Land of Lies

Hello, China-lovers! New update from E-dawg due.

Just got back from my fourth weekend teaching English at OURS- school in Jinsong. Considering how it’s an hour away, I requested to only work Sundays and for them to allow me to focus on the students who have already signed up with me, which they agreed to. So now, I’m enjoying a sweet deal of working one day per week with some really cool students. Management is nice, fully capable of communicating in English and easy to deal with, which are huge plusses. There is however one difficulty: they are reckless liars. I have been told that I am absolutely forbidden to reveal my true nationality to the students, as it sounds more high-fly to say that the school employs native speakers. It is also preferable for me to say that I am a full- time teacher with them, and not an exchange-student. Since I studied in Scotland, they simply tell the parents of the kids that I am Scottish. Lollerskates, as I don’t sound the least Scottish, but possibly more Canadian..?

Anyways, It’s getting difficult keeping track of which kid’s parents have been told which story, so I find myself doing damage- control quite frequently, and stopping mid-sentence as soon as any discussion deals with the concept of home or identity. All of the western teachers at the school have a story of their own; completely fabricated by the school of course. When I came home one day, I discussed the matter with my room-mate Alessandro, who is super savvy when it comes to Chinese culture. He explained that the Chinese often lie as a ‘natural’ part of social interaction. Apparently, he once caught his Chinese girlfriend red-handed when lying to some new friends about where she came from. When asked why she did that, she responded ‘well, I don’t know them that well, it’s better to lie’. This makes me very perplexed; when could your origins ever be such a sensitive matter that lying is in order? To me, it just seems very unnecessary, and quite frankly, a tad evil.

Then I came to think about how so much of society here is based on lying. Everywhere you go you see fakes: fake merchandise, propaganda based on lies, white people being payed to pretend to be Scottish/ waiters/ chefs, even blatantly fake money coming out of the ATMs! Hell, even the opening opera- performance of the Tian jin- polo tournament was a complete fake! Maybe, there is absolutely no respect whatsoever for copyright or original matter, since there is no value in what is true or not. Perhaps it is a bold reflection, but this has to be one of the things I find most un-attractive about China. OK, cool, it’s all good to buy converse-shoes for 50 Yuan, but sometimes, you want to be able to rely and depend on a certain standard of quality and conduct. As long as you can earn some money here, any idea of shame goes out the window, and you definitely need to be on guard as to not be fooled to the moon.

On a completely unrelated note, well done JB and Nicki! I feel the panda-hat and my accidental sun-glasses will soon be rocking La Bamba to this tune.

PS: that took me 30 minutes to upload. Rumor has it that internet is particularly impossible since the Chinese elections are happening. Hopefully, it will be better in two weeks time.

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