Since coming to China in January of 2010, many of my pre-conceived notions about the country and its people have being humbly laid to rest. Without going into details, as it shames me to remember the stereotypes I believed, I'll just go ahead and tell you all the many things I discovered.
They are very open and friendly. Although they can be self-serving at times when it comes to business, who can blame them, with a population of just over 1.3 billion people, its a fight for survival.
They are generous and helpful, although alot of things get lost in translation because of the complexity of the Chinese language and how it relates to the English vocab. They are caring and loving, proof of this you can see in 'one-child' families where the grannies spoil the little ones (pun intended) endlessly. Even though that is the case with grandparents worldwide, I feel their Chinese counterparts emotions alot more intensely because I know they know that this is the only grandchild they'll ever have. Although, these days laws have relaxed a little and some are allowed the luxury of having more than one child, although that is subject to rather strict conditions. Anyway, that is another story.
The point of this journal, is to point out that they are just like any of us. Even without communication, (and I reckon their language is very very hard to learn) a picture still does tell a thousand words. I saw a lone man sitting next to his broken down vehicle waiting for help, dressed in his best clothes that have seen better days, I pictured him being a driver working hard to support his family, doing so with diligence and intergrity - there was that thing about him.
I saw a 30-something mother breastfeeding her child on the sidestreet just outside of a KTV bar, looking forlorn and lost. I pictured her worrying about the next meal and whether her husband would emerge from that bar with any money left for the family.
There are countless stories that are told everytime you look around. It saddens me to see these things and to guess what may or may not be happening. My husband always tells me that Im guessing far too much and doing my head in for nothing, but I like to tell myself, my sense of empathy and awareness is fine tuned and that just one day, I'll put my feeling into actions.