Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Chinese Travel By Taxi Without Your Chinese Girlfriend

As the saying goes, it’s also about the journey, not just the destination.  When traveling around in China in a taxi without your Chinese girlfriend (actually, even when she’s with you), the journey, indeed, can end up being the most interesting part of your day, or your entire trip!

If you’re in Beijing, Shanghai, or any other highly westernized city in China, modern taxis are everywhere.  Just like most other densely populated urban areas, of course, getting a cab can be quite a challenge, especially in certain areas and during certain hours. 

Perhaps the most important thing you have to remember when traveling locally without your Chinese girlfriend is to have the name of your destination/s written on a piece of paper in Chinese characters to avoid any confusion when you let the driver know where you want to go.  If the driver still seems unsure where the place is even after you show him the written address, you’d be better off waiting for another taxi whose driver is more knowledgeable about the place and the route to get there.

Especially in China’s first-tier cities, it is now rare for foreign passengers to get taken on long rides by cheating, but legit, taxi drivers.  If you’re already familiar with how much the fare usually is to go to and from certain places, even if you’re still not very familiar with the route, and the meter of the taxi you’re in exceeds this amount, you can point it out to the driver to let him know you’re not as clueless as he thought you were.  Usually, the driver would agree to just charge you the regular price.   

Many big city taxi drivers are very pleasant and can communicate in English pretty well; but there are also many others who are less “professional” and have a habit of eating foods with strong, and often unpleasant, smells, and/or coughing up big globs of sticky spit. 

Always get and keep the taxi receipts.  In case you forget something in the cab, having the receipt will make it easier for you to track down the cab company and the specific taxi, and, hopefully, get your belongings back.  If you have a complaint against a driver, the receipt will also help in locating and identifying him, if you’re unable to take down his taxi ID number and hotline which should be displayed on the passenger seat dashboard. 

If you’re in a small Chinese town or village, taxis are more loosely used to describe any short-distance form of public transport.  The taxi may be a motorbike or a three-wheeled vehicle.  Indeed, in certain cities and towns where alleyways are often used as alternate routes, taxi-motorbikes are common.  A helmet may or may not be provided.  You should not be surprised when your taxi takes on additional passengers, transfers you to another vehicle in the middle of your trip, or takes off-road alternate routes. 

Unless you’re in areas where modern taxis are numerous, most unconventional cab rides are not metered.  In certain places, the fares are fixed regardless of the destination or for certain minimum and maximum distances; in other places, you will have to negotiate the price with the driver.  If it’s the latter, always ask for the price upfront, even before you get on/into the taxi.  If the cost of the trip seems to high, ask for a lower price or simply take a different taxi. 

It would be best if your Chinese girlfriend can accompany you when you want to go around the city or town and have to ride taxis.  But if you’ll be on your own, make sure you have the name and address of the place where you’re staying at written in Chinese characters on a piece of paper safely tucked inside your wallet at all times.  Of course, enjoy the ride!   

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Surviving Cultural Clashes In China Until You Find Your Chinese Wife

You must feel a certain degree of admiration and respect, perhaps even love, for China if you’re planning on finding a Chinese wife and relocating to the Middle Kingdom.  From your Chinese online dating experiences, you must already be aware of the cultural clashes that can sometimes be exciting or amusing, and at other times simply confusing or annoying.  You can survive these by knowing and preparing yourself for the typically Chinese behaviors that you can expect when you get there.

 When greeting or meeting somebody for the first time, for example, shaking hands is not the typical form of Chinese greeting.  In business/professional settings, shaking hands has been adopted by many Chinese, but it’s still only a very cursory gesture.  While considered a formal form of address, Chinese handshakes are seldom firm. 

In most other settings, particularly the casual ones, you might only get a quick glance of acknowledgement, maybe even a small wave; the Chinese don’t like making direct eye contact, so don’t feel offended when they won’t look at you.  When being handed a business card, accept it using just the fingertips of both hands; if the person is standing, you should also stand.  Give the card a thorough look before putting it in your wallet.

Whether they’re acquaintances or friends, the Chinese have the habit of asking questions and making remarks that are often considered too personal by westerners.  Again, don’t be offended if somebody asks you what you do for a living and how much your salary is; if a neighbor asks about your marital status and gives you unsolicited relationship/marriage advice; if a co-worker asks about the car and house you own back in your home country and how much they cost; or if the old lady at the market says you should watch what you eat and exercise more because you’re getting fat.

Depending on what area of China you’re going, you should also expect a certain degree of “celebrity status.”  In less developed areas, the locals will stare and point at you, whisper amongst themselves, wave to you and shout “Hello,” and/or ask to have a picture taken with you.  Always remember to be patient and polite. 

One thing you might find harder to adjust to is the constant invasion of your personal space.  You will often find people standing so close to you that their arm brushes against yours or you feel their hot breath on your nape; when somebody’s talking to you, they might lean or stand too close to make you uncomfortable.  Just remember that given China’s dense population, especially in the urban areas, having personal space is, more often than not, simply impossible; additionally the concept is completely foreign to the Chinese.

What you may find even more annoying than the invasion of your personal space is the Chinese’ habit of line-cutting or not falling in line at all.  You will just have to learn to cut lines, as well, and to develop a strategy that will minimize the instances of people cutting in front of you. 

Whether you’re walking, waiting for the train or a cab, standing in line, or simply enjoying the sights, you will most likely hear and see a local coughing up and spitting out a glob of spit.  Maybe you’ll get used to it, or maybe it will never make you stop cringing.  In any case, just always watch where you step. 

