Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are these normal?

Well guys, we've been slowly chipping away at the mountain of things that are "normal" here but would raise eyebrows back home. I'm having fun writing this series, but there is just way too much material to do it all justice. So today, I'll just toss out a bunch of cultural norms that I may or may not ever get around to writing about in detail:
  • Wearing your clothes multiple days in a row
  • Wearing your coat inside
  • Tossing bones and other non-edibles directly on the table when eating
  • Slurping noodles
  • Running up on stage to give a performer a bouquet while he is singing
  • Addressing people by their titles ("Teacher," "Administrator," "Older Sister") rather than their names
  • Covering your mouth with your hand when you laugh (girls)
  • Carrying your girlfriend's purse (boys)
  • Learning stuff by memorizing and reciting long passages
  • Having your baby soon after marriage
  • Denying compliments ("Who, me?")
  • Eating chicken feet and pig feet
  • Paying with cash
  • Spitting on the street (men)
  • Having romantic pop songs as your ring tone (all genders, all ages)
  • Getting IV antibiotics whenever you are sick
  • Bargaining
  • Singing off-key
Ah, I feel better getting all those on the page. Maybe I should start keeping a running list of all the nutty things that have somehow started to seem normal. Of course, I've given you mostly surface stuff, but there's a deeper level of "normal" that would probably include things like:
  • Saving face
  • Keeping face
  • Giving face
  • Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships
  • Being devoted to your parents
  • Submitting to your superiors
  • Conforming
  • Respecting the elderly
  • Cultivating economic development
  • Being patriotic
  • Maintaining harmony at all costs
  • Solving problems through intermediaries
But these are not quite so entertaining, so I'll stop there for now. Good night!

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