10 Unbelievable Things the Chinese Believe
by Gavin McInnes
November 04, 2011
I lived in Taiwan for four months in the early 90s and have since spent a fair amount of time on China’s mainland, so I can ask this question without being accused of prejudice: What’s up with the Chinese? They tile their living-room floors, keep meat cold by hanging it outside, and think tigers’ private parts are magic.
Unlike multiculturalism’s biggest fans, I’ve actually experienced multiple cultures, and they’re not just us with funny hats. They are different with a capital “D.” Once, on an insufferably hot fifteen-hour bus ride from Beijing to Shanghai, I realized I was about to die of dehydration. I looked to the Chinaman next to me and he communicated the same sentiment with hand gestures and bulging eyeballs. We mimed big glasses of water and considered drinking each other’s tears to stay alive. When the bus finally arrived at a cart selling roasted corn with nothing on it, he patted me on the back as if this wasn’t a mirage and we had arrived at a Hawaiian waterfall. “Dude,” I mimed to someone who had no idea what I was miming, “roasted corn is not known for its thirst-quenching abilities.” As I reluctantly bit into my not-very-juicy cob, I thought, “That’s it. You guys are the opposite of us.”
When I returned to Taipei I told this story to one of the few riceballs I knew who could speak English. “You’re inexorably different than us,” I said. “You live in a spooky voodoo land where spirits are everywhere. You make crazy witch’s brew with bear’s glands like it’s going to cure cancer. You send your kids away forever to another country to be educated when they’re ten, and you put fucking kidney beans in your ice cream.” He patted me like a guy who just found some thirst-quenching hot corn and said, “Look, we’ve been doing this for about two million years. The ‘culture’ you know and love is barely a century old. Get back to me when you’re all grown up.” It was a pretty powerful zing but sorry, my people may not know a lot about civilization but we know what we like—and it ain’t China.
It’s hard to believe, but here’s what they believe:
1. THE MORE PAIN AN ANIMAL SUFFERS, THE MORE DELICIOUS IT IS
The Chinese have a saying: “If it moves, it’s food.” They also believe it tastes better if it died in agony. I saw a man walking a dog down the street and it only had two legs. The stumps from the missing back pair were dripping with blood. If he was taking the dog to a potluck, this crippling pain would be ideal because they think suffering makes the sweetest sauce. I’m told it’s something to do with adrenaline, but every time I ask a Western butcher about it, they tell me adrenaline makes meat taste bitter, not better. Even if it did make food more delicious, being able to torture an animal with a huge smile on your face takes a bit of something us Westerners simply do not have.
2. MAO WASN’T SO BAD
Can you imagine huge statues of Hitler all over Germany? Well, he killed a mere six million Jews (at best). Mao killed at least FIFTY MILLION of his own citizens! I have yet to meet a Chink who has any kind of problem with this whatsoever. They’re not even mad about Tiananmen Square. Every time you bring up any kind of Chinese massacre, they inevitably shrug their shoulders and mention something cruel the American government’s done. They’re like Russians. The past stays in the past even if statues of it are thrust into the future. You don’t have to broadcast endless documentaries on how horrible it was the way some victims do, but at least stick a pylon on his head.
3. DEAD PEOPLE ENJOY A GRAVE WITH A VIEW
For the Chinese, the ideal gravesite is up high where the dead can walk out of their plots and enjoy a nice cuppa tea in peace. Many hillside graves include a cement table and chairs where their loved ones can rest their weary dead legs and maybe play a game of Mahjong. Hey, one billion people: When you die, so do your eyeballs. Giving them a grave with a view is a waste of time.
4. BURNT PAPER GOES TO THE AFTERWORLD
What started off as a bit of ghost money to be burnt and passed on to the afterlife has evolved into paper cell phones, paper shoes, paper appliances, and even paper cars burnt as “gifts” to the dead. Their heaven sounds like a huge pain in the ass to me. Why do you need shoes? Are you not walking on clouds? What’s with the car? Can you not fly? In my heaven you don’t need spare change. If you want a new iPhone you just grab one off the shelf and float out of the store.
