Friday, November 09, 2007

So, China Dirt #1

For the last few weeks I’ve been reading Chinadirt, where expat women are invited to tell their ‘horror stories from the front lines’ Headlining with a cliché isn’t the best way to make a reader stick around; no more is ‘wierd’ for ‘weird’ and ‘diasterous’ for ‘disastrous.’ Such solecisms may be overlooked in a hurried entry but in the permanent text of a site it might make one suspect sloppy writers are sloppy thinkers.

But no matter to that -- let us look beyond mere pedantry (for I am sure in the many thousands of words below I have made one or two errors) to the meat of the thing.

Here’s ‘The Running Man’:-

You came along when I was slaving away at a job in which each day felt like a tour through every layer of Dante's Inferno. You were like a breath of fresh air rushing through lungs that were drying out from ten hours a day in hell. You taught me to relax. You taught me there was more to life than work, work, work. You assured me that it was OK and even noble to enjoy life.

You seemed to live life so well. "He seems so calm, so happy, so Zen," I thought to myself, "whereas I'm always frantic and stressed." Looking around at the stacks of reports and screen full of unanswered work emails that made up my life, I realized that my long hours in the eternally 23 degrees celsius office had robbed me of the knowledge of even what season it was outside. I decided you, with your carefree manner, jovial laugh and long nights spent bonding with friends, had a better way. Almost spiritual.

I learned a lot from my time with you. I learned to live in the moment. I learned to put friends ahead of meetings. I learned that an extra hour of intimate late night conversation is well worth being tired the next day. I learned to leave work behind when I exit the office.

But the biggest lesson I learned is that you're not the deep, spiritual, life-embracing man I thought you were. You're just a scared little boy.

And then ‘Requiem to a Relationship’:-

Though only a month back, I feel slightly alien when thinking about my New Years resolution. “Ok, me,” I thought, “enough of this relationship hopping. It’s time to refocus on yourself. You can’t avoid the ache of being alone forever.” And then he came along with and in feeling him wrap around me I thought that it would be different this time around, it would be better, it would last. Why worry about the cycle when this was obviously going to be the one that would break it? And so, I dipped my toe back into the pool and was so swelled with hope that I didn’t even realize when I fell in. I didn’t even realize that I started drowning in the idealism of him and me until it was too late.

Then the relationship stopped, killed softly in its sleep with a whimper. Aborted before it was ever even alive, and all the hope that I had been bottling into it floated out dead and limp in a puddle of tears. Then before I knew it, the near decade of hazy transitions fell on me at full force, slamming me with eight years of repressed heartache.

And so on it goes, expat woman after expat woman complaining about what toads and bugs we expat men are, what goats and monkeys.

We know this. This is not news to us.

Of course the most of us are sleazy. Yes, we chase, chase and chase some more and when we get a woman it never satisfies us; of course we treat China as a paradise. Of course; we are gods here and no matter how aged, halt or hopeless we look in the mirror and we see Dionysius, Apollo; we look with the eyes of what Chinese culture allows us to be. Why would we not?

Running Man – So you’re looking for Virgil to lead you out of the Inferno – and god knows you need the advice on poetics too. But the guy you found doesn’t want to be your guide, he’s no Virgil, no. You placed the hatred you have for your job square on his shoulders. But need scares men. We don’t want it. Do you think he wanted to be your savior? It is no wonder he ran. And then when he didn’t measure up to your impossible expectations you cursed him. Oh, I understand why and you’ve got the right of it, no doubt; he is scared, sure, returning the ticket of commitment, thank-you, and leaving. He is a little boy. As are we all.

Requiem for a Relationship – Just like the ‘Running Man’ you have all this need in you, this hunger, and you dump it all on the shoulders of the guy. You see him as what you want him to be, not as what he is, and all your need, your hunger, your vacuum – all on him, all buckling and crushing him. And you seem to know it now, I’ll give you that – ‘I didn’t even realize that I started drowning in the idealism of him and me until it was too late.’ Maybe I misunderstood your writing, but you apparently indicate you knew this guy for less than a month, decided he was the answer to all your needs and then – could you not see it coming? – the relationship was ‘aborted before it was ever even alive.’ Of course it was; you killed it. I tell you, every guy who reads what you wrote – every single one of us – will think just as I thought (for there is little I think that is new) – ‘Thank fuck I never met her’ and ‘Wow, imagine dating a woman like that!’

