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Chinese Silk Fan

Making a Silk Fan by Hand In Guilin

Lion Dance

Rural Chinese Ferry

Washing Clothes in the Li River, Guilin

Local Vendors Stall at a Foshan Wet Market

Fish Likes Tacos - Johns Bar, Foshan

Owner of a Dumpling Shop - ShenZhen

Lads Enjoying Street Food - ShenZhen

ZhaoQing University  Stop - Typical of Many Similar Outlets

Local Fisherman of the Li River, Guilin. The Cormorant's are trained birds used for fishing! They can count up to 7 fish, after which time they will not dive again unless fed!

Owner of My Local Corner Shop - Foshan

Typical Foshan Backstreet

Security Saluting With a Cup of Tea

Time to Relax in Hong Kong
Useful Advice for Tourists Visiting China
Social Observations - Communities
The aim of this section is to give those travelling to China for the first time an insight into the lives of ordinary Chinese People

I will not do politics, in fact I doubt that anyone outside of a simple peasant village balanced upon the brink of survival, actually has a grasp of what real life is all about. Chinese have a closer understanding than most Westerners however...

I have noted that democratic systems tend to breed a high proportion of individuals = people who will take on the world, pioneers and entrepreneurs etc. I have also noted that Chinese peoples are very much more family and community oriented = they are a communal people, and I know even the lowest paid send money home each month for the family. They also expect to take care of their parents in old age, and other family - we have virtually lost this type of thinking in the West

I have personally witnessed six 20-something girls take 90-minutes to hang a picture on a wall - - obviously the bosses wishes; compounded by street feng shui, effectiveness, called friends and parents for advice, etc. Gawd knows? It took me 2 seconds to eventually bang the nail in. However, everyone was very happy with the result = a picture hanging on a wall. Inclusion is what I am trying to relate in this section. Chinese people apply it to all aspects of their daily lives automatically - and they are naturally a very communal people

Chinese International and National Thinking
This is where you can rip up the text books and political propagandae, and learn about how it really is...

Excepting specific aboriginal cultures (Australian Aborigine and Maori especially), Chinese culture is by far the oldest in terms of human history. They traded with Ancient Egyptian Empires, and can track and date their ancestry back to 19, 000 BC

Stop and think about that for a moment = twenty-one thousand years ago, and still counting...

This is an extremely 'Old' Country, known for millennia as 'The Land of the Dragon', which nowadays tends to show publicly 'The Face of the Happy Lion'. It is actually 'The Land of The Beneficial Dragon', and will remain so, ad infinitum...

Chinese people consider any race that thinks with their side of the brain as being family (Right vs Left hemispheres etc), and virtually all are considered either 'Brothers' or 'Wayward Son'

Chinese are also a most forgiving people, given you admit your mistake and say sorry + try and learn from it. The British, French, and other European nations, did some very despicable and atrocious things here in China just over one-hundred years ago. It is ok now - we fought in India and Burma with our Chinese allies, against the Japanese, only 75 years ago. I doubt western history books even mention this nowadays? The Chinese remember it daily

I am currently working on what I choose to call 'A Potted History of China', which explains Taiwan easily, as it does other Sino relationships. I have already written one for Britain, which you can get here - it is very different from school books, but quite perceptually accurate I consider

Most Cantonese are slim, short, and slight in stature. Girls are seldom much over 5' high, whilst boys are normally around 5' 6". They have very dark brown or black eyes, black hair, oval faces, and have single eyelids = no crease of their eyelids. In old age their hair does not change colour, and neither do they go bald. They do not really have body hair at all, although some boys may have hairy legs, and it can take them weeks to grow a small beard. They are naturally of a tanned complexion, and refer to themselves as 'The Yellow People'. 'Wong' is Cantonese for yellow, as 'Huang' is for Mandarin spelling - both common surnames.

Dress is nearly always either Casual or Smart-Casual, mainly due to the heat and humidity. Business clothes are normally trousers and polo shirt for Bosses, whilst minions will often wear a casual style uniform consisting of slacks and short sleeved shirt. Schoolchildren wear jogging type suits, of uniform conformity. Everyday streetware is invariably jeans and tee-shirt. Evenings echo business days, with boys in trousers and top, whilst girls love to dress in the latest and most varied fashions imaginable.

Many city based Cantonese will spend fortunes on hairstyles, and girls especially go for many facials and hair colouring's and/or styling's. Modern girls all want to be white - and spend fortunes on creams and lotions! In the West, we all want to be tanned - and this disparity amuses me!

Most Cantonese are very short-sighted, and you can guarantee that around 80% of girls, and 70% of boys need to wear glasses from a very early age. Most people you meet will wear contact lenses.