5. YOU CAN PRAY FOR A CAR
In rural Taiwan I was taken to a shrine where two dog statues are said to represent two sailor’s dogs. The legend is that the dogs were so loyal, they waited by the shore until they starved to death because their masters were lost at sea, never to return. The statues are surrounded by people frantically praying in Mandarin. I asked my Chinese friend what they were saying and he began to eavesdrop. “That one is asking for a new BMW,” he told me, “and that one wants a new washer/dryer.” What is this, The Secret ? You’re supposed to be praying for immaterial things such as good health and love and joy. If you want stuff from a Sears catalog, stop hanging out with dog statues and get back to work.
6. TREES ARE EVIL
In Vancouver, all the McMansions tucked away in the forest are owned by these wealthy Chinese immigrants, and the first thing they do when they set up shop is get rid of those pesky thousand-year-old redwoods full of bad luck. Tree-hugging multiculturalists are left with severe migraines as they try to process a multiculturalism that wreaks ecological havoc.
7. NOTHING TRUMPS SHAME
I didn’t have much money when I lived in Taiwan, but those who did bought scooters and roared through the streets like they owned the place. I was impressed they could get a Chinese license and when I asked one of them how he did it, he said, “I didn’t.” I asked him what happens when the cops stop him. “Oh,” he replied smugly, “I just start yelling at them and they become so embarrassed by their terrible English, they just drive away.”
8. THEIR FEET DON’T STINK
I’ve already mentioned that they burp in your face like it ain’t no thang, but that goes for everythang. Picking your nose and hocking a big loogie onto the sidewalk is like adjusting your glasses. Asians are not stinky as a race, so it’s not like their B.O. would reek up a room. I don’t even think they have B.O. I’ve known a few Asians to move here and be shocked by how much white people smell like hamburgers. However, their feet are something else. As in Japan, all Chinese women insist on wearing brown nylons. This is like wearing plastic bags on your feet all day. They also insist on taking their shoes off indoors. When they unsheathe their feet, it makes Western armpit odor smell like Estée Lauder. I had a friend who owned a body-piercing business in Shanghai. He’d buy miles of wire and have women come to his place and help him shape them into various nose rings and nipple bars. Within minutes of these women entering the apartment and removing their shoes, we’d both run out coughing. It would take a good hour of inhaling dirty Chinese smog to forget the smell.
9. DUST IS DEADLY
You’ll often see Chinese people wearing surgical masks and assume they are trying to avoid germs. Not so. They wear those masks due to a culturally ingrained dustophobia. They think city dust and dirt will infiltrate their lungs and kill them. (They also hide from the sun under newspapers and umbrellas like it’s raining radioactivity.) I worked in a girl’s private school and come lunchtime, every student grabbed a mop or a sponge and headed to their various stations to being cleaning. One poor girl’s job was to clean off my—gasp—chalkboard erasers. She was dressed in HazMat gear and had gloves up to her elbows as well as a fucking gas mask. When she returned from banging them together outside, she handed them back to me as if they were made of uranium. One day after they all started freaking out because I had a chalky handprint on my leg, I started banging the erasers together yelling, “It’s harmless, ladies—calm the fuck down!” They began screaming hysterically so I got even more angry and began chewing a big piece of white chalk while shouting, “IT’S JUST CHALK!” I lost my job.
10. DISHONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
I knew I lost my job when the principal said, “You very good teacher. We call you for next time. Please wait for call. Thank you so much.” The Chinese believe that saving face is all that matters, and the worst thing you could possibly do is be honest with people when conflict arises. Who are you, a tween? I’m Scottish by nature and our entire existence is predicated on making sure nobody has a problem. Why sit next to someone and be uncomfortable all night when you can ask, “Why are you being so weird? Is something wrong?” And this is why I left that godforsaken place. I asked them why they were being so weird and when they pretended nothing was wrong, I realized our differences were irreconcilable and came back home. I also suspected some of them were going pee-pee in my Coke, but that’s a whole other joke.