Get out of your bathtub of self-indulgent mush, stop feeling so damn sorry for yourself and act like a responsible member of the human race. Spine - Spine - Spine! Then we won’t be running away from you because fuck knows, just reading your tense, brittle text, I’m lacing up my Nikes to follow the runner above.

I had a friend, very dear to me, and she gave me this advice: Think of the blue whale. This is not as glib nor absurd as it might sound. ‘Imagine being almost the last of your kind,’ she said, ‘Hunted close to extinction, your environment poisoned. Imagine that.’ And it works, it really does. Think of where you are and where you could be, and it’s pretty easy to say ‘fuck this’ to your maunderings (as this friend did to me, later, though that is another story…)

And ‘Fuck this’ is worth exploring some, for it is at the heart of our experience as expats in China. It is at the heart of what it is to be a male – or at least a male expat in China. We are here and we date Chinese women because we have said ‘fuck this’ to the expectations of dating in the West.

Ah, yes, turning our backs on the West. And here the ‘loser back home’ trope comes in, and what a lazy bit of writing that is. From the site:

Sometimes I feel like one of the main reasons expat guys come to China is because life back in their home countries had gone drastically wrong. What? you're over 30 and have never held a real job? Oh? You failed out of university in your second year and don't have any direction in life? Hm? You're addicted to cocaine and are exiled from your home country? Ah? You have mysterious twitches and smell a bit funny?

Now how breathtakingly arrogant – how passingly patronizing. What, China is such a lowball country that any monkey can hold down a job here? China has no standards? Do you think when Western Firm X wants to expand into China they rummage round the garbage cans out back to find some hapless stooge to send? Or do you rather think they reason ‘We gotta spend a shed of cash on this, let’s pick a live one’?

Yes, sure, we treat Chinese women like shit in the large of it, but that is not because we are failed men. It is because we are men. Just men; and China allows the inner nature that every man holds to come to the surface. It allows us to say ‘fuck it’ to the checks and balances of Western dating; and that freedom, which many men do not get, allows our baser side to show – to an extreme. We don’t come here because we’re rotten; it is rather that the inner rot that lies in the core of most men can grow and flourish here. Like a full-acorned boar, we all want to cry O and mount – as ‘Western Girl’ (from Chinadirt) writes:-

If "western girl" means having enough self-respect not to hop into bed with a man I've known for less than six hours in gratitude for one lousy 60 kuai dry martini, then I'm proud to be a hardass Western girl.

I did think to ask ‘So how much would you hop into bed for? A 600 kuai martini? A 6000 kuai bottle of wine?’ – but the truth of it is you’re right to be proud, angered, on your mettle.

Joseph Conrad, an incomparably great writer, one word of his worth ten thousand mine, wrote of a certain kind of Westerner in Asia:-

‘The majority were men who ... had been thrown there by some accident, had remained as officers of country ships. They now had a horror of the home service, with its harder conditions, severer view of duty, and the hazard of stormy oceans. They were attuned to the eternal peace of Eastern sky and sea. They loved short passages, good deck chairs, large native crews, and the privilege of being white. They shuddered at the thought of hard work, and led precariously easy lives, always on the verge of engagement, serving Chinamen, Arabs, half-castes – would have served the devil himself had he made it easy enough. They talked everlastingly of turns of luck: how So-and-so got charge of a boat on the coast of China – a soft thing; and how this one had an easy billet in Japan somewhere, and that one was doing well in the Siamese navy; and in all they said – in their actions, in their looks, in their persons – could be detected the soft spot, the place of decay, the determination to lounge safely through existence.’


Don said...

This is good stuff, man. I read some of the angry reactions to you, and my feeling was much the same as yours. The world is full of critical idealists, but I have gotten to know a few people like that and the odds are that for every one who is truly "a man" by his own lights and can look with honest disdain on another who indulges his inner beast, there are ten more who wax superior mostly because they do not yet know themselves.

Anonymous said...

u are fucking stupid man. You are shit.

Foobear said...

Great quote from Conrad, but I couldn't read the stories from the expat women. My brain started hurting by the third sentence.

KS said...

Lol, hey let the Females hate on you, deep down inside of them, they have deep founding love for you. :)

Keep up the good Blogging!

