Posted On: Tuesday - August 29th 2023 5:43AM MST
In Topics:   China
Peak Stupidity is just getting started with the observations from China. I'll get to plenty of different topics: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles*, living in China, economics, etc.
On the latter, Commenter E.H. Hail had some large-scale economic discussion that doesn't put China in such a great light under the previous post. I doubt I'll be able to address all that from a big finance viewpoint (I'll leave it to ZeroHadge), as I am no finance guy, and that's not what we were up to in China. However, I can give some details on how things work at the low level and what I think is likely sustainable economically and what is subsidized.
For this post, I want to get this one thing off my chest, and I'm doing it now because it follows from the last couple of posts in this series.
I'll put it clearly and plainly: Chinese people don't get the concept of standing in line and waiting one's turn! They can't do it. In this sense, they are extremely pushy, in a way that would shock even a New Yorker**. This view of mine is not coming from just the one incident and one day as described here. I've noticed this since I first visited China over 15 years ago. In our post Chinese free market healthcare - pt. 2, Modern China Experience***, we gave one anecdote:
This being China, as we talked to the Doc, IN HER OFFICE, a Chinese Mom with her kid went right up in front of our chairs saying something in Chinese like "Hey, my kid has this, take a look over here ..." Haha, they are a pushy bunch; that's all there is to it. This was right in the office in the middle of our consultation, but the lady Doc took this in stride as she and 2 others told the Mom in Chinese something like "Hey, wait your turn; ever heard of waiting in line?!" No, it couldn't have been that, as they HAVE NEVER heard of waiting in line, I don't think!I'm telling you, if you give an inch, where there's room for someone to squeeze up next to you while you are doing business (an example was our buying of train tickets), she will (yes, mostly "she", its seems). If she can make eye contact with the counter person, then, they just get started, and YOU now have to wait.
That's one thing. OK, they don't see a reason for having to line up when you call all just push forward and clamor for attention. Far be it for me to criticize Middle Kingdom folkways. Yeah, but, sometime there IS a line, as constrained by barriers to preclude episodes of mass clamoring. Chinese people can't deal with that sanely. That was the case at the Peking Zoo.
First, why did we go to the zoo, when we were in the huge capital city of a 3,500 y/o culture, with lots of history? We have zoos at home. It's like this: In Part 2 of our long-ago (it seems) description of our visit to the now-leveled (!!) Georgia Guidestones, there was discussion in the comments about good barbeque. We had eaten at KFC, alas! Same story here - longer story, but it was not all up to me.
What they do have in the big Peking Zoo who we don't have at home is some Giant Pandas. Those are the first animals everyone wanted to see. We did the TSA-style rat maze thing, only with about 8 ft wide spacing, jammed full of Chinese tourists.
These 2 images really don't do it justice. People were stacked in both dimensions. Whaddya' gonna do? Pandas are cute. My problem with these people's behavior is that even though there's no excess room, they keep pushing. They keep trying to squeeze past everyone else! On a couple of occasions in China, I've just stopped, put my arms out and said "Hey, we're all going the same way. Just give me some room." Of course they don't understand the language, but they don't understand the concept either.
We were all going toward the same gate to see the Pandas. I pushed back once, and then it turned out I was up against a baby a lady had strapped to her. I felt bad about that, but then why'd she keep pressing. I guess it's because everyone else is, and she'd feel left out, and yes, get left behind.
As I tried to follow my party, having to keep holding my ground, I'd finally had enough. I squeezed through sideways through the masses, vaulted one barrier, squeezed through sideways some more, vaulted another barrier (one of these new scissors-style expandable metal things), and walked away from it all toward some relative peace and relative quite on a bench. That's when I wrote a comment to you Peak Stupidity readers with my phone.
Strangely, in one of the many Peking subway stations (amazing job, but that's another post) we saw an actual organized line! The problem was, we weren't in it. People were 2 abreast for well over 100 ft. I figured we were doing something wrong. Actually, it wasn't that they knew something we didn't, but they were lazier. It turns out that they were all stacked up to go up the escalator, but there was a wide set of stairs too. (No, I didn't seen anyone with luggage even, requiring the escalator.) Two of us ran up the stairs and had to wait for the rest of our party. We did a lot of running up and down stairs all over the city. Then, there was that Great Wall. Moar stares! (No typo.)
PS: Again, for those who think Peak Stupidity is here to badmouth the Chinese people and their country, that's not our point. There has been and will be plenty of praise for the people and place. This bit I discussed here is true, so any Chinese readers might want to see themselves as others do, something that may just not be a Chinese thing either.
* We already had one quick one on The TrumpChi.
** The city, that is.
*** BTW, we didn't have a reason to experience Chinese healthcare on this visit, but I have learned long after that post that the system is subsidized by Government. Still, it WORKS, because it seems to be run without much involvement by bureaucrats. We could have paid double or triple the money, and it still would have been cheaper and simpler than the convoluted American "system".