Qingdao Beer

                        qingdao beer in the uk!                   Recently I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find some Chinese things here where In the UK as I’m just curious about these things.    I’ve finally found Qingdao beer in the local shop. 🙂  It’s different from the Qingdao in Changchun in size and flavour.  The bottle is a very small 330ml almost half the size of the ones in Changchun.  It cost £1.38 or 21元 which is a little expensive considering the size, but not so much here relatively speaking.

Strangely this is 4.7%, much stronger than the 3.8% Qingdao in Changchun and so it tastes quite different!  Not as good in my opinion!

 

 

More on Reverse Culture Shock

I’m getting lazy with upating this, will eventually get around to sorting out the whole website again…

Want to add some of my thoughts on the reverse culture shock thing that happens when you come back to your home country after a while outside. I’m in a weird stage at the moment, past the initial moments but yet to fully assimilate everything.
I found this breakdown of the stages to RCS and have added a few personal thought to them:
STAGE 1: Disengagement

While you are still abroad, you begin to start thinking about moving back home and moving away from your overseas experience and friends.

Yes, very true – especially in the last few weeks/months, start to look forward to getting back home and seeing family/freinds again.

STAGE 2: Euphoria

You may be very excited to be back in your own country and others may be equally delighted to have you back. After people express their pleasure at seeing you again, and listen politely to your stories for a while, you may suddenly and/or painfully realize that they are not particularly interested in what happened to you and would much rather prefer to talk about their own affairs.

Yes true to an extent, though depends on whom you’re talking to. Do notice that most people I know have absolutly no idea what my life was like in China. Really no idea at all. I think It’s very hard for them to imagine what it was like and so perhaps they are more interested in talking about things here in the UK. I know that relating to people is hard, especially if you talk about thing they can’t imagine and they talk about things you don’t know anything of – i.e. anything to do with popluar culture etc!

I just try to keep as busy and occupied as possible, always doing something or other. Whether its work, or visting people or places or just walking somewhere, I find it makes things much easier.

STAGE 3: Alienation

In this stage, you experience dampened euphoria with feelings of alienation, frustration and anger. You may even feel like an outsider – a foreigner in your own country. It will be different from how you remembered it (The pollution may be worse. The pace may be more hurried and hectic, etc.) Suddenly you feel irritated with others and impatient with your own inability to do things as well or as quickly as you hoped. Resentment, loneliness, disorientation and even a sense of helplessness may per vade.

I think I’m in this stage at the moment, I agree things are different from before (It’s not just me 😀 ) and generally I would say they are for the worse. Yes, It’s very easy to get annoyed at other peoples behaviour but for me it’s more of the whole culture of everything that annoys me most – The general way people think and act.
I often see this as myopic and ignorant a general narrow view of life. However, I also see many many positive, great aspects to life here – people are so comfortable, there is no poverty, no food shortages, the police actually do their job, there is much legislation to protect individuals interests, – you can easily live a very comfortable life. So I see why people are like this but on the other hand it really makes me wonder – can I live my life like this?

For most people this is a no-brainer, and the answer is I think is if you live here all your life, in the same area, surrounded by the same influences then you know nothing else. It is comfortable so why risk change!

STAGE 4: Gradual Readjustment

The fourth stage of reentry includes a gradual readjustment to life at home. During this stage, you will no longer be shocked by the variety you find on the supermarket shelves and be able to contain your comments about differences between cultures that come to your attention. If you have difficulty filtering out the foreign words in your conversation, you will find that your English-only conversational skills will improve during stage four.

I’m sure ´Culture Shock´ and ´Reverse Culture Shock´ are real issues and should be considered carefully by anyone who travels overseas for long periods of time. There is no doubt that travelling is an extremely healthy thing to do, it is not only adventurous but we gains insight into our own lives from people and their traditions of Countries we visit. It is also a helpful way to be objective about where we are from, our own lives and a slow process of building more trust in the world as we share more and more of our own native lands with people we historically have deemed to be outsiders.

I’m not at this stage yet, guess it will take more time. I believe there is a part of me that thinks by re-adjusting totally I would be losing things that I have gained from living In China. Also I have this horrible fear that once I’ve ‘readjusted’ I will become like most other people who live here and become stuck in my cocoon, narrow minded, even not wanting to go back to China again. I know many people who, once settled and into this mindset have changed their views on life and have assimilated back into the grind of everyday life. I do not want that to happen to me, but I don’t want to be an outsider. It’s difficult.
I have a theory, I think that perhaps it is not such a good thing to assimilate into everything here, I may live, work,eat, breathe here but I will keep my mind open. However, when you are subjected to living in a culture, you take in thoughts subconsciously- whether this through media or whatever- and I think this has an impact on the way you act/think/do things whether you like it or not!