Slipstream said...

Hey Hey

Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

Huh. I thought the wacky Chinese nationalists had chased you off for good.

Please write more of this kind of stuff and less of the overt pornography. This stuff is interesting and worth considering; the other stuff not so much.

chinapounder said...

wow you are a little bitch, bitching and moaning about social politics just because some stupid little Chinamen are chasing after you. It makes you a REAL humanitarian bitching and moaning on an internet blog behind a proxy so these little Chinamen can't beat you with nun chucks. Get out there are tell it like it is outside instead of hiding behind a blog you worthless shit.

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work. dont worry about those self-righteous bastards and indignant women, there are at least half a million hong kong and taiwan expat guys working in China who agree with you...and get it fresh every week, paid or otherwise. :)

uklothario said...

good to see you back. Don't let anyone intimidate you into stopping your posts.

Thanks for introducing me to China Dirt. I wouldn't have found it otherwise. I have to agree it's a great example of what sad, pitiable individuals do when faced with a dating situation they don't like - blame somebody else!

JRG said...

Isn't it amazing how many feeble-brained humans are there in this world?

And even more amazing how there is so few beautiful minds like you..

Keep up the wonderful job, and remember to stay anonymous and safe..

And if I may add,
I've been in your position, of course less in aptitude, but I know, or at least I think I know, the feeling..

And I can tell you with great confidence, there is no worse feeling than if you back up from doing what you have been fighting for, and believed in..

The regretful aftermath will be devastating.

So basically, never stop and keep this up. This world needs more intelligent people like you.

Shanghai Baby said...

Hi Chinabounder,
I'm a woman... and I love your blog! I no longer live in Shanghai now.
Don't be too harsh on Chinadirt though, what they meant was that many expat guys, who can't manage to get laid in their home countries, find it much easier in China: Chinese women don't really pay attention to good looks or age when you have money and a passport.

Anonymous said...

You are a very lucky guy in Shanghai ! Most of the Hong Kong girls are awfully boring, ugly and extremely bad in bed. I couldn't believe your stories until I went to Shanghai and experience the huge difference with HK. HK has probably the worst women in Asia, but attracts some of the best and brightest from the western world... Is there any justice in this world :)

Companies should move their headquarters and western staff to Shanghai ASAP and leave this HK hell.

FOARP said...

Loved the Lord Jim quotation, I first read it when I was over there and he nailed the whole expat thing (not only in China) pretty much head on. There are also plenty of 'Jims' in China who seem to take everything on themselves, I suppose that both types are a reflection of the basic childishness of expat life, For myself, I always tried to avoid falling into either category, not always successfully.

Congratulations on being back, I look forward to seeing more posts.

real siyan shanghai said...

Chinadirt" is a retarded wanker! Just an ordinary dude got sick in his fucked up head!

Anonymous said...

Are Asian men more sexist and chauvinistic compared to Middle Eastern, Latin, Anglo/American, Jewish orthodox, or Christian fundamentalist men?

In my opinion, yes Asian countries, just like all countries in the world, have gender problems and issues that go back a long time in many cultures. However, Western mass media constantly stereotypes, and thus influences millions, on the idea that Asian men are somehow way more sexist or chauvinist or oppressive than the average male.

This gives some White males what I call 'White Knight' syndrome, and also gives some self-hating, brainwashed Asian girls a convenient excuse to hide their White worship. Hell, almost all of Uncle Tom Amy Tan's books, like 'Joy Luck Club', pander to White audiences by reinforcing this sexist oppressive stereotype, and paint White men as the saviors. 'Miss Saigon' is another example. It's like feminism gone totally byserk because it's mixed in with White worship and Asian men bashing, which feminists of other typically cultures don't do (specifically blame their culture of men instead of see it as a global gender issue across many cultures). For example, when's the last major movie you saw by a Middle Eastern feminist that totally bashes M.E. men, and where all the women marry White guys?

From my own personal experience which is based on mostly Chinese families, I think the myth is false. In Asia, most TV commercials cater to women, you never see advertisements for things that guys like, most of the movies are chick flicks or soap opera type stories, and all entertainment has a 'cutesy' girly feel and content that caters to females. I've also seen almost all Chinese moms totally boss and control their sons, and totally control their husbands, and most women control almost all the money in the household. People who've been to places like Shanghai know that most men do all the cooking and cleaning, the women act like princesses.