Whatever opinions you may form based on these behaviors, don’t forget that you are still only a guest in their country.  You may not approve of some or all of these behaviors, but you should not act rudely or as if you’re better than them.  Keeping your mind open does not mean that you always have to do as the Chinese do.  There are so many more things about China that deserve your appreciation, not the least of which are the lovely Chinese ladies.  

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Chinese Toilet Adventures While Chinese Dating

Perhaps one thing that never occurred to you when you decided to travel to China to take that next, big step in your quest to find the Chinese love of your life through Chinese online dating is how nature’s calls will make your real-life Chinese dating experience a more… memorable one.  For obvious reasons, your toilet options were the last thing on your mind when you booked that flight to China. 

Pretty soon, however, you will realize that this trip comes with a surprise toilet adventure package!  Indeed, this is a standard and take-it-or-leave it “(non-)option” for the average traveler/visitor to the Middle Kingdom.  If you’re reading this article before that long-awaited flight to meet your special Chinese lady for the first time, then you can still adequately prepare yourself for this bonus Chinese travel adventure. 

Packs of Kleenex are always an essential for any traveler, and they are an absolute must when traveling to China where toilet paper seems to be either a scarce commodity or an unnecessary amenity so far as public toilets are concerned, that is unless you’re staying and traveling in an area where first-world comforts are not in short supply.  Even there though, many public toilets do not include toilet paper for the simple reason that if they did, the first person to use the facility would likely steal it.

Again, being an average traveler, you will most likely find yourself in average circumstances and your packs of Kleenex will help you avoid more than a few what-happens-in-China-stays-in-China kind of mortifying moments. 

This doesn’t mean you need to bring a suitcase full of tissue packs with you, just enough to get through the first day or two. You can buy these tissue packs quite readily in China at supermarkets and confectioneries for considerably less than you might pay back home.

Your average means combined with your carefree manner may mean that you won’t be very picky with the foods and the places where you’ll be eating.  No matter how undiscriminating and adventurous your palate is, your intestinal constitution may not be as tolerant.  For those times when your stomach may grumble and cramp in disagreement with your choice of food, and there are no decent public restrooms nearby, having some diarrhea medicine in your bag will be a lifesaver!

While counting the days until you and your Chinese girlfriend get to spend real time together, strengthen those thigh muscles by doing squatting exercises.  Having strong thighs will be very beneficial in many other ways, for sure, but since we’re on the topic of Chinese toilets, practicing your squats will actually serve you very well when you encounter holes in the ground instead of the sitting toilets you’re used to. 

Squatting toilets are still the norm in China, and even in the big cities public facilities that include a sitter are few and far between.  On the one hand, you can take comfort in the thought that your bare bum won’t be touching the toilet surface which will, no doubt, be spattered with… well, just use your imagination.  On the other hand, you will soon discover that leg cramps will only make aiming even more difficult than it will already prove to be, and the fact that you’re hovering will not spare your skin from your own spatter!

With those very unpleasant thoughts now in your head, you might as well make a mental note to also bring a lot of wet/antimicrobial wipes!

In addition to the scarcity of toilet paper, many public toilets in China also don’t have running water.  If the sign on the wall shows the usual silhouette of a man sitting/squatting, it will be safe to assume that the plumbing works and you can take care of your crap, pun intended.  Otherwise, and especially if the sign is just in Chinese or if it actually says “No Shitting,” then take your crap some place else. 

If you happen to visit a public restroom that’s already packed, don’t stand around figuring out where the end of the line is.  There’s no line.  What you’ll have to figure out is how to make your way to the front, because that’s what every other man in there will be doing. 

When you finally manage to cut in front everybody else and to place yourself directly outside a stall door, or behind another man already using the urinal, defend your spot with your elbows and your feet apart because somebody will always try to take it from you!                   

With these tips, you will, hopefully, be able to survive your Chinese toilet adventures without any embarrassing incidents and you’ll be coming home with only happy memories shared with your special Chinese lady.  Of course, it will be best if you can reduce the likelihood of needing to use a public restroom with proper timing and a well-thought-out strategy!

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Understanding and Enduring Your Chinese Love's Show of Concern

"How old are you?", "Are you married?", "What is your job?", "How much is your salary?", "How much do you weigh?", "Where do you live?", "Do you own a house/apartment?", "How much is your rent?" are all questions you’re likely to face when dating Chinese women. The lines between what's personal and what's not are very blurry in China. Chances are pretty high that you're going to be confronted by this blurriness frequently when you're meeting Chinese woman after Chinese woman in search of your Chinese love.

But don't be too fast to think that these women are just being nosy and/or rude. Most of the time, these questions underlie sincere concern and interest. Guan xin talk is the Chinese way of showing this.

Co-authors of the book, Communicating Effectively with the Chinese, GeGao and Stella Ting-Toomey define this practice as follows:

"guānxīn” or "to show concern" talk is a communicative genre that occupies a prominent position in Chinese relational communication. Guānxīn entails asking questions about a person's well-being and other personal matters... "To show concern" also evokes the use of cautionary remarks, such as, "You should not drink too much because it is not good for your health" or "You should put on some warm clothes because it is cold outside"... “Quànjiě” or “to caution and to advise" is widely employed to show concern for others in Chinese culture...".

A Chinese person's concern, indeed, is always accompanied by some well-intentioned, albeit unsolicited and sometimes seemingly crude, advice, caution, or criticism.

