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R.P. BenDedek

Finding Myself in China Chapter 2
By R.P. BenDedek
Aug 4, 2013 - 1:07:07 AM

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Excerpt from Chapter 2 - Arriving in Communist China.

Stereotypes

Prior to my arrival in China all I knew was that it was a huge militaristic and Communist country that would one day try to take over the world. If I had ever stopped to think what it must be like to live in China, I probably would have thought that there were soldiers with guns standing on every corner, and that the citizens (read Students!) would be very disciplined, macho, and obedient.

Although at the time of my arrival I was consciously unaware of having any preconceptions about China that I did was made obvious by my surprise over the absence of 'armed' personnel. Additionally, I simply couldn't get over how 'gay' everyone behaved.

Chinese people are very affectionate with their 'same gendered' friends and relatives. My very first memory of walking through the Number One School in Hong Hu was of boys holding hands with boys, and girls holding hands with girls. Boys had arms wrapped around boys, and girls likewise with girls. I remember turning to my brother who had already had one year of teaching in China under his belt, and saying: 'How come China has such a big population when everyone is Gay?'

Three weeks after our arrival, we had to go to JingZhou to complete necessary paperwork, and on the road trip back, I was sitting in the minivan beside my coordinator, Lawrence. At some point, Lawrence put his hand on my knee. This did not affect me too much, but every time he took his hand away and then put it back, it seemed to get higher and higher up my leg. I eventually came to learn that this is a common cultural behavior between people who feel close. Those who have read the Old Testament might remember that it was customary for oaths to be taken with one hand on the other person's thigh.

Over time I just accepted that Chinese men did not consider it odd to feel my pecs, my thighs, my arms or my butt. It took me a while to realize that none of this was sexual, and that this type of attention was a general indication of how I was viewed, and as such, was better than some of the negative treatment I have received at times.

Whilst there are many foreigners who feel 'obligated' never to mention anything negative about their experiences in China, I have throughout all my public posts, discussed all of my experiences, be they good or bad. I am nothing if not completely and unabashedly 'not politically correct'. Furthermore, I know that many Chinese like to read my articles, because they want to know my 'true feelings'.

In Chinese culture, civility in front of superiors or under certain circumstances is the norm, and that civility includes not speaking the truth, and sometimes downright lying. It is part of the 'face saving' culture of China. In the West, I would just call it 'Political Correctness', which in my opinion, is the art of 'not saying what you really mean while saying something that makes you to appear to be a nice person'. Frankly, I much prefer the adage so often used by my old and dearly departed Scottish friend Alistair Renshaw, who would say: 'You can hit me - just don't sh*t me!

The Chinese customs relating to honoring guests and visitors means that foreigners are treated very well when being received by schools or other organizations, and our reception into the Number One School in Hong Hu was no exception. We were wined and dined, and had all our needs met. The school authorities bent over backwards to accommodate us and provide us with a suitable environment within which to live. (The classrooms were another matter.)

It was only the other day (2007) that I heard a horror story about the demands of a certain foreign teacher here in Suzhou, and it makes me wonder what expectations the teacher had or perhaps what lifestyle he lived back home in his own country. For myself, having grown up in traditional Australian wooden homes called 'Queenslanders', and being old enough to remember wooden stoves, ice boxes, outdoor toilets, and the introduction of the ball point pen, television, computers and many appliances that today are taken for granted, the apartment provided me in Hong Hu was like something from the set of the television series 'Dallas'. It was a vast improvement over the flat I had been renting in Australia.

All in all, from the first day in China up until my first day in Class, my life in China looked like a vast improvement over my life in Australia. Of course the real test was yet to come. I had yet to actually stand before a class of Chinese Students.

R.P. BenDedek
Email: rpbendedek@hotmail.com

Writers Journal Kingscalendar

2013 Social Commentary Articles

Giving the Finger to Comrade GOOGLE's brand of Communism
By Comrade R.P. BenDedek
August 26, 2013

I have come to the decision that the only thing I can do is take a page out of Comrade Google's 'Little Red Book' and say: 'Screw You!' Comrade Google didn't like the way the Communist Government of China kept changing the rules. Comrade Google would not submit to a 'totalitarian authority'. Comrade Google decided to pull up stakes and leave. Is there a lesson to be learned in that?

Learning to Hate The U.S.A.
by R.P. BenDedek
August 11, 2013

American Education is actively turning young Americans into terrorists. The speaker is Brigitte Gabriel (pseudonym), a Lebanese American journalist, author, and activist. Within the video she produces documents which purport that despite so called separation of State and Church, Islam is being introduced to school children at school, and via injection of big dollars into universities all over the USA, Students are being taught to hate the USA.


R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (
http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.

Writers Journal Kingscalendar

"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls


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