In Chinese culture, women never change their last names, every Chinese woman I met who was addressed in Mandarin was to her Maiden name, never the husband's last name like in Western society. Chinese women on a per capita basis work more than White women. Chinese women are often-times depicted as strong heroines in Chinese films, whereas White women are basically the sex interest in most White movies.

I will say I don’t know enough about Japan to deny that they may be sexist, however I would contend that that it’s related to them emulating Western/White sexism and Western chauvinism going all the way back to the days of Meiji Restoration and emulating Whites (and not catching as much as much after the West changed due to feminism).

Additionally, some superiority complex White Knights bring up foot binding, as evidence of horrible Asian male oppression. Yet when is the last time you heard White men accused of being sexist and oppressive for tight suffocating corsets, or for metal chastity belts, or even painful plastic surgery in modern times? Foot binding was sad, but just like with beauty treatments White women used to do and still do, these kinds of practices are really pushed by other women, thinking that's what men like (which is a global gender issue, not a specifically 'horrible Asian men' issue).

Finally, consider animal mating. Men are biologically programmed to spread their seed; a male-dominated culture will have men with more multiple partners without childrearing responsibility. A female dominated culture will have less 'player mentality' and more emphasis on childrearing. Now, of all the cultures in the world, do Asian cultures fit the former or latter? This paragraph is also related to what a poster name kwak said in a different thread, about Asian women in Asia seeming more romantically naive; if this is true, I believe it is because there is less 'player mentality' in Asia compared to the West.

Anonymous said...

I used to at least respect that I thought Chinabounder was open to truth and being brutally honest, however seeing that he's deleted the comments from the past month, I think he's just an insecure little boy who plays 'earmuffs' when he doesn't like what he hears.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a lot of romantic success by expats here has nothing to do with you, but the fact that some or many Asians have White worship, self hate, and inferiority complex. This is why there are so many disporportionately attractive pairs with a young girl whose face is beaming like she won a prize or something, and a White guy who is most likely fat, old, bald, wimpy, awkward, or a social reject from his home nation. Some or many of you are social predators taking advantage of Asians who are obsessed with branding and prestige (and brainwashed by the global media machine the 'brands' Whites as the best).

ChinaBounder said...

Anonymous said ‘…..however seeing that he's deleted the comments from the past month..’

I delete no comments except advertising.

Anonymous said...

Chinabounder, I'm a woman from China. Like Shanghai Baby said, "I love your blog", even though I read only a few sentences from a couple of your articles...because this is the funniest thing I've read the whole day. Gee, I mean, dude, get a life. I don't give a shit what chinadirt is all about, but it's so funny how seriously you took it. What shocked me was a shameless piece of sh*t could get mad. I applaud you.

You damn well know what a piece of sh*t you are, and deep down you're in denial. Funnier thing is what the Don guy said "truly 'a man' by his own lights". Oh, this is so hilarious! You guys are nothing but legend on your own mind. Oh this is so funny! "Yes, sure, we treat Chinese women like shit in the large of it, but that is not because we are failed men. It is because we are men. Just men; and China allows the inner nature that every man holds to come to the surface." This is rationalization, and you know it!

Usually when I read something like this, I just laugh at it. It's degrading even to address you in the beginning of this message. In China, we usually think of Englishmen as gentlemen. One day, I mentioned that to my husband, who is not from China. He laughed and said, "we never think of them as gentlemen but those who have body odor because they don't take showers." hmm...I wonder if those Chinese women asked you to take a shower before you guys f*ck.

My husband wouldn't be proud of me for the strong words I used.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Really appreciate your courage as a man on paper as I suspect men will nenver ever say things like that in real life.

Thanks for the courage to set thing straight for the females(foreign or Chinese). I guess now it's their choice in terms of how to use this information to their advantage (or not).

Anonymous said...

You guys really take yourself waaaay to serious. Expat in Shanghai? Wow...

Niubi4 said...

welcome back! Let the new semester begin.

gelatoadventures said...

You forgot about the foreign importers importing from china manufacturers. I recently got shafted in one of these cases.

Ordered an ice cream machine that never worked since the first day it got delivered and had no way to get a refund or having it fixed even though its supposedly under warranty.

Anonymous said...

what a fucking faggot.
have fun being jobless back home