When they ask you about your age and marital status, it is often followed by something like, "You should find a good wife to take care of you. I think it is a woman's role to take care of her husband!"

When they ask what you do for a living and how much you earn, they may follow up with an advice about how you should start saving up for the future. When they ask about your weight, they will also tell you that you should either gain more or lose some weight, and how you can be healthier. When they inquire about your accommodations, they will tell you if they think you're being charged a decent rent.

If you're sick, they will advise you on the right clothes to wear, how many layers you should put on, what you shouldn't eat and do when it's cold/hot, and to try this or that traditional remedy.
Certainly, guan xin talk is easier to welcome if it comes from your Chinese lady, and even her family, than it is when it's your neighbor, the local street vendor near your place of work, the old lady you always buy vegetables from at the street market, a colleague, or somebody you just met at your girlfriend's cousin's daughter's wedding. In the latter cases you may have the urge to tell them it's none of their business and walk away.

But even from your Chinese love or her people, such direct prodding about matters that westerners often consider personal and the presumptuous, patronizing, or condescending way that the Chinese offer their advice, caution, or criticism can be easily taken by a laowai as offensive and even disrespectful - but only because they're reacting to a Chinese behavior with a western mindset.

Even if you're a laowai who has been around Chinese people for many years and with your Chinese lady for a considerable time, you will have some bad days when cross-cultural stresses are just too much and the last thing you need is some guan xin talk about your eating habits. But by now you probably know that it is coming from awell meaning heart and a position of caring, so you dig down deep and let it pass.

If you're fairly new to the genuine Chinese experience, just always remember that you're in a foreign land with foreign customs and attitudes and, while you still have a lot to understand about the people and their ways, your lack of understanding is not an excuse to be rude to the people of your host country and community.

Hopefully sooner rather than later, and with the help of your Chinese love once you have found her, you will develop a healthy attitude toward guan xin talk directed at you by herself and her loved ones, and ultimately learn how to appreciate their concern. Perhaps over time you'll even learn how to politely endure guan xin talk from Chinese people not so close to you as your Chinese love.

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Monday, 22 July 2013

Things a Laowai Should Not Do When Visiting His Chinese Love

Presumably, you chose a Chinese woman to be your future wife because you have a sincere appreciation of the rich culture and history of China and the inner beauty and greatness of its people.  So when it’s finally time for you to visit your Chinese love, or perhaps to start a new life in the Middle Kingdom, here are some things that you, being a laowai, should not do. 

A “lawaoi,” by the way, is the name that the Chinese use to refer to any foreign visitor to their country.  And it doesn’t matter if you have lived in China for a decade or more, if you’ve married a Chinese woman, and have fathered Chinese children, you’ll always be a laowai.  This does not mean that you’ll never be welcomed; you will eventually be welcomed as a member of your wife’s family, your local community, and the place where you work.  But you won’t really be one of them because, obviously, you’ll never be Chinese. 

Your choice to live among them, or even if you will just be interacting with them during a very limited time, means you have to adapt to and respect their ways.  You are their guest, after all.  So what are the things you should refrain from doing?

Firstly, if you’ve put off learning even the most basic Chinese words and phrases for as long as you could, stop!  Sure, many Chinese know how to communicate in English in varying degrees, especially if you’ll be visiting/moving to a highly urbanized and westernized area; but don’t expect everyone to know English.  And don’t be lazy just because your Chinese girlfriend or laowai friend can translate for you.  When you learn their language, you not only honor your Chinese love but also her people. 

Stop judging, comparing, and complaining.  Chinese people don’t fall in line; they drink and drive with their hands perpetually on the horn; traffic rules are merely suggestions; the men spit and pee just about anywhere; children pee and poop just about anywhere, as well; the air pollution is very bad; food safety is a constant and very serious problem; it goes on and on and on. 

Sure, there are many bad things in China; there are many bad things in your home country, too, and in any other country for that matter.  Maybe during very bad days, it’s nearly impossible for you to appreciate the other side – the better side – of China, but it’s always there just the same.  You had and still have very good reasons for choosing a Chinese wife and starting a new life in her country.  Things are the way they are in China, learn to accept it; the sooner you do, the happier you will be.

Don’t just live in your own, little world.  Don’t just stick to your country’s food (if you’re lucky enough to have easy access to it, that is); be adventurous and try the local specialties.  Don’t ignore local and national happenings; watch the news, read the newspaper, talk to your neighbors about upcoming holidays and events.  Don’t choose to ignore Chinese customs; show genuine interest by talking to your Chinese love, a co-worker, or a neighbor about some of them.   

Especially if you’ll be staying for an extended period in China, or relocating there, you will miss a lot of the things back home.  You don’t have to completely abandon your old life and become a totally different person; but your new experiences, your immersion in Chinese society, will certainly change you and you should let it, but make sure it’s for the better.  Accepting some of their ways doesn’t necessarily mean you’re turning your back on some of your long-held beliefs and principles; being open to new things is simply an opportunity to learn and improve. 

Certainly, avoiding these behaviors will make your relationship with your Chinese love, her family, and her people a smoother one, and the cross-cultural challenges easier to handle. 

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Does Your Chinese Girlfriend Lie To You?

In the west, especially in the United States, an indirect or ambiguous answer is considered a lie; in China, indirect and ambiguous answers, and even white lies, are actually honest efforts at being polite and nice. What foreigners and Chinese often experience is a failure to communicate, particularly when it comes to direct questions or requests posed by foreigners to their Chinese love, friends, or colleagues. 