Don’t work for Jilin University

JILIN UNIVERSITY DOES NOT PAY ITS FOREIGN TEACHERS !

Updated Sep 2019 to remove name of individual who kindly requested their name be removed, as this happened 12 years ago .

This is my final post about this problem, I hope others can learn from this and perhaps it will help them in the future.

This post is a return to the previous jida problem I wrote about in July. I’d almost forgotten about this, until this morning received an email from a Mr Yan asking why the school had not yet received any marks from the final exam I gave to my students. Of course the reasons for this are axiomatic – those marks are the only quid pjilin university lie ro quo I have left.
Am I being un-professional by holding them back? Perhaps but this is my only option. My hand has been forced.

It has crossed my mind just giving in and handing over the marks but this would undermine my position as I have others still persuing them through ‘legal’ means. I feel a little sorry for the students who are caught in the middle of this, they are though, used to such problems happening, it’s just one of the many unfair aspects to the education system in Changchun.

I don’t want to seem to be complaining all the time about things and I wasn’t going to say any more about this on my blog, until I got the email. I now feel compelled to put this here to set the record straight, as no-doubt, the university will say all sorts of poisonous lies in an attempt to discredit me. As I am no longer in Changchun I have nothing to fear by writing the names of those invloved and exactly what they said to me.

I have been discreet up to now, not using names, being vague In the hope that things could be setteled without any loss of ‘face’ on their part. This isn’t going to happen now.

In my previous post I wrote about 2 people at Jida who threatened me with withdrawing money from my bank account ‘a back transfer’ to use their exact words as well as other things.
There’s nothing like a bit of naming and shaming so –

These two people are:

姓 名:张广翠 zhang guangcui
职 务:副处长 vice director
办公电话: 85166576

E-mail:gczhang@jlu.edu.cn 工作职责:
分管外国专家和港澳台事务工作 – manages foreign experts general affairs
or find her picture here
and

姓 名:赵勇 zhao yong – this ironically means brave. haha
职 务:项目官员 project officer
办公电话: 85166567

E-mail:zhaoyong@jlu.edu.cn 工作职责:
负责长期外国(境外)专家项目;相关专家的接待与安排。- don’t make me laugh!
or find her picture here

I now know this technically cannot be done but It was a clear threat made to make me go away and give up chasing the money. The university only owes me 2 months salary, not very much money in the scheme of things but they did this to all the foreign teachers and so you can understand we’re now talking about hundreds of thousands of yuan, which is a lot of money in any country, especially so here.

Reputation and face counts for so much to these people, I just hope that everybody that reads this understands that I am doing this because others need to know about what really goes on. Many international universities have partnership programmes and do business through the department of International Co-operation, I hope people can read this and see how they really treat their foreign employees. Do I have an axe to grind? I don’t think so, I’m back in the UK doing new things. I just want others to be informed of this, It is too bad to go unnoticed. From a dodgy company I would expect this, but from Jilin University you do not. After all, they are ‘one of the best universities in China.’
————————————————————————

A problem with a big university like Jida is nobody communicates between departments, nobody really knows what’s going on. So a Mr Redacted, whom I have no grudge with whatsoever, isn’t (or claims to be) unaware of what has been happening, wrote this email I just recieved:
Here’s the email with my responses indented:

Dear David,
It’s nice to get your reply. I am glad that I can contact you by email .
First of all, the students taught by you think they have learned a lot in your classes and they really regard you as a responsible and competent teacher.

Thank you. I also have learned a lot and the students were wonderful, so many great experiences in class. I shall miss the classroom and teaching aspect of things at Jida. The students were a pleasure to teach.

They are longing for the results of the final exams which they have prepared for carefully and diligently for a period of time.

The students know their results, just I haven’t given them to the school yet. You already know why.

Secondly,to be honest, I don’t know what has happened between you and Jilin University Department for International Co-operation regarding salary.

Sorry, I don’t believe you.

But no matter what the problem is, it is your students rather than Jilin University Department for International Co-operation the that care about the exam results

10/10 for honesty. You heard it from the horse’s mouth – ‘it is your students rather than Jilin University Department for International Co-operation that care about the exam results.’
So Jilin University doesn’t care about it’s students exam results. hmmm where have I heard that before! Money is everything for them. Such greedy, selfish people.

Your refusal of my request for the exam results can not help solving the problem regarding salary at all, and it can only lead to the cancellation of the subject you taught last semester and all the students will not get the results of the subject at last.

And that says it all. The students mean nothing to the university when they are prepared to ‘cancel’ a semester’s worth of classes for the sake of pocketing an extra buck. Or maybe they are more afraid of losing face by admitting they have in effect stolen money that should have been given into teachers salaries?

It is a waste of time for all the students, and as a teacher myself, I think it is unfair to all the innocent students indeed.

