Chinas obsession with its phones

Every traveller who visits China will say the same…”Chinese people are obsessed with their phones”.

And they are correct. On the bus, everybody has their noses stuck in their phones. In a restaurant, in a cafe, in a park, in the metro. Everywhere. It’s actually quite terrible to look at. 6 people in the metro sitting together and every single one of them is on the phone, oblivious to what is going on around them. The amount of times people bump against me because they are too busy looking on their phones while walking I can’t even count. When parents take their kids to a restaurant and all of them are on their phones, even the kid! On the bus, the parent will be sitting with their child and the the mum/dad have their face stuck to the phone constantly, while the child just sits their quietly….. not getting any attention whatsoever from their parent. It’s really quite sad to see.

But that is the reality now in China. They are absolutely obsessed.

We recently went to a bar and our friends had a thing connected to their phone. We didn’t know what it was. They replied that the bar rents out power banks so you can charge your phone. Our Chinese friend who was with us said “That’s exactly why Chinese people are addicted to their phones”.  So they don’t even have to worry about their battery running out; just rent out a power bank for 1 hour and they are good to go!

While myself and my fiancé were in McDonalds, a girl and boy couple sat beside us. As soon as they sat down, out whipped a phone and the girl started playing a game on it, of course with the sound turned on really loud! Then the boyfriend took it off her and for the whole time we were there, he was sat there playing with his phone….. while the girlfriend hand fed him chips.

So he was busy playing the game while the girlfriend just sat there looking around her. Sometimes he would say something (i’m not sure if it was to the girlfriend or just to himself), but apart from that, there was no interaction with them at all. Then to make things worse, he had a big smudge of mayonnaise on his face and not once did the girlfriend mention to him/ clean it off him!!

Me and my fiancé were just there sitting there looking at them in disbelief. No communication between the pair of them…… mayonnaise on the guys face….. girlfriend didn’t even bother telling him….????? Honestly we couldn’t get over it at all.

How can these people become so addicted to their phone? We know other Chinese friends and they are the same; stuck to the phone… even when they are with a group of people, they don’t care. They will just continue on their phone and not make conversation.

Now not all of our Chinese friends are like this, and even one of our Chinese friend admitted that this addiction thing is really bad in China.

Another example of this is in Starbucks. Sometimes we would go there and treat ourselves, and we would constantly see people on their phones. No talking, no nothing. Just on their phones. When we were in Mexico, we realised how cheap it actually was, so we decided to go in and have a drink. We looked around and EVERYONE was talking! We looked around and not one person was on their phone. They were talking, playing card games…. interacting with one another.

We then realised how different it was in China. I suppose we didn’t really notice too much, we just became accustomed to it. But yeah, I think we kind of made a mental note to ourselves not to use our phones as much.

But yeah, it’s a terrible problem that Chinese people have… and I really don’t think it’ll stop. They use their phones to pay for things, buy things (such as cinema tickets)….. pretty much everything!

We even saw a homeless guy asking for money with a scanner code! You simply scan the code he has, then you pay him through your phone!!! That is actually a thing now!

So yes, I won’t miss the obsession with phones here. I’m not sure if it’s the same in Ireland (I hope not) but I’ll definitely try harder not to use mine as much!

Aisling

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Things I Won’t Miss From China

After 5 years of living in China, and with departure only a few weeks away, here is a list of things that I won’t miss from China.

If you happen to be from China and don’t want to get offended then I suggest you don’t read this blog. I have lived here for long enough and I’ve experienced all of the things listed before, so I’m not making these up. These are all my own opinions so this doesn’t represent every expat here in China.

Of course my own country has it’s fair share of problems, I know this… it’s known as having a  ‘compensation culture’, sky high rents and having a homeless epidemic, among many other things! So I can even write my own post about the problems in Ireland!

Maybe this blog will might help foreigners coming to China for the first time and what to expect!

Drivers; I honestly feel most people here have paid their way to be able to drive on Chinese roads, and they actually haven’t done the apparently very difficult driving test.

People don’t indicate… or they indicate right but then they turn left. They don’t use their mirrors, some don’t put their lights on at night.  Some stop at road corners which is incredibly dangerous.  I don’t know… it just feels like they have no regard for anything/ anyone except themselves. Once they find a spot to park their car, regardless of if it will affect other people… it doesn’t matter. They’ll park there.