Plenty of times they say “Yes” but mean “Maybe;” they say “Maybe” when they mean “No;” they say “Okay” but actually mean “Not really; they agree even when they really don’t; and they rarely say “No.”  
Perhaps you’ve already had an experience with your Chinese girlfriend wherein a simple yes-or-no question turned into an hour-long and meandering discussion about stuff that were completely unrelated to your initial question.

When the Chinese don’t always say what they mean, talking to them can indeed be very frustrating and annoying.  There might be times when you feel they’re actually being disrespectful.Even when you’re aware that they dish out white lies on a regular basis, trying to figure out what they really mean every time can be exhausting. 

But have you ever thought about how the Chinese see things from their end? 

Just as you may feel frustrated and offended because you see their circuitous responses as outright lies, they also feel frustrated and offended for being accused of lying when they’re actually doing their best to be nice. 

What a foreigner must understand is that their “good intentions,” or the fact that they do not intend to mislead, actually makes a huge difference.  White lies, after all, serve the purpose of sparing somebody else’s feelings.  Your girlfriend and any of the other Chinese people you regularly communicate with do not really intend to deceive you.  The problem is, you’re reading their answers wrong and, at the same time, they’re expecting you to understand what they really mean (that is, what is being left unsaid).

Most of the time, the Chinese actually honestly believe that they’re being clear about their meaning, even when what they’re saying is entirely different.  Of course, this is because they’re used to being completely understood by the people from their own culture. 

Your own vantage point is also influenced by what you’re used to in your own culture – not only with regards to getting direct answers to direct questions, but also with regards to people almost always having the intention to mislead and being deliberately disrespectful when they give indirect answers.

Clearly, both parties are contributing to the miscommunication by not adjusting their expectations.  Another thing you, as a laowai, must remember is that because you’re the guest in their country, you will have to make the bigger adjustments. 

Chinese indirectness or ambiguity, at times, does not have anything to do with deliberate deception.  You may find it easier to understand how their avoidance of direct answers is actually their way of being considerate and nice when you put yourself in their shoes.           

Perhaps you’ve already been at the receiving end of some Chinese acquaintances or people you just met asking you where you live or what your phone number is because they need your help to practice their English.  If these are people you regularly encounter and actually find pleasant, you may feel that refusing them outright and explaining why would be impolite and would offend them.  You wouldn’t want to make your future encounters with them awkward.  So what should you do?

The best out is actually a white lie, and they will not only understand the implied meaning, they will even appreciate your efforts at sparing their feelings.  So you can tell them something like you might be moving soon but are still deciding on a couple of options, and so you still don’t have an exact address to give them; or your phone is being fixed and you’ll be getting a new number.  This is how things are from the Chinese vantage point when they are trying to be polite by saying a white lie or being indirect. 

Certainly, you will have some days when the cross-cultural challenges of being in a relationship with a Chinese woman or living amongst the Chinese are worse than most.  But already knowing about their tendency to be indirect and having an understanding of this behavior, you should do yourself and your Chinese relationships a favor and try not to be suspicious all the time.  Deciphering their real meaning is difficult enough without complicating it further with unnecessary assumptions. 

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

It’s Just Another Day in China

It feels like you had closed your eyes only five minutes ago when a blaring horn wakes you up.  You check the clock and see it’s one freakin’-o-clock in the morning and your Chinese neighbor’s at it again, honking his horn to wake up his wife and open the door for him.  For the nth time you think, “Why can’t he just give her a ring on the house phone?!?!?!”  You cover your head with your pillow and start counting in your head all the eggs you’re throwing at the neighbor’s car until you fall back asleep.

You’re startled awake, confused at the jack-hammering sound your alarm clock is making.  Then you realize your alarm hasn’t even gone off yet; your best guess is there’s a construction down the street, but you don’t understand why they have to start at six a.m.!  You give up on getting another hour of sleep and spend half an hour in the shower; the cold water helps soothe your raw nerves.

The walk through the park on your way to work is usually a pleasant one.  This morning, however, there’s a toddler squatting and taking a dump beside a flower bed right across from the public restroom!  And his grandmother is simply standing idly beside him, waiting for him to finish.  Because you were distracted, you nearly stepped on a puddle of slimy spit.  Oh, it’s not even nine a.m. yet and the day’s not looking good already!

You arrive at the preschool where you teach English to four- to six-year-old Chinese kids.  You go through the morning routine and get them settled.  You hear one child coughing and remind him to cover his mouth.  Another child sneezes and you remind her what she’s supposed to do.  You feel frustrated trying to teach the children basic hygiene in school but the habits seem impossible to instill in them when their parents don’t follow through at home. 

At the end of the school day, you’re feeling very tired due to lack of sleep and you feel like you’re coming down with a cold.  But you still have to make a stop at the bank to deposit your check.  Of course, when you get there, there are no lines.  Not because the bank is nearly empty, but because the Chinese just can’t master the skill of forming straight lines.  Your head begins to throb.

Finally, you’re on your way home.  You take a different route because you need to buy some groceries.  Along the way, car horns are blaring in unison as if that will magically make the sea of cars part and cause the traffic to flow smoothly.  The throbbing in your head starts to feel more like the jack-hammering earlier in the day, only this time its your skull that’s being drilled.

You arrive home and pop two Tylenols.  You quickly whip up some dinner and you look forward to some much-needed rest, a very early rest.  After cleaning up in the kitchen and getting ready for bed, you drag yourself to your bedroom and literally crash on the bed.

At exactly one in the morning, your neighbor’s blaring horn wakes you up again.       

