Why it’s great to live in China

I’m really glad I saw this post today. Really. I’m going to have to spend a bit of time in Beijing this winter and have been freaking out as usual over the winter weather. The post reminded me that there’s more to China in general and Beijing in particular than the weather.

The Discussion: 14 Comments

But oh, that weather!

Nah, I kid. Beijing’s a great town, winter or not. Keep us posted on your dates — we’ll show you stuff they haven’t got in Shanghai or Taibei.

December 4, 2006 @ 9:11 pm | Comment

“we’ll show you stuff they haven’t got in Shanghai”

Oh yeah? Like what?

Donkey carts?
That giant egg thing?
Air pollution so thick it can stop a “xiali”?
Summer Palaces? (who needs ’em!)

… or the one I’m thinking of now …

Central heating! :’-(


December 4, 2006 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

“we’ll show you stuff they haven’t got in Shanghai”

Oh yeah? Like what?

Cool Pirate Beijing Chinese!

December 5, 2006 @ 2:09 am | Comment

Living in China has many ups and downs. Most of the downs are quite small but there’s just so damn many of them. Luckily, most of the ups are a lot bigger so they more than offset the downs. Literally a case of, if China was a 5000 year old staircase, it’s 3 steps up and 2 down. Or, 3 steps to heaven and 2 steps to hell – although occasionally you do feel like the staircase is a escalator.

December 5, 2006 @ 9:16 am | Comment

Oh, I forgot to throw in my other humble tuppence worth – Beijing sucks but you gotta love Shanghai. Ok, I’m biased in that I can take a short train to Shanghai but I have to fly to Beijing, but why would I want to…~!

December 5, 2006 @ 9:19 am | Comment

Oh yeah? Like what?

Oh, you know — history, literature, music, soul, people capable of speaking their own language properly, that kind of thing.

Say, what’s the difference between Shanghai and yogurt?

Yogurt has an active, living culture.

December 5, 2006 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

Haha, touché, Brendan (you did realize I was kidding around, right?)

I’ll be the first to agree that a sparkling, vivid culture of the arts is something you won’t find in Shanghai. The city has a lot of “cool” factor, though, so when the time is right, I think it’s urban culture will catch up with its urban development.

However, I do have to say, Shanghainese seem to speak their own language quite well. I just wish I could understand more of it.

Zei wei a! 🙂

December 5, 2006 @ 2:25 pm | Comment


You’re talking about the Beijing city before the economic reform. Today, even the Temple of Heaven disappears in concrete jungles. The Imperial Palace was left standing alone by itself, totally out of place with its modern surrounding. Behind the ugly façade of ghastly-looking glass buildings there are no history, no literature, and no soul. All you have are deafening music blasting out of loudspeakers from a nearby shopping centre. I came to a conclusion after my recent trip to China that Beijing is the coldest and most unattractive city in China. I wouldn’t mind by-passing it next time when I visit again.

People in Shanghai speak their own language perfect well. It is called Shanghainese. Apart from that most people also speak good Mandarin, understand at least one other dialect and have working knowledge of English as a foreign language. That’s far superior than many people that I met in Beijing.

December 5, 2006 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

Slim — Yah, I know. I’m just trying to stir shit up, in the hopes that we’ll eventually see gun fights between Beijingnese and Shanghainese pop stars over who’s keeping it realer.

Shanghai does seem like a more livable city in some regards: the downtown’s walkable, which is something that I really miss here in Beijing. I hear they’ve got a Burger King there too, which is awesome. I’m just kind of married to Beijing at this point – though I did recently get offered something that would have me down in Shanghai for two years, if I did it.

December 5, 2006 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

And yeah, you’re right about zaunheireiwo. The Wu dialects are actually pretty cool, what with preserving voiced initials and all, though they sound to me more like the bastard love-child of Japanese and German than anything Chinese. When it comes to Mandarin, though, I’m a snob.

December 5, 2006 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

Fat Cat — you’re certainly right about Beijing being a profoundly unlovely city (though some pockets of niceness still live on), but dead wrong about culture and literature. It can take a while to find, but it’s there, and it’s unbelievably vibrant. Give the city another chance when you come back next time and I’ll show you what it’s got to offer.

December 5, 2006 @ 4:49 pm | Comment


You are very kind. I’ll take your recommendation and give the city another chance. I’ll give you a buzz next time when I’m in Beijing.

December 5, 2006 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

One thing I like about Beijing is the wide open spaces (hey, I moved here from Taipei!).

I also find the bar and restaurant scene to be an interesting facet of living here, from the lamb kebabs on street corners to (sometimes succcesful) attempts to do things “Western.”

Beijing Boyce

December 6, 2006 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

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