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What is it like to be an Indian living in China?


Rahul Ramgopal,IT Consultant, Music lover, Ponderer(1楼,IT咨询师,音乐爱好者,沉思者)

I had visited the city of Shanghai, China in January 2014 for a period of 3 months, working for an onsite software implementation project.

When I landed in the Pudong International Airport and was travelling to my hotel, the first thing that struck my mind was how fabulous the infrastructure was and how it would take many more years for any Indian city to reach such levels of sophistication. We may be doing well in terms of GDP and maybe we are one of the fastest growing economies of the world, but to have a metropolis like a Shanghai or a Beijing , it is going to take us a few more years.



The city is the largest city in the world in terms of population and for me, the overall 3 months stay there was pretty enjoyable. The modes of public transport available there are pretty awesome and all you need to know are numbers (for bus transport), Chinese pronunciation of locations (for cabs) and metro line color (red, green etc for subway rides). At my work location, most of them knew English, and I got pretty close to one Program Manager who explained loads about the Chinese people and culture.


Chinese people are friendly, never too far away from a smile. Although, in the outdoors, if you go shopping, people might try to fleece you, but still they do so with a smile. English signboards and placards are placed in busy streets and shopping malls in Shanghai, which was very helpful. Learning certain Chinese salutations and greetings could go a long way in gaining trust or getting around. Even though some people stare at you at times (as you stand out distinctly from the crowd) I did not experience any racism there. If you are a tall person (6 feet or above as in my case) you can see the tip of the scalp of 99% of the crowd in a metro train. If you are a single traveler, and you are planning to go shopping, beware of the scams that are rampant at the major shopping streets (ex East Nanjing Road). Some of the scammers speak impeccable English which is the first sign that shows that they could be a potential threat and could easily fleece you of what you have.

中国人很友好,爱微笑。虽然你去购物的时候他们也许会微笑着痛宰你。在上海繁华的街道和商场会有英文招牌和标识,这些都很实用。学一点中文问候对获取好感和与人交往大有裨益。就算有人盯着你,我也没有感觉到有什么种族主义歧视的意味。如果你是是个高个子(【6英尺】1米83或以上像我这样) ,在地铁上你就可以看到99 %的人的头皮。如果你是游客,并打算去购物,要小心那些主要的购物街(如南京东路)猖獗的的骗局。一些骗子说着无可挑剔的英语,这往往是个迹象表明他们可能是一个潜在的威胁,并很容易骗取你的一切。

When it comes to food, it is a nightmare for vegans/vegetarians. There is meat and poultry everywhere and almost the entire population is non vegetarian. Even in a seemingly harmless vegetarian dish, there could be traces of pig fat or egg white in the gravy. If you are a non vegetarian, you will not face much difficulty but then again some of the dishes are bland and might not appeal to your palate. The overall culinary experience for me over the three months was quite pleasant.

If you are an avid netizen, you will find it difficult to have your daily dose of social networking and blogging in China as most of the popular sites are either blocked or heavily censored. Most of the Google services, Facebook, Twitter etc are not available in the country. They have their own versions of Twitter and Facebook called Weibo and RenRen respectively. Actually it was a blessing in disguise for me as I used my spare time to go out into the city and explore new places instead of sitting in my hotel room browsing.


The Chinese people rue their government for the lack of transparency and how pollution has taken its toll on their big cities. But generally they are thankful to the Government for creating employment for a good portion of the 1.4 billion population. The public, although fascinated by the Indian culture and diversity, have generally a good opinion about Indians and consider us as their brothers or sisters.


Vibhor Magotra, I live here(2楼;住在中国)
Hell safe, big, developing quite faster!! Studying and living in China has been one of my best experiences in life. I have always been in awe with the sheer size of China and its populace. Though it is no different than in India. That's why when my Chinese friends ask me about my opinion about the large population of China, my single answer it's same as in India!


But on the other side, it's safer, a lot safer! I can go about at 2 am outside to satiate my midnight cravings that too alone and nothing to worry about. I can see girls walking in midnight at the roads and that makes me introspect where India is lacking? I have never heard that any of my friend (international friend) has been a victim of any crime. Though I heard they made some Chinese as victims in the local club.


I agree with Rahul hard time for vegetarians, but again its life, you gotta used to it.People are nice and welcoming, especially when they hear you are Indian (印度人) they get excited too and will take interest in you. Be ready for shy girls, who will not reply back to your hello and will shy away. In chinese society, people usually think about themselves and it's about money only. It's same in Indian society too. Be ready to see the dancing middle-aged women in some square or parks jiggling over musical tones. It's always a nice sight as they are always enjoying it, moreover when you join them too.


Chinese students are very hard working, be ready to get inspired. At least that makes me so. Perhaps the students in my university are really diligent. Some of the Chinese students will have a flawless English accent and that will be out of blue for you. Professors here are cool and encouraging, I can be on dinner and sharing some beers with them. It's common.


They are damn good in developing infra. Infra is getting developed really fast. One day there is an old building and very next week you can see a new building standing there in pride and hinting towards the mighty China. Food, I seriously am very scared to try something new out there. I'm never sure about food whether it is safe or not. As Chinese people themselves don't believe the food vendors and food processing companies. I have heard about the stories of milk adulteration by some big company many a times from my friends. That makes me more cautious about it.
Railways stations are pretty good as compared to India. Unlike India, no mess on the platforms. Signboards with funny English translations.
All in all, China is like a home away from home for me now. I have acculturated to it.


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