Please Speak Mandarin T-Shirt by Sinosplice's John Pasden

On the Chinese vs. foreigner language wars

After my last post for Lost Laowai, where I expressed my annoyance with the irritating and pointless public announcements in Chinese public transport, I will now move on to another aspect of life in China which I find irritating: the tendency of the Chinese to address foreigners in English even when it would be easier for both to speak Chinese.

This particular irritation is perhaps not shared by all the foreig…

People on a Chinese public bus

请注意安全: China’s friendly reminder pollution

Over the years I've lived in China, certain aspects of life here have begun to bother me more and more. I think it's normal. Every long term expat has their pet peeves about China. There is one particular thing which began to irritate me when I had been living in China for around three years, and has bothered me ever since. I am talking about the constant noise pollution you suffer when you take any means of publ…

On the “exodus of expats from China”

The debate initiated by Mark Kitto’s article for Prospect Magazine, “You will never be Chinese”, is showing little sign of dying down. Over the last couple of months we have seen more articles by well known expats explaining why they too are leaving the Middle Kingdom and replies by other expats explaining why they are staying put. There have even been articles in the New York Times and other important publications w…

Astrology is for Dummies

New Chinese superstitions: horoscopes and blood groups

One thing you find out pretty soon if you come into contact with Chinese society is that although most Chinese may not follow any organized religion, that does not mean they are immune from holding superstitious beliefs of all kinds. Superstitions relating to traditional Chinese medicine or to feng shui are of course widespread, although in some cases they arguably do contain a kernel of truth. What is more striking …