Ah, the pains of culture stress in China.  Some days are worse than others; but certainly, most days are a lot better.  There are also stresses back home in the your own country, and you are very much aware that when you’re having a very, very bad day, every nuisance and annoyance gets magnified, completely obscuring all the good reasons why you decided to move to China in the first place. 

Some days are worse than others, yes; but when you’re reminded of how wonderful China can be every time your elderly neighbor invites you to sit with him for a cup of tea at dusk and you listen to his precious stories; or when the nice lady who sweeps the streets every morning greets you with a warm smile; or when you talk about the future with the Chinese love of your life, these moments can make the crappiest China day you’ve ever had worth all the stress. 

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Living with Food Safety Risks in China for the Love of Your Chinese Wife

It’s one thing to know about them; it’s a totally different story when you actually have to live with the food safety risks in China.  But because you love your Chinese wife, you brave through the various food scandals and even more food safety issues in China.  It’s not like there is completely nothing you can do about it, though.  Being aware and knowing better, there are some steps you can take to make sure that the worse you’ll get is an upset stomach a few times a month. 

First things first, stop whining about the food safety situation in China and start figuring out ways to make the best of what you have.  Fact is, you’re a lot better off than the poor locals who literally don’t have much choice about the food they eat.  Sure, the situation may be so much better back home; but a lot of things back there are also so much worse than in the Middle Kingdom. 

Presumably, you’re not so loaded that you can afford to eat only imported food day in and day out.  If you live in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, or any other westernized city in China, you’ll have easy access to foreign brands.  Otherwise, you’ll have to develop your own system of minimizing food safety risks.  Home cooking, of course, is a must.  But you’ll still have to purchase ingredients locally. 

Find a trustworthy vendor or producer, or both, of fresh ingredients and cultivate a good relationship with them.  Whether you’re buying your produce from a street market or a supermarket, always wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly as soon as you get home and before storing them, and then again before using them.  Do the same with eggs, meat, and seafood.   

With meat, you can’t completely trust vendors that have certificates on their walls, unless you’re nearly 100 percent sure that the person is a standup guy and businessman.  Try to find a local import store that sells meat in bulk at a more affordable price.  You may be able to afford to buy imported chicken because it’s always cheaper than beef and pork; you can also simply start consuming beef and pork less frequently. 

When it comes to milk, if you can afford to only drink imported brands then stick with imported brands.  Otherwise, choose big domestic brands (this really becomes more about choosing the lesser evil because you can never be sure with Chinese products).If you have kids, though, give them the imported stuff.

For packaged food products, again, unless you can afford to only buy foreign brands, get them only from the big supermarkets.  Find out as early as you can which domestic brands are the most reliable with regards to quality and safety.  When it comes to drinking water, find a store that will sell you filtered/distilled water that comes in the big, blue containers – those that look like the bottled water used in office water dispensers.  (It wasn’t long ago that these bottle water dispenser bottle were also emitting poison, but recently that has been largely corrected.)

Avoid street food as much as possible; unless you’ve already tried the local vendor and you didn’t suffer from any stomach problems afterward.  All the same, limit your consumption.  When eating at local restaurants, go to those that are frequented by most of the locals.  Again, if you suffer from digestive problems after eating at a particular place, don’t go back there anymore.

If you find a Chinese person, such as a co-worker or a neighbor, who is also careful about the food he/she eats, be his/her best friend.  He/she is an invaluable resource for all things related to food safety in China, particularly in your local community. 

Wherever you are, it’s about taking the good with the bad.  There are food safety issues in every country, it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference.  While no strategy will ensure 100 percent food safety, at least do something to minimize the risks.  Of course, practice these safety measures with your wife and help her understand why, if she’s not yet aware. 

Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Cheers to Your Newfound Chinese Love! Chinese Alcohol 101

Inebriation is as much a part of millennia-old Chinese culture and history as drinking tea.  The Chinese share toasts for good health and happiness; they get drunk to celebrate joyous occasions and to seal business deals; they drink for ceremonial or night capping purposes.  As a laowai looking for a Chinese wife, you should expect to share more than a few drinks with your future wife’s father and to join in “spirited” family celebrations.  Especially if you’re only an occasional drinker, you may want to familiarize yourself – your taste buds and your bloodstream – with the different types of Chinese alcohol.                                                                 
There are two general types of Chinese spirits: white/clear liquors (made from sorghum), or baiju, and yellow liquors (made from rice, millet, or wheat), or huangjiu. 

Baiju is also known as fire water.  Though the Chinese regularly drink this distilled liquor during family dinners and celebrations, at home or in restaurants, or with friends and colleagues (in much the same way that westerners drink beer), most foreigners find its taste very unfavorable, at best, or just downright painful, at worst.

In fact, author Tim Clissold said this of most foreigners’ experience drinking China’s most popular drink, “after drinking it, most people screw up their faces in an involuntary expression of pain and some even yell out.” 

One of the most common jokes among foreigners is that if they start enjoying a glass of baiju, then they’ve probably been in China too long.  At first sip, Baiju has a subtle sweet flavor that will make you think “It’s not as bad as people say.”  But the drink has not earned the nickname “fire water” for nothing.  The liquor comes in 80% to 120% proof (40%-60% alcohol) and actually tastes more like rubbing alcohol or diesel fuel, depending on the brand and proof.  Popular varieties of Baiju include: Fen jiu, Zhu Ye Qing jiu, Mao Tai jiu, Gao Liang jiu, Da Gujiu, and ErGuoTou.

