the ordering party, not the manufacturer.
China is a cheap country. There’s a huge value gap between large cities and the provinces: you can rent a large apartment for $200 in central China, but you’ll have difficulty seeing even a small one for $500 in Shanghai. The only thing actually cheaper here than in the West is going out to eat.
The evil Chinese eat cats and dogs. I won’t argue with anyone about why eating cows or pigs is recognized as better. I’ll just quote one of my Chinese classmates: “How could you eat a dog? They’re our friends!” Yes, they seldom eat dogs in China, but the number of people doing that is remarkably small.
The Chinese only eat rice. Guys, Chinese food is one of the most diverse in the world — even the sheer variety of vegetables is much higher here, let alone the ways of cooking or the variety of spices. Chinese cuisine is an infinite list of options depending on the season and area.
Harsh punishments for drug crimes. Most foreigners are insulted by that, and, unlike other points on my list, this is the fact: China is firm with drugs, the punishments extending from long imprisonment to the death sentence. However, it’s not a negativity, but a necessity. At the turn of the 20th century, about one-third of China’s populace were opium addicts, so it’s no surprise that the Chinese government do everything to stop this from occurring again.
One family — one child. I hadn’t even asked my friends if they had siblings before I found out they really did, and not just one. The one-child rule is for large cities. In the provinces, parents just pay the fine when they register their second (or third) child or even keep them unregistered — which doesn’t really hurt them. Also, starting January 1, 2016, the Chinese are allowed to have two kids.
All these Chinese people look the same. No, they don’t! Malaysian and Singapore Chinese are different, as are northern and southern continental Chinese. It’s all about getting used to what’s around you — you’ll eventually notice their diversity.
All Chinese are kung-fu masters. Right, and all Americans love burgers. Kung Fu certainly is part and parcel of Chinese culture: no movie or TV show is shot without including kung fu battles. The number of adepts here is much higher than in the West, but most of them remain on a low level — let’s say, in the same line with amateur basketball.