外文标题：Exploring Taizhou With Tina....Part 1
We had ten days holidays during Chinese New Year. I had a mood to go and see some of the nearby towns. Nanjing, Nantong, Suzhou, there are quite a few around. But during Chinese New Year almost everything is closed here. All Chinese who are away from home wishe to go home during Chinese New Year. Therefore travel arrangements have to be made much in advance.
For a foreigner who doesn't speak any Chinese travelling alone is nearly impossible. Since my interpreter Tina belongs to a village near the shipyard, I planned to take her along. Tina’s Chinese name is Ding Hui. All Chinese girls who learn English in the college are asked to choose English names. I don’t know if boys too are given some English names or not but all girls who study English at college have it.
We know the Chinese girls by the names which are not their given names Hahaha. So the foreigners know little about the Chinese women, not even their real names. If you try to look for your girl friend on visiting China again after a few years, you can’t find her whereabouts by telling the name that you know because none except her colleagues and friends would know of her English name.
It would have been a good opportunity for Tina to have a fully paid holiday but she is twenty six year old female and although I consider myself to be an iconoclast, I can't rid my thinking from the fetters of orthodoxy. I thought her parents would never allow her to go with an unknown man. I was surprised when in response to my expression of such doubts she said, " I don't need to ask permission from my parents, I just tell them where I am going."
I haven't come across many Chinese women, (hahaha- let me keep some secrets) but men or women, I haven't spoken to many Chinese on their traditions, customs and values because I get very little chance to interact with them socially. Now when I have many Chinese friends on internet who read my blogs, I would like to ask them about how permissive Chinese society is?
Living with boyfriends before marriage and having sex too I believe is not much frowned upon, especially if the couple has decided to get married. However you can get in trouble if you have a child from her before getting legally married to her. In Indian metropolis these live in relationships might have become common but almost surely they won't have the social and familial sanctions and I can bet that most parents are oblivious of their daughters and even sons living with someone of opposite sex or their would be more instances of heart attacks and murders.
Chinese women are very smart, yes very smart in lassoing foreigners who have deep pockets but saying so might make you think that entrapping men is their primary objective. So let me say that the Chinese women are diligent and groomed to think that they are equal to men in every walk of life. Infact even at the risk of annoying my burgeoning Chinese readership that comprises mostly of men I think, I would even dare to say that they are better then men. Here in Jiangsu province they are of tiny stature and frail built.
Even the young mothers look like school girls but as I see them working tirelessly and the way they get in to every nook and corner of the ships under construction, for welding, grinding, painting, cleaning,amazes me and I am fills me with praise.
Instep with their men...Right, Left, Right..Right, Right, I hear their inexorable march to prosperity of the nation. Like the army of red ants, dedicated, focused, their contribution to building of the nation cannot be trivialized. Many young Chinese have come to the towns for jobs from remote interiors of China where there are not many opportunities.
Interior China is still poor and people make their living by tilling land or doing small jobs. It’s same like it is in India but in India the percentage of young women coming to take up jobs in big towns is very low. Indian society is not very permissive nor it is safe for women to live alone but in China the women have no such fears or contraptions. They move about fearlessly, choose whatever they want to do, decide whom to live with or marry.
On second or third day of our New Year holidays, we decided to go to Taizhou. I hadn’t gone there till then and even Tina hadn’t gone there much. I learnt from her that TaiXin was closer to YongAnn where she lived and she had gone there a few times.
Chinese, I gather, are not travel crazy like us. There are many reasons for that. First of all they don’t get hundred and fifty days holidays in a year. They get break from the work only twice in a year. One time, during Chinese New Year when they get about one week’s off and another time during October, when they get four-five days off. Besides this there is one day holiday of Moon Festival sometime in September and another in June/July on Dragon Boat Festival.
Most of the Chinese can get three days off in a month depending on the work stress and the discretion of their boss. They get no overtime for working more than eight hours but often face deductions from their wages if the targets are not met. This is how it is at the Shipard where I am working and I am given to understand that this is how it is in China.
The shops are open on all days and are open from eight in the morning until seven- eight o’clock in the evening. So where is the time for them to travel? Besides that, traveling here in China is expensive. If you have a car, the tolls are heavy for using the highways and if you don’t have it you find bus fares heavy on your pocket. I am saying it from an outsider’s perspective. Compared to the prices of things, the salaries here are small. In India, living is far cheaper and you get better value for money but in India people work less and are less productive ( except in the department of making babies) because accountability is less and interference by trade unions and politicians mire the scene.
Tina told me about the bus she was coming in and I boarded the bus from the stop near my house. We got down somewhere in the middle of the town where we could see the signboard of a Shopping Mall and ubiquitous KFC.
Across the road there was a beautiful park. It was the first week of February, the grass on the ground was withered. Since lantern festival comes close on the heels of the Chinese New Year great lanterns of all shapes and sizes are made and placed at popular places and city squares before the beginning of the New Year Holidays.