Huangjiu is liquor that is also widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.  This “yellow wine/liquor” actually varies in color, from clear to beige, to yellowish-brown, or reddish-brown; it has less than 20% alcohol and, unlike Baiju, is not made through distillation. 

This liquor is often served during ceremonies and special occasions, such as during the birth of a child, engagements and weddings, and funerals; it is also sometimes used in cooking.  The different varieties of Huangiu are classified according to their levels of dryness and sweetness, and also based on the production method and the started used.

Popular Huangjiu include Mijiu (which is similar to Japanese sake), Fujian glutinous rice wine (which uses many expensive medicinal herbs), Shaoxing wine (often used in cooking), and Liaojiu (which is another common cooking wine). 

Pijiu is Chinese beer and, just like most other beers, was introduced by the Germans.  Chinese beers have the same light taste as, but come in bigger bottles than, their western counterparts.  China’s number one ale is Tsingtao, which originates from Qingdao, Shandong Province.  Local brands can also be found in most cities and provinces. 

Chinese men are known to drink heavily at all times of the day; drinking and driving are a common habit so always cross the streets extra-carefully.  When you finally meet your future Chinese wife’s family, it would be impolite to refuse a drink offered to you, as well as the refills.  So remember to pace yourself, especially if you’re not a heavy drinker.  And make sure you’ve had your fill during dinner so as to slow down the effects of alcohol.  You might as well learn one or two toasts in Chinese, too!   

Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Chinese Dating: Parents Versus Daughters

Chinese dating, relationships, and marriage have become a constant battle between modern daughters (and even sons) of China and their more traditional parents.  Most Chinese parents still possess traditional attitudes toward marriage and impose these on their children; most Chinese women have a more contemporary, perhaps even a westernized, outlook and cannot understand the lengths their parents go to in order to get them hitched.

Round One

It all starts during their teenage years when their parents expressly forbid their daughters from dating and having relationships.  Even when they get to their college years, most parents do not want their daughters to interact with the opposite sex in any other way than academically. 

Since many of these girls come from single-child families, they are expected to be the breadwinner as soon as they finish college; this means they are also expected to excel in their studies to ensure that they will get a decent-paying job later.  Dating and relationships are distractions that their daughters do not need.

As a result, these Chinese girls do not learn anything nor gain any experience about how to interact with the 
opposite sex, start and maintain a relationship, and go about figuring out what they want in a partner and what their goals are with regards to marriage and starting a family.     

Round Two

By the time these young women graduate from college, they've reached marrying age.  While their parents want them to start earning money for the family, they also start pressuring them to find a husband to marry. 

In fact, the pressure to get married and have children does not let up until they finally do so.  The longer their daughters stay single, the more the parents worry and the more they become actively involved in finding a mate for their dear children.  In fact, some start playing matchmaker as soon as their daughters come of age. 

Many of these young women, however, do not want to rush into marriage just because their time is running out, at least according to traditional marriage customs.  Some want to focus on their careers first; others want to wait until they find the right one and gain some dating/relationship experience along the way.  There are even those who do not mind being single and actually enjoy the single life.

Round Three

Around their daughters’25th year, parents, especially mothers, start panicking if their daughters still aren’t married.  It’s even worse if these young women haven’t even had a single boyfriend.  Then again, it’s just as frustrating for their parents when their daughters do date and have relationships but are not showing any signs of settling down any time soon. 

So the parents get more aggressive with their matchmaking activities.  They attend matchmaking events to hand out their daughters’ “resume” and exchange information with other parents.  They set up blind dates for their daughters with men whom they found through these matchmaking events or through family friends.  

Many parents even go online to search for potential partners for daughters who do not seem to care at all that their time is running out fast. 

The parents’ involvement only intensifies as their daughters reach their 30s still single.  The nagging never lets up; the blind dates become more frequent.  For every failed matchmaking attempt, the parents get increasingly frustrated, disappointed, and worried. 

The women, on the other hand, also feel increasingly frustrated and annoyed at their parents’ constant worrying and nagging, and even more so about the never-ending blind dates they are forced to go to.  Many of these women, however, want to make their own dating and relationship choices, especially with regards to choosing when to get married.  Unlike their parents, they do not worry at all about each year passing by without them having any serious marriage prospects.  Some do not see anything wrong with being single in their 30s.


The problem, clearly, is a complete difference in attitudes.  Chinese parents only care about their daughters finding a man with whom they are compatible in terms of education, career, and family background; modern Chinese women, on the other hand, feel that “feelings” are just as important, if not more so, than the traditional and more practical standards of choosing a partner.

Most parents can also become so focused on following traditional norms and expecting their children to do the same that they fail to realize the modern realities that their daughters also have to face and adapt to.  Indeed, traditional Chinese marriage attitudes, more often than not, can no longer co-exist with the demands of modern Chinese society.  Chinese women and their parents need to communicate more so they can understand each other’s motivations and, perhaps, find a middle ground.

Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine

and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Face of Urban Chinese Women

Picture this.  A young Chinese woman from the province, fresh out of college, manages to find a job in the city that pays well enough that she can afford to live comfortably and to indulge in some personal luxuries, such as branded clothes and cosmetics.  Her spending habits are largely influenced by her desire to fit into the world of the young and independent urban women; she does not want to lose face by spending less on food when she eats with her colleagues and managers and not spending enough to take care of her appearance. 

Unfortunately, saving face means she is unable to save much, if any, from her monthly salary.  Of course, she also has to send some financial support to her family back in the province.  She is actually earning a lot more each month than her father ever did so her parents are quite surprised and very disappointed to find out that she manages to set aside only three percent of her monthly income for savings. 

