As a hyphenated American, I like to think that I understand both the Chinese and the American psyche, though the prior not as intimately, since I’ve never lived in China. Some things that might astonish or irritate a first time visitor don’t faze me. Some things I find interesting might be commonplace to a native Chinese, like the fact that bikes and motorbikes find it OK to drive on the sidewalk. Here’s a few things that went across my mind over the last week. Feel free to agree or disagree with my opinions, but remember that they are, of course, merely opinions.
- The Use of Engrish: Though I am the first to snort with disgust at a misspelled sign or correct someone when they say “me and my mom” to “my mom and I”, I love Engrish (also known as Chinglish) It has an oddly endearing quality to it. I wonder who writes these phrases like ‘Recordeding Drips and Drabs of Life”. Can I get a job doing this? I’m sure I can overlook my years of English classes in no time. What English major? I read the title of this post (don’t worry, I’m not hating on any punks or hippies) on the back of a girl’s shirt. Maybe it’s all a conspiracy created by Engrish writers- to make us stop and consider the importance of grammar, to think about how flexible and creative the English language is, and the most important issue of all: Are punks really just hippies with zips?
- The State of Bathrooms: I realize that as a pampered American, I’m used to toilet seat covers and sit-down toilets. I’m actually fine using squat toilets (which are more hygenic, because you don’t have to touch anything),and throwing my used paper in a wastebin because their pipes are too old to flush paper down. I can deal with the resulting stink. But what irks me is the general lack of soap in public bathrooms. China’s bathrooms NEED SOAP. It’s funny because I always honor the 5 (or sometimes 10…20…30…) second rule for eating food off the floor, and I have no problem letting my meat defrost on my kitchen counter for hours. But bathrooms germs just bother me more. They have people who meticulously scrape the counters dry and change out the trash bins frequently, but I’m not sure if health classes here teach people that plain water isn’t enough to kill germs.
- The Popularity of Angry Birds: I know AG is a worldwide phenomenon. While I don’t really understand why this is the case, I can agree that the game is addicting and great way to kill time. Actually, my mom, who thinks my brother and I spend too much time on our iPhones, loves AG (who knows why?), which inspired this quote: “Don’t be such an angry bird!” I’m thinking she means the angry part of the bird, not the desire to protect its young part. Anyways, AG is explosive here. I can’t go more than a few steps in a shopping district before I see AG phone cases, pencils, phone charms, stuffed animals, T-shirts, slippers etc. etc. That would make for a very interesting paper, the popularity of AG. If I was in school, I might be inspired to maybe do research, but alas. Since leaving college, I have become remarkably unmotivated to do anything scholarly.