I went back to work today after three whole days in bed. There’s nothing quite like being sick to make you appreciate life and all the things you take for granted (like being able to walk across the room). It’s good to be back.
China is still here in all its strangeness. I love the place, and it drives me insane. Things I found infuriating four years ago are now amusing. Well, some things, anyway. There’s still a lot to be infuriated with, but you can’t be consumed with outrage all the time, at least not if you want to get any pleasure out of life.
I’m still not up to heavy-duty blogging, so let me wrap this up by drawing your attention to a handy new list of do’s and don’ts the government is offering to Chinese tourists traveling overseas. It’s priceless.
China’s advice to its citizens who travel abroad: No fighting, no shouting and, please, no extortion.
The new guidelines for Chinese tourists, posted on the Foreign Ministry’s Web site Tuesday, cover a wide range of dangerous or problem behavior to help head off trouble.
Travelers are told to avoid drawing attention to themselves, respect local customs, and keep a wary eye on strangers.
“Keep peaceful in public places, don’t talk loud and avoid sticking out,” the guidelines said.
“Don’t get involved in other people’s quarrels in public places,” it added, a nod to the Chinese habit of gathering in large crowds to observe or even take part in others’ arguments and fights.
The suggestions also urged Chinese to respect local laws and not to try to cut corners or make threats.
“When your legal rights are violated, avoid making things worse and resolve the problem through upright channels, not through extortion or other illegal methods,” the guidelines said.
So remember, the next time you travel outside of China try not to practice extortion. If you feel you absolutely must extort somebody, try at least to keep it to a minimum.
Thanks for sticking around despite the paucity of new material.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.