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Old 12-08-2018, 02:28 AM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,807 posts, read 812,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeinChina View Post
Yeah, I would agree that Phuket and some of the larger cities in Thailand are more diverse and "international" than the large Chinese cities.


Even Shanghai, the people in the city, I'm not so sure they are international minded. China in general is very Chinese, in its people, culture and way of thinking.
How do you define "international-minded"?

Very few people, anywhere in the world, are "international-minded".
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Old 12-08-2018, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,880 posts, read 9,502,858 times
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Hangzhou indeed is beautiful. It's got a lot of new construction, giving it a very modern look. As someone else mentioned, it's definitely more "Chinese" than Shanghai. Every time I've gone to Hangzhou I've seen few Westerners, and this last time I don't think I saw any. Housing is about 1/3 the cost of Shanghai but probably will continue to go up as they seem to be putting a lot of money into the city to make it more of a "first-tier" type of city.
I don't think I would live in China long-term. I'd do it for 6 months to a year, but any longer than that I don't think would be worth it. The Chinese are in their own world and it seems pretty much impossible for Westerners to ever become a part of, or even welcome into, the culture. If I were to live there long-term, I'm pretty sure I would feel just as much an outsider even after several years.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:11 AM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,648,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
I'm quite familiar with these. They are just as expensive as Shanghai in terms of daily costs, hotels, meals, etc. (Property values are cheaper, but I don't think the OP was talking about that.)
It's been a few years since I have been there, but those were some of my favorite Chinese cities.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:17 AM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,807 posts, read 812,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
Hangzhou indeed is beautiful. It's got a lot of new construction, giving it a very modern look. As someone else mentioned, it's definitely more "Chinese" than Shanghai. Every time I've gone to Hangzhou I've seen few Westerners, and this last time I don't think I saw any. Housing is about 1/3 the cost of Shanghai but probably will continue to go up as they seem to be putting a lot of money into the city to make it more of a "first-tier" type of city.
I don't think I would live in China long-term. I'd do it for 6 months to a year, but any longer than that I don't think would be worth it. The Chinese are in their own world and it seems pretty much impossible for Westerners to ever become a part of, or even welcome into, the culture. If I were to live there long-term, I'm pretty sure I would feel just as much an outsider even after several years.

The longer you live in a foreign country(I mean,any foreign country), the more critical you are of the culture.

If you read stories of British expats in Spain, you'll notice that many of them started to hate Spain after a year or two.

Foreigners living in China long-term generally have very negative views of China.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,880 posts, read 9,502,858 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
The longer you live in a foreign country(I mean,any foreign country), the more critical you are of the culture.
This may or may not be true, but as far as China goes there's a different thing going on. Foreigners will never be able to integrate into the culture, it doesn't matter how well you speak the language or how much you love their culture.

The mentality of the Chinese culture is very closed off to foreigners. They are really only concerned with themselves; other cultures and peoples are just on the periphery of their vision. So there's two barriers that prevent foreigners from feeling that they can become assimilated: the language, and the Chinese mentality. You can learn the language but you still won't be welcome. This is in contrast to a lot of other places in the world where you can move to as a foreigner and you can assimilate. But not China.

My understanding is that, in Chinese history, the land of China is regarding as a place "between heaven and earth". According to their history, no other place occupies this honor. They don't consider other places bad, they simply consider themselves as special.

I like to tell people that, to the Chinese the rest of the world are just customers. And this is basically true.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:29 AM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,648,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
The longer you live in a foreign country(I mean,any foreign country), the more critical you are of the culture.

If you read stories of British expats in Spain, you'll notice that many of them started to hate Spain after a year or two.

Foreigners living in China long-term generally have very negative views of China.
My uncle is a psychologist who worked almost entirely with expats in Asia for decades and his opinions is that it's a curve. Every individual is somewhat different. His perspective was that most expats go through 3 stages. First stage is the "rose tinted glasses" stage where everything is new and exciting. That can last from a few months to a couple of years. Second stage is the "shock" stage, the tinted glasses disappear and you see the local culture as it really is, the problem is the expat hasn't adapted to the local culture. This can last a short time or a long time. Some expats never attempt to adapt (or can't) and remain miserable. Some leave. The final group "adapt" to the local culture and the shock wares off. Adapt in this sense doesn't necessarily mean assimilate to the local culture entirely.

Most expats leave very shortly after the shock phase which is why so many expats have negative views of where they live. China's tough because their culture does not allow non-Chinese people to assimilate. No matter what an expat does, he will always be a foreigner.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
1,368 posts, read 551,768 times
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Philly = Harbin

Both are situated in the Northeast. Both are close to or right in the rust belt. Both offer something for tourists but not much. Both winters are frigid.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,807 posts, read 812,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
This may or may not be true, but as far as China goes there's a different thing going on. Foreigners will never be able to integrate into the culture, it doesn't matter how well you speak the language or how much you love their culture.

The mentality of the Chinese culture is very closed off to foreigners. They are really only concerned with themselves; other cultures and peoples are just on the periphery of their vision. So there's two barriers that prevent foreigners from feeling that they can become assimilated: the language, and the Chinese mentality. You can learn the language but you still won't be welcome. This is in contrast to a lot of other places in the world where you can move to as a foreigner and you can assimilate. But not China.