Here’s another similar story.  A young middle-class woman who was born and raised in the city earns enough from her job that she can afford to buy a Japanese car.  Having middle-class friends and socializing with people with equal and higher status, she feels that she has to maintain a certain standard of living so as not to lose face.  She does not really need to support her parents because they are financially stable themselves. 

Nonetheless, her lifestyle means she spends nearly as much as she earns every month and, once again, saving face leads to very little money saved in the bank.  Her spending habits will not make her poor, but she won’t be making her future more secure, either. 

Of course, for both of these women, there really isn’t a real need to save up for the future if they marry men who can secure their future for them. 

The point, however, is that many of today’s young, urban women (and even men) no longer possessthe admirable money-saving attitude of previous generations.  Perhaps it was because the older generations experienced a tougher financial climate before China’s big economic boom that saving money was a necessity.  The post-80s generation, on the other hand, is enjoying far better earning and spending opportunities and do not have the benefit of experiencing tough times to learn the real value of saving money.

Certainly, their carefree consumerism gave birth to and continues to feed their tendency to become materialistic.  While the cost of living in China’s big cities continues to increase, their continued concern about “saving face” may actually play a bigger role in the difficulties they face with regards to saving money and the imminent threat of financial instability. 

They may justify their very loose spending habits with the belief that “saving face” and keeping up a certain lifestyle will improve their social status and open up better opportunities for them.  Or they may reason that once they get married, they’ll be set for life anyway.  At the end of the day, however, their behavior is simply irresponsible and only strengthens the stereotype of the materialistic Chinese woman.

What if the economy plateaus or, worse yet, declines?  What if they don’t find a suitable husband in time, or before they reach the age at which their desirability would begin to go down steeply?  After all, part of their desire to save face would include the desire for a husband who will be able to afford not only to support them, but also to allow them to continue living the lifestyle they’ve gotten used to.  And again, given the increase in real estate prices and city living expenses and the competitive job market, finding a mate that meets their expectations would prove extremely difficult. 

This group of women represents only a fraction of the population of single females in China’s urban areas.  Nevertheless, they reflect an attitude of materialism and consumerism that casts a bad light on other urban women who work hard to have a secure present and future. 

Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Life with a Chinese Wife

Here is one version of a typical life with a Chinese wife. Don’t panic halfway through it though, you’ll feel better by the end.

When you marry a Chinese woman, you marry her whole family.  In no time at all, your house will be taken over by her parents, her grandparents, and her siblings and their families.  Be ready to refurnish your kitchen because your wife and the rest of her family will need more than one wok and an endless supply of chopsticks.  Oh, and those teeny tea cups that never seem to quell your thirst.

Speaking of chopsticks, unless you want everyone elbowing each other and making fun of you in whispers every time you sit down to a meal because you’re the only one using a fork and knife, better develop your chopstick skills.  This means you’ll be more like a toddler learning how to eat on his own for the first time.  Who knows, you may even lose all that excess weight from how little you’ll be able to actually pick up with your chopsticks and the even smaller amount that successfully reaches your mouth!  Have you ever tried eating rice with chopsticks?  Switching to an all-liquid diet may be better!

Speaking of your diet, prepare your taste buds and stomach for all sorts of animal parts and, well, animals.  You may also want to practice eating with a blindfold.  That way, you can just enjoy the different textures and interesting flavors without really knowing what it is you’re eating.

With her entire family living under the same room as you and your wife, never forget to lock the bathroom door, especially when you’re pondering on the meaning of life while sitting on the toilet.  There’s no such thing as privacy to Chinese families. 

Your living room will undergo an ultimate makeover, too.  One day, you’ll come home from work and actually think that you walked into the wrong house.  Your comfortable couch and your favorite chair and its matching ottoman have been replaced by hard, awkward, and plastic-covered furniture.  Your second thought will be, “Was your house broken into?” 

You know that saying “The wife is always right?”  Forget about that.  From now on, remember that a Chinese wife is omniscient.  And she’ll knock your socks off with her amazing memory recall.  She’ll display this amazing skill every time you have a quarrel.  Most of the time, she’ll win an argument because you’ll be so stumped about a small mistake she brings up and that you supposedly made ten years ago that you completely forget the point you were trying to make.  It’s actually a very effective battle strategy. 

If you’ll be late coming home from work, for heaven’s sake don’t forget to call her to let her know.  Just make sure you can spare at least an hour so you can answer all her questions about why you’ll be late, who you’ll be with, where you’ll be going, if there will be women around and, if yes, how old they will be and what do they look like, and so on and so forth.  Better yet, just don’t be late. 

If you’re still looking for a Chinese wife, don’t lose heart and don’t get turned off, either.  Chinese women come in all shapes, sizes, and dispositions.  Just remind yourself again of what a typical life with an American wife would be like!  More importantly, remind yourself again what makes Chinese women the most ideal wives.

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be a humorous take on Chinese-foreign marriages and was adapted from a popular talk show host’s, Brother Sway’s, blog post (The Misfortunes of Foreign Husbands Married to Chinese Wives) which was reprinted on the All-China Women’s Federation website,  

Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Chinese Women and their “Uncle Complex”

Compared to a decade or so ago, Chinese women nowadays are more open to being with a much older man; in fact, many even prefer older men as a life partner.  On average, these women cap the age difference at 10 years, but there are those who do not mind having a partner who is more than a decade older.  This is very good news for foreign men who are 40 and older and are looking for a Chinese women.

