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Individualism and cultural progress in Capitalist China

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Individualism and cultural progress in Capitalist China

Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:34 am

I read Winston's extensive article about the negative aspects of Asian culture, but am curious about the prevailing culture of young adults in their 20's & 30's in China's big cities today.

For example, the #1 city that has sparked my biggest interest is Shenzhen: exploding from a population of a mere 20,000 in 1982 to more than 8,000,000 now. Most inhabitants are migrants who come from other parts of China (and the world).

Surely with the rise of capitalism, freer markets, and economic prosperity in China; individualism and a break from cold & rigid cultural traditions have to rise among the younger generations...am I correct?

I'm also under the assumption that, generally speaking, Taiwanese and Japanese tend to be more culturally conservative than urban Chinese...is this true?

My guess is that the younger Chinese will maintain the good aspects of the old culture (i.e., the personal responsibility, the cleanliness, and the attention to detail) while discarding the bad ones (such as the rigidity, the dogmatic Confucionism, and negative attitudes).

I'm curious if anyone on this forum who've been to China's urban areas have observed a trend like this or not.

Personally, being an ISTP on the Meyers-Briggs personality classification, I'd probably tend to mingle well with Asians in some aspects.
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Postby momopi » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:58 pm

I was in Beijing and Tianjing last year. Most people there just mind their own business and won't bother you. China is a very safe place where violent crime is concerned. But you still have the standard collection of shandy tour operators where tourists congregate.

Do not fall for the cheap discount tour packages offered by street hawkers, consult with your hotel's front desk for reputable (and more expensive) ones. My GF insisted on taking a budget tour and, needless to say, the operators were shady and asked for more $$ on the bus. If you refuse to pay they drop you off and you have to arrange for your own transportation back.

Remember to bring your own toilet paper, and learn how to use a squatting type toilet if you intend to use them in public restrooms (your western style hotel will have the standard sitting type). Many public restrooms do not have doors on the stalls. The ones in Beijing are somewhat clean, the ones outside the city aren't as clean. The forbidden palace and great wall areas are pretty scary where bathrooms are concerned (port-a-pottys).

If you're flying a Chinese airline, be warned that they sometimes will over book or pack too much luggage. Your luggage may be left behind and sent over on a later flight without notice. Carry a backpack with you as carry-on and put your necessities in it. Most personal care products are avail, but deodorant and dental floss aren't as popular, so not all stores carry them.

If you're traveling by yourself as a lone male "businessman", you might get a call or knock on your hotel room offering "special services". In industrial towns, you'd find karaoke parlors and massage places along main streets. Ironically most of the massage places are actually legit and offers good foot soak + massages. Karaoke parlors offer girls with the suite and can get quite expensive.

In Tianjing I saw a few employement ads and figured the hourly salary of a typical worker at the store was about $1 USD/hr. If you're a Taiwanese or HK businessman working in China and making $2,000 USD/month, you're considered well off and many of them can afford to keep a concubine locally. I was there with a GF's family last year and her father indicated that many of his married male coworkers had local GF's. Their wives are back in Taiwan so they can get away with it.
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Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:15 am

Thanks for the info. I'm certainly not up for one-night stands -- as I'll only make love to a woman whom I have at least a close friendship with.

But with karaoke, I'd really love to sing this awesome song at a venue in China! I downloaded it recently in late December, and it stands a strong chance of making my Top 20 Song List of 2008. I also made All-State Choir a couple of times back in high school, and can sing quite well.

The song is "Ruguo Meiyou Mingtian" (如果没有明天) by K One. (The translation is "If Tomorrow Never Comes.") It has a similar sound to the Backstreet Boys, which is one of my favorite groups. And luckily, in China, there won't be any stupid insecure infantile-machismo Americans foaming in my face asininely calling it "faggot music." :roll:

Looking forward to it all!
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Re: Individualism and cultural progress in Capitalist China

Postby Winston » Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:19 am

DiscoPro_Joe wrote:I read Winston's extensive article about the negative aspects of Asian culture, but am curious about the prevailing culture of young adults in their 20's & 30's in China's big cities today.