My understanding is that, in Chinese history, the land of China is regarding as a place "between heaven and earth". According to their history, no other place occupies this honor. They don't consider other places bad, they simply consider themselves as special.

I like to tell people that, to the Chinese the rest of the world are just customers. And this is basically true.
I'm Chinese, so I'm probably biased but I'll try to be fair.

In ancient times, people didn't have the means to travel outside China or even gain much information from the outside world. Actually, at certain periods ancient China was often a conglomerate of independent kingdoms. A present-day Chinese province or region could be considered as a nation. It's not really about honor, but present-day China was pretty much the whole world people were aware of.

But that's all about history, not today. Every Chinese knows that China is a third world country like Mexico. Chinese are probably more concerned with foreign countries than Americans for practical reasons - China is dependent on Western countries economically and technologically. Among all foreign cultures, the Chinese favor Japanese culture more than Western culture.

Assuming you are a citizen of a developed country. Many Chinese probably simply don't understand why you would want to downgrade to a third world country plagued by air pollution and Internet censorship. It's not like they don't welcome you to their community, they are just puzzled.

The definition of assimilation is debatable. I don't think Chinese in the U.S assimilate better than Americans do in China. It's difficult for we adults to learn a foreign language and culture very well. You would probably view it differently if you moved to China as a toddler.

In Shanghai, we even have restaurants like P.F Chang, Quiznos, and Cheesecake Factory. There's no dearth of Japanese ramen, pasta or even paella. The diverse food scene rivals world-class cities in Texas. The only thing that constantly disappoints me is BBQ, any BBQ joint in Texas is far better. But I find BBQ in Oklahoma and Memphis disappointing too, Kansas City is decent though. If we were oblivious to foreign cultures, we wouldn't bother paying money to sample world cuisine.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,807 posts, read 812,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
My uncle is a psychologist who worked almost entirely with expats in Asia for decades and his opinions is that it's a curve. Every individual is somewhat different. His perspective was that most expats go through 3 stages. First stage is the "rose tinted glasses" stage where everything is new and exciting. That can last from a few months to a couple of years. Second stage is the "shock" stage, the tinted glasses disappear and you see the local culture as it really is, the problem is the expat hasn't adapted to the local culture. This can last a short time or a long time. Some expats never attempt to adapt (or can't) and remain miserable. Some leave. The final group "adapt" to the local culture and the shock wares off. Adapt in this sense doesn't necessarily mean assimilate to the local culture entirely.

Most expats leave very shortly after the shock phase which is why so many expats have negative views of where they live. China's tough because their culture does not allow non-Chinese people to assimilate. No matter what an expat does, he will always be a foreigner.
His theory makes a lot of sense. The best part is assimilation vs adaptation. In my opinions, locals shouldn't expect foreigners to assimilate and expats don't need to pressure themselves to assimilate. In fact, few expats, if any, want to be Chinese. If you don't want to be Chinese, why would you mind being a foreigner? Unless you want to run for office(which isn't possible in China anyway), being a foreigner is completely fine, you won't miss many perks.

At least in Shanghai, we've used to seeing foreigners living in the city longterm(maybe permanently, but we don't bother to ask, I find Chinese very tolerant). If they want, they can certainly engage in local activities and be part of the community. Downplaying the foreigner-or-not issue is where we are tolerant and malleable. If we forced foreigners living in China longterm to be naturalized, loyal to China exclusively, join the army, chant China first in rallies, I guess expats would be outraged, not thankful for being accepted as nonforeign.
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,859 posts, read 3,427,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
This may or may not be true, but as far as China goes there's a different thing going on. Foreigners will never be able to integrate into the culture, it doesn't matter how well you speak the language or how much you love their culture.

The mentality of the Chinese culture is very closed off to foreigners. They are really only concerned with themselves; other cultures and peoples are just on the periphery of their vision. So there's two barriers that prevent foreigners from feeling that they can become assimilated: the language, and the Chinese mentality. You can learn the language but you still won't be welcome. This is in contrast to a lot of other places in the world where you can move to as a foreigner and you can assimilate. But not China.

My understanding is that, in Chinese history, the land of China is regarding as a place "between heaven and earth". According to their history, no other place occupies this honor. They don't consider other places bad, they simply consider themselves as special.

I like to tell people that, to the Chinese the rest of the world are just customers. And this is basically true.
There is a reason why the Chinese call themselves Zhongguoren and their country "Zhongguo" or the Middle Kingdom for thousands of years and it because of this very reason you stated. Granted China and especially the part of China the Han Chinese live is locked in by harsh geography, it was not easy to travel to other lands in ancient times and so the Han Chinese survived not knowing much about foreign lands and people and not caring much either. Assimilations have happened before in China's history however. The part of China my family is from, the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province, was supposedly inhabited in the past by several tribes known as the Yue that were more related to Southeast Asians but gradually were overcome by people from the north starting in the Han Dynasty until they all assimilated into one people. Nowadays, if you ask Cantonese whether they consider themselves Chinese or not, they will in return give you a puzzled look. That and there is evidence that a small number of Arabs and Turkic peoples integrated with the local Chinese in Southern China. This assimilation of peoples of non-Mongolian stock into Chinese is a rare instance in Chinese history. So no, it is not impossible for other peoples to integrate into Chinese culture and society but it is not likely to happen often.
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