Zoals jullie wellicht weten loopt mijn dochter stage in het buitenland.
Zij had van school de opdracht gekregen om blog’s te schrijven in het Engels over haar verblijf daar.
Haar blog over cultuurverschillen: Beroemd zonder bekend te zijn, plaatste ik al eerder. http://bit.ly/1FNXpBt
Omdat ik supertrots op haar ben hoe zij dit weer heeft gedaan,
wil ik graag ook dit blog met jullie delen.
CH/Beijing: ‘Life inside an anthill’
Ever since I have been here, I have been amazed by the size of this city as well as its population. To me this was a great opportunity to experience what life is like in an actual big city (instead of what I am used to in the Netherlands). But it turned out to be less fun than expected..
I would like to share some of the moments where this city got on my nerves- big time – and made me feel like an ant in an anthill. Starting with one of the most innocent looking moves: crossing the street. This turned out to be one of the biggest challenges this city (apart from its culture) has to offer. After my first week here I found out traffic lights are just used for decoration here. People cross the street wherever they want and whenever they want. And cars do too, which makes it a way more dangerous game to play. Even though I always wait for the traffic light to turn green, use the left-right-left method and always try to walk along with a bigger group, I had to find out the hard way. Because ‘there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing’ and I got hit by an electric one.
I was crossing the street at a zebra crossing, and so did a man on a scooter behind me. Instead of waiting a few more seconds till I was on the other side, he decided to cut through and hit me with quite some speed which caused me to fall on the ground. While I was laying on the ground (without any severe injury but still shocked) I was surprised by the amount of people that tried to help me. To be exact: zero. The scooter driver was already gone and no one else could be bothered too. A few girls my age looked at me shocked but moved on afterwards. I have noticed these kind of incidents happening a few times before with local people, so it had nothing to do with me being a foreigner. Anyway, I was glad I was not hurt too bad, and close to the hotel so I did not have to take the subway. Which is another thing that gets on my nerves quite a lot.
Using the subway is a really convenient and cheap way to get from A to B quick. Of course I know that an empty subway is rare in a city like this and I was already getting used to travelling between 5 and 6 PM in a packed subway. But the one thing I cannot get used to is the fact that at every single stop the people waiting outside just rush in before letting others out first. They either don’t get the system (even though there are arrows drown on the ground) or they just don’t care. It happened quite a few times that I was not able to exit the subway at the stop I had planned to and had to go one more stop before I was able to make it through the crowd. Standing by the door in advance and making people aware of the fact that you have to get out doesn’t do the trick here.
These are just a few out of a lot of moments where I felt like the city had swallowed me. And despite of all this chaos going on, I can say it does not surprise me anymore and I have learnt to even understand it myself within the past 3 months. It makes a little more sense to me. Of course I cannot get used to the fact that no one helped me up. And of course I still consider their subway manners as rude. But in general I kind of get the ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude. I took some time to think about how it would made me feel if everywhere I went, there were always 200 (at least) people going with me. Every. Single. Day. This city/country is so overpopulated that you have to fight for your spot in society. Actually, you cannot even blame them because they don’t know any different since it has been like this for a very long time.
I also think this mentality has to do with their low score to individualism in comparison to the Netherlands. People don’t really stand up for themselves since it won’t make a difference in a society like this. Following the rest without any further complications is much more preferred in Beijing. I am not saying that all Chinese people think this way, but I’ve noticed a certain pattern in their behavior since the moment I have got here. And again, you can’t blame them since I would not have a clue how I would act if I was in their position. You can get as angry, upset or as mad as you want to but you are not going to change this mentality that has become quite a fixed aspect of their culture.
And even though it can be quite hard sometimes, I am learning to accept the fact that I am just another small ant in this 23 million head-counting anthill.
Tessa, dochter van