To create individuality, most girls rely on hairstyles and clothing. Boys tend to think this is stupid - whilst loving the results hehe! Instead boys tend to buy the best shoes, wrist watches, and latest gadgets such as mobile phones, I-Pods, etc

Jewellery is very popular and common. Jade is revered above virtually all other adornments, although gold and diamonds are always very popular. Nearly all jewellery worn by Cantonese is small, dainty, and very fine = cultured. Points to note: Modern girls like to adopt the Western engagement ring as a sign they are married. This can be worn on any finger, often the middle finger of the left hand (As their hands are so small and dainty). Traditionally, a wife wears a Jade bracelet on her left wrist to signify she is married - although for some younger girls working away from home, this may actually be a protective gift from her mother or Aunt, and means - 'Boys keep your hands off!'. As well as the bracelet, many brides also receive a Jade necklace, earrings and gold on their wedding day. Boys do not wear anything to indicate they are married. Otherwise, a Jade pendent, most often a Buddha, is worn by most Cantonese. A crucifix is also quite common, especially amongst city girls

I can't really say that Chinese practice religion as we know it in the west. Cantonese are predominantly Buddhist by nature and upbringing, and follow Buddhist practices as required by traditions at certain times of the year. They may also send the occasional prayer or wish concerning a close person in trouble, seek personal advice, or honour a personal date. Otherwise if they are not definitely a confirmed Buddhist, they carry on life as normal for most of the year. Other religions are tolerated, most with good humour and a little interest. They do not like invasive religions at all nor tolerate their protagonists, as this is not a Chinese path in life

Cantonese Street Thinking
Cantonese are very proud to be Cantonese

They deeply respect Beijing, and their own Families. They are historically, the only Open Face of China for Millennia, and physically removed from Greater China by virtually impassible mountain ranges. This also includes a much wider area encompassing parts of politically defined neighbouring Provinces and Countries (Parts of Guangxi Province and Hainan Island especially; Southern: Fujian, Jiangxi and Hunan Provinces; and even areas of Northern Vietnam). The areas in question will speak Cantonese

The only Cantonese peoples who do not speak Cantonese are distinct Ethnic Minorities. Otherwise, non-Cantonese speakers are Usually perceived as 'Outsiders'. Westerners are often treated far better, and are not expected to know how to speak Cantonese. Migrant Chinese who come for work are expected to learn how to speak Cantonese, and most don't bother. Invariably, this leads to most of them being looked down upon as second-class people. The theory goes something like this: 'I am Cantonese. I speak my home town dialect, I speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some English. You come here to make money from us, and only speak your version of Mandarin? Of course, no Chinese would ever say this - but this is how it really is on the streets

I do speak Cantonese - albeit very badly! I gain extreme respect for this effort, and languages do not come easily to me at all. I now have about 3, 000 words I can pronounce correctly and use immediately in daily situations = abysmal really. However, I have chosen to learn the right words to let me function at street-level. I can haggle prices in local markets (Not my thing actually), and get far lower prices than Chinese Mandarin speakers! This is your clue...

Cantonese people are like a very extended family. By speaking 'Local Cantonese' my stature as a person is suddenly increased dramatically, and to a point where I may be preferred and trusted more than a native Chinese Mandarin only speaker. However, I also have to act as a Cantonese man would in order for this to be effective in virtually all situations

Most of my personal observations above apply only to Mainland Cantonese from Greater Guangzhou area. In general, Hong Kong Cantonese are very similar, but think quite differently, especially concerning business dealings and money! They will most probably speak a different dialect of Cantonese = the one in all Western phrasebook's. They will call my home city Foshan, pronounced: "F'san-na"; by the name "Fu Shan". Number six will be pronounced 'luk'. Mainland Cantonese will judge you by how 'Noble' you are as a person. Even if a business deal is already agreed, they will refuse to sell to you if you are not in their eyes a 'Noble and Honourable' person. Contrarily, most Hong Kong Cantonese will make a deal with anyone (The ones who use the other dialect). The only proviso is that they make 'One sale only, for the maximum amount of money possible'. They cannot conceive the theory of lower prices for repeat business. This price is for now only! Next time it will for 'xyz' reasons, be higher. This does not apply to all HK Cantonese, only in general, the ones who speak the weird dialect

Strangely, and due in small part to immediate links with Hong Kong + British history in this area, and the eventual results - most Cantonese highly revere British people

These paragraphs aren't exactly what I imagined writing when I started to pen them. Guangdong has a registered population of about 90, 000 Cantonese. In addition a further 40, 000 migrant workers come for employment; making a current total of about 130, 000 people. These figures exclude Hong Kong, Macao, and Cantonese in other parts of China and the world

To summarise this small section, let me state that Cantonese welcome all peoples, and especially respect those who enrich their culture and daily lives. Most will speak some English. They are very interested in foreign people and international events, and are inherently 'Outward Looking' by nature

This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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