They parked in the middle of the road to take a phone call and there are 5 cars behind them beeping like crazy for them to move. . . and they will continue to just stay there. They are oblivious (or don’t care) for other people. And I have witnessed this plenty of times.

Lack of common sense: Time and time again I have seen people casually walking across the road and NEVER look left or right! I remember once I was waiting to cross a busy road. There was a lady about my age waiting in front of me. So the green man comes on and out she walks into the road. But I saw there was an e-bike racing towards here. Thankfully he managed to stop in time but he was only 1 foot away from her. Not once did she even glance left to make sure nothing was coming. Because I was maybe 3 feet away from here, I saw the e-bike coming, and I was thinking “Is she not going to look left before she crosses?…..Oh, no she didn’t”

So when the e-bike had stopped, she got a bit of a fright… but carried on. She didn’t once look at the man on the e-bike and apologise, but just continued on walking like nothing happened.

To me, this is pure common sense to be aware of your surroundings. Chengdu has loads of e-bikes, and they won’t stop when the light is red. . . people here are aware of this, but still they don’t look before they step onto the road.

When I used to live in the city and I would cycle to work, and plenty of times people (without warning) would just step onto the road in front of me, and I would have to slam on my brakes to stop a collision. It’s so frustrating.  And of course they don’t look first.

Another time I was cycling around a corner. What a surprise, there was a car parked on the corner of the road, and a man and woman standing right in the middle of the road… TALKING TO PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE. Jesus, why stop in the middle of the road and start talking to people who are on the footpath???

Obviously I didn’t want to cycle on the opposite side, so I had to cycle between the man and the car, and as I did I was ringing my bell on my bike furiously and I shouted “Jesus Christ, will you move out of the way!!” He looked at me with such a dirty look  and was probably thinking “huh, this foreigner telling me what to do.. IN MY OWN COUNTRY”. . . Yeah I will tell you what to do… if you are that stupid to stand in the middle of the road, then someone needs to tell you.

Lack of Queues: When I go to Walmart to go and buy things.. I hate queueing up…. just because no one here apparently knows how to do it. Because someone skipped us in the queue once before, read here: Skipping The Queue = One Angry Irish Girl I’m always constantly aware of the people coming behind me… Oh are they going to skip me?? Oh they moved, where are they now? (quick glance around my shoulder) Make a barrier so they can’t skip ahead.... You really shouldn’t have to be thinking about that kind of thing, but unfortunately here you have to.

Another time my fiancee was waiting to get veg weighed, and of course an old granny comes up and puts hers on first. He didn’t do or say anything because whats the point, he will most likely be ignored by the old lady plus the worker there, so he let her go ahead. The old lady wasn’t even fazed about it. Maybe she was thinking I’m an old women I deserve to go first. 

For buses, people (especially old people) make a mad rush to get on, it’s like if they don’t get on, then the bus will go without them. Planes are the same. Once the plane touches down, there is a mad dash for their bags. We always joke that they are afraid they’ll get stuck on the plane forever if they aren’t the first 10 people to get their bags. Haha that’s what it looks like though.

Materialistic: Because China has become rich quite fast, this means that a lot of people think about material things. Every Chinese person NEEDS to get the latest iPhone, or they will seem poor.

Every week= new shoes, new clothes…. it’s a never ending battle to look rich and pretty here! I definitely can’t handle it! I can’t wait to go back home and not have to worry about looking like I have money.

Wasteful: Because of this new wealth, unfortunately many Chinese people waste a lot of food. Once I saw a family of 3 (mother, father and a 5/6 year old daughter) come in to a restaurant. Usually when you order food, for 2.5 people you would order maybe 3 dishes and rice. But this family ordered about 6/7 dishes of food! Just for the 3 of them! Usually this is to show ‘we have money, we can order as many dishes as we want’. We left after our meal but I seriously hope they got the rest of that food to take out!

But anyway, here they do waste a huge amount of food. I hope in the future the government will educate China about wasting food, because it’s such a a shame. There are many many poor people… give the leftover food to them instead of throwing it all in a big bucket.

Pollution: I don’t need to elaborate on this.

Being ‘fat’: I’m absolutely fed up of feeling constantly fat in China. At the moment I’m 9.5 stone, but be god thats FAT here. I constantly feel like every Chinese girl is looking at me and thinking “Oh wow look at her skin, it’s so white…. but she’s fat.” I know 100% that that is what they are thinking.