For example, the #1 city that has sparked my biggest interest is Shenzhen: exploding from a population of a mere 20,000 in 1982 to more than 8,000,000 now. Most inhabitants are migrants who come from other parts of China (and the world).

Surely with the rise of capitalism, freer markets, and economic prosperity in China; individualism and a break from cold & rigid cultural traditions have to rise among the younger generations...am I correct?

I'm also under the assumption that, generally speaking, Taiwanese and Japanese tend to be more culturally conservative than urban Chinese...is this true?

My guess is that the younger Chinese will maintain the good aspects of the old culture (i.e., the personal responsibility, the cleanliness, and the attention to detail) while discarding the bad ones (such as the rigidity, the dogmatic Confucionism, and negative attitudes).

I'm curious if anyone on this forum who've been to China's urban areas have observed a trend like this or not.

Personally, being an ISTP on the Meyers-Briggs personality classification, I'd probably tend to mingle well with Asians in some aspects.


Hi Joe,
Well that article criticizing Asian culture was primarily directed at Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, and Hong Kong, where people mainly work and study and have no other dimension in life, do not make eye contact with others, and where you are not allowed to meet people, esp girls, without being formally introduced.

Not at mainland China. I have no experience with mainland China. But I hear it is not like the strictness and no talking with strangers mentality of Taiwan. A guy named Tom on this forum posted some wild reports of China and posted some pictures too. See the trip reports section and you can find it.

So you haven't been to China yet?

Well that's the trick, for the young generation to maintain the good qualities but not the bad. That's the challenge and ideal situation.

I am an ENFJ, so I kind of vibe mentally better with Europeans, rather than mainstream Asians.
Last edited by Winston on Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Individualism and cultural progress in Capitalist China

Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:18 am

I am an ENFJ, so I kind of vibe mentally better with Europeans, rather than mainstream Asians.


Oh well...even though our Meyers-Briggs-Type-Indicator (MBTI) personalities are opposite, I understand that MBTI opposites actually tend to get along fairly well. One person tends to "make up for" areas where the other person lacks, and vice-versa. My understanding is that you'll tend to clash the most with the four MBTI personalities that are exactly three letters different from you. A person seems to "click" the most with the four MBTIs in his same temperament (i.e., SP, SJ, NF, and NT).

On Europe, I'm a total fanatic of European dance-pop/disco from the '80s & '90s (it's my favorite specific music genre, which nobody in the American Midwest or South but me seems to enjoy). But many in the younger generation of urban Chinese seem to be quite receptive to it, though, so that shouldn't be a problem! :)
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Postby Winston » Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:13 am

That can be true. Opposites can complement each other provided they are both open minded, respect each other, and are interested in the other person as a whole.

You seem to have diverse interests like me, and be somewhat of a Renaissance man, so I'm sure if we hung out in person, we'd probably get along well.

There are certain people, if you've noticed, who are just so far off from you on every wavelength that even the simplest thing you say to them gets twisted in such a weird way that you think one of you must be whacked or in another dimension. You ever experienced that?
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Postby momopi » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:50 pm

:shock:

He listens to more modern stuff that me. I'm still watching Jay Chou videos.

:lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjcOOLKL ... re=related
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Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:05 am

momopi wrote::shock:

He listens to more modern stuff that me. I'm still watching Jay Chou videos.

:lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjcOOLKL ... re=related


Thanks for introducing me to Jay Chou! That's a great way to help learn Mandarin, since the characters for the lyrics are displayed in the videos.

The song 陽光宅男 ("Yang Guang Zhai Nan") ("Sunshine Boy") is almost good enough for my music collection. And the 牛仔很忙 "Niuzai Hen Mang" ("Cowboy on the Run") video is absolutely hilarious!!! And I'm from Oklahoma... :wink:
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Postby momopi » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:39 pm

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend "Curse of the Golden Flower":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_the_Golden_Flower

It's a great Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, and Jay Chou movie.
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