I have posted in my blogs many times the beautiful lanterns and colourful creations at display in Shanghai...Let me show you some of those that I saw in Taizhou
In Shanghai in Yuyan garden every year there are hundreds of such lanterns,and creations of innovative and thematic designs on display. They attract visitors from far and wide. I have had the pleasure of seeing their art work on many occasions....
More In Next Blog
Lovely pics. The village looks green and nice.
Do these villages get plenty of water or do some of them face water shortage like many places in India do?
Though some village homes still have wells but municipal supply is there too. I am not aware of shortages of water and electricity if they exist in China for wherever I have stayed in four years in China, I have never seen a power cut, power outage or water rationing. Do check some of my other blogs on China to know how little we know about China.
My dear Navneetji
Reading your travel posts is a feast particularly to know the Chinese style of living.
True, the Chinese teen aged girl accompanying an unknown man as a guide indicates the professional out look
I found this trend of young ladies accompanying the tourists as interpreters and guides is becoming very common in India too.
In changing socio economic scnario it is good thing to earn a livlihood.
Enjoyed the pictures so well presented.
I am beginning to learn from some Chinese who have visited some of my blogs after reading them on Chinese blog sites that my blogs are being translated and posted on many sites and have become very popular. This besides the encouragement that I get from my Indian readers are inspiring me to do better. I write from the perspective of an amazed Indian the tremendous progress of a nation. I wish to spread a message that if there is a will then a nation can stride to prosperity in a short span of time.
Good to see parts of China thru your blog!
I am not sure if you have lived in India long enough in the last decade or two to note the changes that are happening, but there are a lot of women working far away from their villages in the cities and they lead their lives independently too (not really asking permission of their parents for their activities) But of course Chinese are definitely way better hard working than Indians.. however, I feel that they focus to much of making money (atleast the chinese-singaporeans and chinese from main land china in singapore do) It occasionally feels that they are pound foolish bcos, they want to save all the money and go gambling! :) Of course in SIngapore there are some regulations again gambling what abt in China?
As far as I know you are living in Singapore and frankly speaking even though I go to India often, I am most certainly not up to date with the knowledge of changed outlook and thinking of Indian women it seems. My son who is in Australia will definitely affirm this. He is anxious like any young man would be while thinking about the prospects of finding a woman of right thinking and right moral values. Possibly Indian men even the young ones are still conventional and orthodox.It will be a good idea to make him interact with you because even though I know that the Indian women have come a long way yet they are as rooted to Indian ethos as Indian men of good grooming. Your observation of Chinese matches exactly with his views. As regards the greed and gambling habits of main land present day Chinese, I would like some Chinese men to read your comment and reply. There are plenty of them visiting my blogs these days,
Great photos. In any country you can find its true spirit in small towns and villages than in megacities like Shanghai.
veryyyyyyyyyyy interesting read for meeeeeeee navneetji..frankly I associate wid chinese fud only which happens 2 bee quite a faourite wid mee..chinese ppl r mostly on 2 demselves only.unka apna crowd hota hai..but neverthlesss i njoied readin unke baare mei n ur nice narration..interestin laga abt dere names:(..it ws so chow chow soundin 2mie earsssss..lol..
Hello Mishtii, I think when you say Chinese food you really mean the real chinese food and not the one that we get in India. I think American Chinese don't mix up with others because they are strongly rooted to their culture and like to speak in their lingo unlike us. ( excluding Mallus, Tamilians etc etc and our dear Bongs Hahahaha- I mean all except us snobbish Punjabees. You too have a sweet likeable name Misthii..so do they have the ones that the foreigners can remember.
shailaja s bhat
Very interesting to know about China and Chinese people ! As Divya said here, present day Indian girls and their parents have changed in their outlook and views. Of course our Indian values and chinese values are different, we lack their hardworking nature. Hard work is hard work and its result along with discipline leads towards prosperity. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
Let me first congratulate you for your winning the contest. I have my reservations about the changed outlook of India you and Divya speak about because conservative men won't loose the grip on their women and unless our mindset changes nothing much will really change in India. Yes we are not as hard working as the Chinese and our work culture is a lot different from theirs.
Thank you Navneet for yet another informative lovely blog with beautiful pictures.....Looking forward to the next :-)
If I continue to get the encouragement from my friends many more will come.
beautiful pictures and interesting write up Navneet ji
China is a beautiful place.
agreed Navneet ji
specially after seeing the pictures you post
astounded that a common township in a third-tier city as taizhou is so well facilitized. i am from a third-fourth tier city in NE china. you extended my view as a chinese eye to see my own homelands. thanks. besises the city circle of shanghai hangzhou ningbo suzhou nanjing wuxi, have you ever been to any other areas in china? and how is your feeling?
Thanks Darcyding for reading my blog. I haven't seen much of China besides some cities along the river Yangtze in Jiangsu province and I understand that a large part of China is still under developed but the prosperity from here will slowly spread to other parts of China, so I believe. I have seen Wuhan and Qingdao besides seeing cities in Jiangsu province.