I can’t wear shorts because I just feel so self-conscious. I don’t like like wearing t-shirts because they ‘showcase my fat arms’. To be 45kg (7 stone) is the perfect weight for Chinese girls here. WTF!!??? To me that is just unhealthy, and definitely not attractive looking. So I really do worry about my weight and just feel so self-conscious here. They think that I don’t exercise and I eat crap, and that’s why I’m like this. It’s true. In class sometimes we would talk about health and what not, and the students would say “Don’t eat unhealthy food so you won’t get fat”. Simple as. So they must think I gorge on food and don’t exercise whatsoever.

So yes, I really really won’t miss that aspect.

My god that’s a long list!

I know It sounds like a big rant, but I honestly have enjoyed living in China. And don’t think it was all about getting good money; I’ve been here two years working part time, so I really didn’t earn a lot. If I wasn’t fed up of teaching and had a job related to what I want to do, I think I would have stayed here for longer. So although I have mentioned some things that I won’t miss about here… there are a lot of positives about living in China.

So that will be another post to make, things that I WILL miss from China.

Aisling

They simply don’t care

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So I’ve started back teaching again for this semester. I just had my second week of teaching and I’m really not enjoying it.

The majority of my classes are so lazy, don’t want to do anything, and just don’t want to be there. I just hate having to teach a class, asking them a question such as ‘Have you seen this film?’ and all 30 students just stare at me and not say a word.

Like they can’t even be bothered to reply either yes or no. That’s what really drives me mad. I feel like they don’t care what the hell I say. I’m not important enough to be given a reply. Last semester I had much better students. Pretty much all of them were girls, and I really got on well with all of them. So now I’m stuck with lots of boys that don’t give a crap about English, and are only there because they have to be.

My class this was week was that I was explaining the rules, then we did a listening exercise, and finally I played a game with them. So do the boring stuff first and then the game. But many classes just didn’t seem bothered with anything. Ok the game was a bit better, but I just feel so demoted. I really can’t be bothered teaching these students, and I feel I’m going to dread every week.

I even told them “Guys please answer my questions, it makes me feel bad when no one answers”. Still nothing.

So I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m accommodating for the students, whereas it should be them accommodating for me. I’m here to teach them English, but all they want to do is play games and play on their phones…. oh or sleep.

During the break one girl came up and said the class is boring. Jesus all I did was the rules of the classroom and a listening activity. There was even a video they could watch!! So I can’t understand how they are bored with just that???? Oh yeah she loved the game after the break, but I need to try and teach them something?!

These kids are 18 years and over. I can’t remember every thinking that my class was boring. Maybe it was but I’d never say it to my teacher?!? I just got on with it and listened to them.

These kids don’t even bring a PEN to class. One of my classroom rules was ‘Bring a pen, notebook and textbook to every class’. Like I actually have to say that to them, but I do. Lots don’t bring a pen or notebook, and some with no notebook just write in their textbook instead.

Like they only need 3 things!!! Sometimes I feel like I’m teaching children. Or worse, they bring a bag with absolutely nothing in it. Or I hear the famous “I forgot my things”.

How lazy can they be?

I miss my old students. I could have a laugh with them. But with these ones, I’m pretty sure half of the boys stay in their dorm rooms all day and night huddled by their computer just playing video games. No interaction with the outside world at all.

Last semester I had great plans to teach, but now I really don’t care. The students don’t care, so why should I? I feel like I’m wasting my time, especially when they don’t even answer me.

I can’t wait to be finished with them. Other teachers are planning on staying another year, but I just can’t. It’s too demoralising for me. I want a job that is meaningful, instead of being a clown and a comedian in class.

So I’m trying to figure out the easiest method of not teaching these students anything, more games (and even a few classes weren’t too bothered with the ones I played already)  and showing them films (I’m already planning on showing one next week), so I can save myself a few weeks of trying to teach them something.

I hope the next few weeks will be better, only 15 more weeks (yay….)

 Aisling

Is It Because I’m A Woman?

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So I received my timetable for this coming semester… and guess what, out of all the (male) teachers that I work with, I’m the only one who received an extra day of work.

Another thing. I’m the only female foreign teacher.

So I really don’t know what to make of the whole thing. At the moment I’m thinking “That stupid school, giving all the male teachers what they want, and then making me have the worst schedule… they know I’m a woman and won’t complain, and plus they are afraid of all the males teachers here”. That’s what I’m thinking.

So I was rather upset when I received it, all the men happy and cheerful that they all got a wonderful schedule. Me, the only girl teacher, working the exam same amount of classes as them, but with an extra day added it.

