Monthly Archives: September 2011

Re-Adjustment Woes #3: The Most Annoying Man in Tianjin

I’m not kidding here; I think I’ve actually found the man. If you’ve lived here, you know that “most annoying man” is a highly competitive category in Tianjin, narrowly beating out “worst female ensemble” and “worst driver,” so the person at the top of the heap has to be not only annoying, but remarkably so. They have to manifest behavior… (more…)

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Re-Adjustment Woes #2: Public Parks as Restrooms

Not “public park restrooms,” but “public parks AS restrooms.” I don’t care how often I see it, I’ll never get used to seeing people going to the bathroom in public, or rather, I’ll never get used to seeing people going to the bathroom in full view of the public. I don’t have much of a problem any more with people… (more…)

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Re-Adjustment Woes #1: Bike-Parking Graft

When I got back from Taiwan this past summer, I had a nasty case of reverse-culture shock, and for over a month hated EVERYTHING I saw. It was made even more difficult by the fact that Tianjin seemed to be going out of its way to bug me. I sent an E-mail to friends recently in which I listed a… (more…)

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Archetype #2: Lifeguards with Cigarettes

Low-level authority figures in China come in two types. The first resent being low-level rather than high-level authority figures, and so take out their frustrations on the nameless rabble teeming about them. I once got chewed out by the man in charge of a bike-parking area because I asked him a question. It went something like this: Me: Excuse me,… (more…)

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Archetypes for Modern China that You Can See at Any Pool, #1: Super-Skinny Speedo Guy

I realized recently that everything you need to know about modern China you can learn at the pool. To illustrate that, I’m going to be posting a series of archetypes. Here’s the first. Super-Skinny Speedo Guy I would like to posit a rule, an immutable law of social interaction which, if heeded, would prevent great pain and suffering in the… (more…)

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