Your university started this! I worked hard, never had any complaints, the students liked me, never turned up late for work – and you say its unfair. This is a twisted response from a morally bankrupt university that brings shame upon honest hard working teachers. You say you are a ‘teacher’, how would you react if I took 2 months salary from your bank account?

So, for the benefit of these innocent students, would you please send me the marks for the students final exams?

Another twisted argument, trying to blackmail me. Remember, I worked, did nothing wrong. You did not pay. End of argument.

And all the students will appreciate your kindness.
Best wishes.
Sincerely Yours
Redacted

This chap is the position redacted Medical School Education Department, obviously somebody has leant on him to write this as I’ve never heard from him before. Never even saw him before. Don’t know who is is.
Like I have said before, teaching in China is massively rewarding and a really great thing with which to pick up new ideas on life. At times it’s simply brilliant. So much fun.

What annoys me is I did my research with this position at Jida, I checked everything- left no stone unturned.
The contract is unambigious, yet, I still got cheated. I tried to reason, but failed. They were not willing to listen.

I guess they point I’m trying to make is: Regardless of where you work, regardless of the reputation of the university, regardless of what the contract unambigiously says – You can be screwed, nothing can help you.

Just go into contracts with the impression that you will be cheated at some point, then perhaps this will not come as a surprise. It is sad, but the only logical answer I can think of!

Differences

Extremely busy! Gradually adjusting to life here, still is going to take months not weeks -if ever- to get fully back into things!

Also, there really isn’t much to write about, things just aren’t that interesting!

Trying to re-adjust not just to the surroundings, but to the way I’m doing things myself. I have picked up Chinese ways of doing things and here they can sometimes not be so useful!

I’m trying to store away the ‘China’ habits that are not so accepted here, like crossing roads whenever I see a small gap in the traffic, pointing and using lots of body language, using the Chinese hand gestures for numbers (totally useless here), not saying ‘please ‘and ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ all the time, standing too close to people in queues, always on my toes to get on the train before anyone else (much to the consternation of others).

And other things mostly related to language and being overly direct, that is, getting straight to the point perhaps sounding like an oaf to others…

Whilst at the same time, trying to keep those many good habits I’ve picked up. Like starting early, saving, cooking, walking, using public transport and wearing clothes for more than 1 day 😉 (Unfortunately others don’t understand this, and would assume I’m ‘dirty’ – so probably best not to do this :D)
There are other small things, take for example, not wearing slippers or sandals every time you enter a home. Just socks feels odd :) , there is definitely something missing! So I now wear sandals in the house despite it being carpeted, out of habit more than anything else!
It’s probably not surprising how being away alters your perception of things, especially things you previously did. There are some things that I previously never even considered or thought about, that I now have opinions on or I think about. I notice things that others do not, especially the more negative aspects to life.
I often find myself asking ‘why do people do things this way?‘ and their response is simply ‘that’s how its always been done!’ Knowing no other way.

I think once you’re used to doing something, you don’t think so much about why- just do it.

I think my being in China has caused me to develop this ‘rose-tinted vision’ of how things are back home, when the reality is, of course, quite different and so I notice things.

When I was in China, even though I lived there for almost 3 years, subconsciously I could always say to myself This is China, if I don’t fully understand why things are like this then – so be it!’ I could accept that things are different. But being in your own country and not liking what you see, this doesn’t apply.

Ok, I’ve only been back 3 weeks or so, but I find the ‘culture’ -for want of a better word- a little backwards! Only now I fully understand the very good aspects to Chinese society that have been long dead in the UK.A good illustration of this is in the prices people pay for goods and services. The UK is so ‘developed’ that you throw things away, because financially speaking it’s not worth fixing. There isn’t the care paid to things, knowing that they can be replaced cheaply. Everything is disposable and short term. China is also short-term, but in other ways – at least there, anything can be fixed.
Take Fruit & veg. Healthy food is more expensive than pre-packed, ready-made junk food.

Indeed People pay a premium to eat ‘good’ food, so you have the bizarre situation where people who cant afford/don’t eat healthy food are fat, or often obese – whereas in China its the opposite of course.

There are so many other situations where I see other things like this, I think that as ‘developed’ the UK is, there are many aspects to life here that are worse than in a place like China. I think most of these issues stem from people having more money, less free time in their lives than they once had, and the commercialisation- instant society- that has developed.

In China I seldom watched the news because who wants to watch one-sided-broadcasting in a foreign language? Here I also don’t watch the news anymore, but for other reasons. It just annoys me listening to other people speak about irrelevant subjects and things in such narrow, insular ways. I also find myself correcting language mistakes (even though my English is also bad! ) – well it used to be my job! 🙂 – the way the English language is changing I won’t be surprised that in say 50 years, dialect will be so thick you’ll need interpreters from one English to the next!