Fair enough give me another 2/3 class on Monday to make it worthwhile, but I’m only working one class on Monday. It’s such a waste. I went down and asked them to change it but of course they can’t. That group can’t move. Well then why couldn’t they have given that group to a teacher who actually WORKS on Monday.

I hate to say it but I really feel it’s because I’m a girl. What other reason could it be. I know they are afraid of one certain teacher here, so of course he will ALWAYS get the timetable he wants, so maybe they don’t feel scared of me, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t mind if another teacher had the same as me, because then I wouldn’t be singled out. But I’m the ONLY ONE.

Last semester was the same, they gave me the worst schedule out of everyone. Everyone had 4 days off and I had to work 5. Miraculously I ended up working 3 because they kept changing my schedule and it just ended up that way, but still, they gave me more days than the others. It wasn’t them ‘trying’ to help me get a better one, it was really just luck and their own mistakes that I received a 3 day working week.

So I’m hopefully going to try and see if I can split the Monday class into other classes of mine. Of course the school won’t allow me to do it because of ‘rules’, but I know another teacher did that last semester and it was fine for him. So I’m going to try and do it and then let them know.

I’m just so angry that I’m the only that they do this to. I’m the only female teacher that they do this do. Once all the men are happy.

Aisling.

Film Week

Film Week

Because last week was Halloween, I decided to stick on the film ‘Goosebumps’ for my students to watch. I remember seeing it a while back and thinking it was fun and exciting, so I was pretty confident that my students would enjoy it. Aside from the beginning, there is always something exciting happening throughout, so I thought this film would engage the students. And thankfully they all enjoyed it!

We were able to download it with English subtitles and Chinese, so even the one’s with non-existent English can watch it.

Because my classes are 90 minutes long, I spent two weeks watching the film with them. The University doesn’t condone watching a movie for the whole lesson, I split it into two weeks. After they watched the film, I made up a quiz about it and we did that for the next 45 minutes. Some of the questions were easy and some of them were just a little more difficult. Overall I think they enjoyed it and the quiz. For the group who got the most points, they would not get any homework next week, so that was a bit of incentive for them to try! (Although some were still lazy and didn’t bother at all during the quiz)

Plus, having a movie week makes my life much easier teaching wise. It’s hard to teach when I know a lot of them don’t care what I say or show them, so sometimes I do get quite annoyed. Why should I try when they don’t try? But I suppose I can just carry on with what I’m doing and it’s up to them if they either want to pass or fail the class.

Other teachers here have also expressed their feeling about their students, so sometimes we have a big rant about our students and how lazy they are. But at least I’m not the only one that feels this way. I feel like I’m a bad teacher and my lesson’s aren’t interesting enough, so when I hear other teachers saying the exact same thing as me, then I feel a bit better at least! Or we’re all bad teachers!

I know some teachers just play games with them, but to me, I’m a teacher. I’m supposed to teach them things that they will remember. That’s what I think anyway!

This is my 9th week teaching and sometimes it really does feel like I’ve been here for years and years already. And I feel I haven’t taught them anything in those 9 weeks. When I was teaching in a private company, you could see the improvement of each of my students, and that gave me a lot of gratification. Here though, I feel that everything I say goes in one ear and out the other.

I don’t think I’ve seen 1 student take any notes of what I was talking about in class. I’ve told them before to take notes, but it’s like talking to rocks. I should keep at them but at the end of the day they aren’t children; they are 17 and 18 year olds. They should know by now.

But yeah, the two weeks watching the film and doing the quiz is a great relaxing class for both me and the students.

I hate to wonder what they will be like when film week is over and proper class starts again….?

Maybe I’ll stick on another film….. and definitely be a bad teacher!

Aisling

All The Blank Faces

All The Blank Faces

I’ve been teaching in my current job 4 weeks now, and generally it’s going ok. This can’t be said for some of my students though! I’ve said it once, and I’m going to keep saying it until I finish working here; but sometimes it feels like I’m teaching rocks.

Honestly, it’s like trying to get blood out of a stone with some of these kids. With the exception of two great classes, most of the time when I’m teaching, all I see is a wall of blank, emotionless faces.

It’s pretty hard to get my students motivated to do anything.

“OK STUDENTS, WHICHEVER TEAM WINS THIS GAME WILL GET NO HOMEWORK!!!”

Nothing…..

No excitement whatsoever occurs. Faces are still blank.

They must really enjoy homework if that’s the case!