Recently, the dating website and the National Population and Family Planning Commission jointly released its 2012-2013 Survey Report on Chinese People’s Love and Marriage Values, and part of the results provide proof of this so-called uncle complex, with almost 70 percent of women preferring partners a decade older than them. (Source:

Typically, women with an “uncle complex” prefer older men that are charming, dignified, handsome, and financially successful; the term originates from Korea and is derived from a Korean form of address to men five or six years older that are respected in society. 

The likes of Johnny Depp, George Clooney, and Pierce Brosnan are the ideal for older mates.  Women finding such men desirable partners is nothing new, of course.  Throughout history and in many cultures, men of power, success, and wealth have always demanded respect and admiration, especially among women.  This is especially true in societies, both past and present, where men are given the more dominant role. 

The addition of physical attractiveness and charm is a relatively more recent change – one which was, no doubt, of western origins.  With the ladies of China, the “uncle complex” has more to do with a potential mate’s age and stability than his physical attractiveness. 

Chinese women’s need for financial security in a marriage is largely influenced by their traditional attitudes toward gender roles in society and marriage.  Even many modern women of China who have begun to also demand the satisfaction of deeper emotional needs still require some sort of indication that a potential husband is capable of providing her and his future family with a secure future, be it in the form of a stable job, house ownership, or simply having great ambitions. 

This is precisely because having security is still a big part of having their deeper emotional needs satisfied.  Given the continuing increase of the cost of living in the country, especially the costs of real estate, it has become harder and harder for men to qualify as a suitable provider.  This has certainly been a factor in the emergence of the “uncle complex” among Chinese women, especially when one considers that more women in their early twenties have been developing the said preference in a mate.

Being older definitely denotes that a man is more established and, therefore, is a more capable provider.  Chinese women’s preference for this group of men does show a consistency in their traditionally pragmatic attitude toward marriage, as much as it shows their realistic approach to their fast changing society.  As practical a solution as it may seem, however, it is not without flaws. 

Firstly, the majority of Chinese men that fall under this category are already married.  Secondly, most traditional parents will not approve of such a choice.  The obvious solution to the first obstacle is to seek out foreign men; the second obstacle is, more often than not, simply something that cannot be avoided and which these women will have to face head on.    

This is not to say that Chinese women’s “uncle complex” only further shows their gold-digging tendencies.  Most of these women who prefer older men are actually after the man’s maturity, experience, and dependability than anything else.  What any foreign man who is seeking a Chinese wife must always remember is that things are not always black and white when it comes to the women of China.  But they are definitely a breed of women that is worth understanding and pursuing. 

Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Chinese Women in Unhappy Marriages

What does the continuing upward trend of divorce in China say about today’s Chinese women?  Chinese society has always been strongly founded on its core family values and tradition, and it has always upheld these values and traditions above everything else.  Additionally, Chinese women are known the world over and throughout history for their traditional attitudes toward marriage, particularly toward their role as a wife.  So it is very interesting to note that most of the divorces in the country had been initiated by the wives.

In china, the fact remains that marriages are still mostly about fulfilling obligations and fiscal stability.  Indeed, singles who flock to any of the matchmaking events that are held all over China often only require a potential mate to have an identity card from (particularly one that shows the candidate is from a “good” town or city) and proof of real estate ownership (this is a condition that has to be met by the man).  If the latter’s not available, the man must show that he has the means to obtain a house or apartment for his future wife.

Obviously, merely meeting certain practical qualifications is not a good foundation for any marriage.  At the same time, such a practice has been around for as long as Chinese society has existed, but since divorce became legal in China, it’s only in the past decade that that the divorce trend started its alarming increase.

Indeed, the highest divorce rates are actually among couples in their early20s and mid-thirties.  These are couples from China’s earliest only-child generations.Arguably, getting married at an early age often spells disaster because young adults often do not yet have the experience and maturity to make them capable of handling marital difficulties and parental responsibilities.

The fact that these only-child individuals have also been raised in environments that did not allow them to learn basic interpersonal skills only further reduced their capability to deal with “mature situations.”   

As if married life in itself, and at a young age, is not complicated enough,the modern obligations and challenges they have to face compounds add to the already considerable pressure they carry.  They have jobs/careers to maintain in order to afford the ever increasing costs of living in their country; they have children to raise in a society that is only becoming more and more competitive and demanding; and they have their parents to look after,and having no siblings with whom they can share the responsibility. 

Women of China have always been known for their steadfastness and enduring devotion to their family despite the challenges; even in spite of the fact that extra-marital affairs are jokingly referred to as a national pastime of Chinese husbands, wives from older generations have stuck by their man.

It would be safe to say that regardless of the many difficulties of marriage at a relatively young age, Chinese women – with their inherent strength and strong family values – would not easily quit on their marriage.  Such attitudes are still more characteristic of their western counterparts.  But given their increased independence and confidence in their ability to survive on their own, Chinese wives have become less tolerant of infidelity and unhappy marriages.

These women would rather get divorced and face the extreme difficulty of finding another partner after actively choosing “leftover status” than put up with unfaithfulness and unfulfilled emotional needs.  They may have rushed into their first marriage for the wrong reasons, but they have finally gained the experience and maturity to know better than to stay in a relationship for more of the same, wrong reasons.

It can even be argued that unlike the divorce trends in the west, the current trend of unsuccessful Chinese marriages may actually point to an awakening from which the current and future generations of Chinese singles can benefit so that they can make better choices when they enter into marriage. 

Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.