So yeah, some students just are very unmotivated to participate in class.

Unlike the rest of the world, Chinese students aren’t encouraged to think creatively and outside the box. They are made to remember large volumes of texts and that’s it. So when I get them to do an activity that needs them to think individually and be creative; a lot of them just can’t do it.

‘wo bu hui….wo bu hui” 我不会。 They keep repeating to me “I can’t do it”. I say to them “You can do it! You just need to think about it more”.

For this particular task, we were studying personality words like timid, hard working….. After learning the words, I asked a few students to come up to the top of the class where i would give them a word and they have to act it out. They cannot speak, so they have to use their bodies to explain their word. Then the other students need to guess what word they have.

Easy peasy. They don’t even have to speak! Wrong. Most of them couldn’t do it. Give them an easy one ‘funny’. In my mind for this one, you simply pretend to laugh. But for them, they are getting nervous just thinking about how to do it. They are thinking and thinking about how to do it, until they ask for another one.

“Another one?? How will you do the others  when you can’t even do funny??”

So that activity was too difficult for them. I explained to them that you need to be more creative in class. In my class, speaking is key, but in order to speak they need to be able to think of things to say.

Then there are students that can’t speak whatsoever. ‘Hello” is the most they can say. It’s difficult trying to teach students with such a different level in each class, so I’m trying to teach basic English, more advanced English, plus for the students to be more creative in class.

But anyway, I don’t really expect to teach the students much English. Their English is just too basic, and a lot of them aren’t interested in learning it. All I care about is them trying in class. I told them “I don’t mind if your English is wrong, just try. That’s all I want. Even if you say one sentence… that’s great. You tried”. Thing is, many don’t want to try.

So when I’m trying my hardest to engage the students and all I see is a wall of emotionless faces, it really demotivates me to try and teach them. I try very hard to get them interested and they just stare up at me. Sometimes I feel I need to be a comedian in order to get anything out of them!

I have two classes and they are great, so I don’t mind teaching those. They are a little older and they generally seem more interested. So those classes are great. But overall, I really don’t think I could stay another year here trying to teach robots.

再见

爱玲 Aisling

 

Why are you always looking at me?

Why are you always looking at me?

The longer I have lived in China, I’ve noticed that less and less Chinese people stare at me here. When I first arrived, everyone on the subway would gawk at me, some might even take photos! Now however, with the influx of more foreigners, this (thankfully) is disappearing!

But not completely!

So yesterday, myself and my fiancé decided to go to Walmart to pick up some things for home. We were looking at some flasks and I turn and see a worker down the bottom of the aisle looking at me. So anyway, I continue browsing.

I look around and he’s still there. Staring.

So I say to my fiancé “That worker over there keeps looking at me, we’ll go to the next aisle and see if he follows”.

We go to the next aisle and low and behold he appears!

I’m getting a bit annoyed at this stage. So back I go to the flask section, waiting to see the worker.

What a surprise, he appears again….but this time at the other end of the aisle.

That’s it, I decide to walk over to him. At this point he’s looking at me while talking to another lady, but I don’t care. I go up to him and ask him in Chinese “Why are you always looking at me?”… He replies he’s not. Haha the face of him when he realised this foreigner was coming over to him!

I think he was shocked that I actually confronted him. But it worked! I didn’t see him lurking around again!  haha well maybe he was but did it with a bit more stealth this time! When someone is standing right in the middle of the aisle gawking at you, it’s not very conspicuous!

For me, it drives me mad when people do this. I just want to go and browse… and not have someone staring at me thinking I’m going to steal something. I hate that feeling. I’m not going to take anything. Just leave me alone and let me shop.

Did he think I was going to steal something? Was he just curious at what I was looking at? Was he just looking at me?? Do I even look like a thief????

Usually this sort of thing doesn’t really bother me, but when someone is constantly staring at me and making me feel like I’m doing something wrong, then that needs to stop. If he thought I was stealing, then keep an eye on me through the security cameras. Just don’t make it obvious!

That’s why I never go to markets here; every time I pick up something I feel as if the worker is thinking “Oh… oh she’s going to steal that!!!” Haha plus they would most likely rip me off with their hiked up price.

So anyway, that was my shopping experience in Walmart. Usually there’s no problem, but maybe yesterday I looked more a thief than other days!

Check out my other (not so nice) Walmart (yes, the same Walmart) experience here: Skipping The Queue = One Angry Irish Girl

再见

爱玲