A Moral Dilemma

I recently read a very interesting article called Do the Right Thing which discusses moral standards in different cultures. From the article:

Consider the following dilemma: Mike is supposed to be the best man at a friend’s wedding in Maine this afternoon. He is carrying the wedding rings with him in New Hampshire, where he has been staying on business. One bus a day goes directly to the coast. Mike is on his way to the bus station with 15

LaoZi Academy Podcasts

From the site:

Audio recordings from formal training. In these recordings, Master Dong Yang talks about different aspects of Dao and Daoist cultivation through the refining and growing of the internal elixir and how to prevent physical damage in the process.

Hmmm, I think some things were not meant for podcast format.

What do you think?…

Tipping Hell

I grew up in the US, so when I’m there, I know how to tip. It’s not too hard to know how to tip in my adopted home, China, because you just don’t do it. You almost never tip in China. Easy. Thus, I was totally unprepared for Turkey on the tipping front.

Somewhere around the year 2002 I abandoned the Lonely Planet and guidebooks altogether. I figured it’s more fun to just get by on scattered intelligence gleaned from …

Chinese Test for Foreigners: A Fantasy

So while some of us foreigners are feeling eager to be tested by the HSK, a portion of the Chinese population is wishing a more arduous kind of standardized testing upon us:

When China becomes more powerful, we’ll make all the foreigners take band 4 or 6 exams! Classical Chinese would be too simple; it’ll all have to be answered using calligraphy brushes, but that’s going easy on them. Going hard on them would be a knife and

Cross-cultural Honesty Catalysis

I recently read an interesting and provocative article about a movement called radical honesty. The founder posits that everyone would be better off–that we’d be taking the steps to true communication–if we would all just say exactly what is on our minds. It’s not meant to be hurtful; you don’t insult people and walk away. After you speak your mind you stick around for the fallout, because radical honesty tends to beget radical honesty, and once you strip …

Who can memorize the Chinese family tree?

A recent ChinesePod podcast got me wondering: how many foreigners really learn all the forms of address for family members? I’m not ashamed to admit that I never did. Not only do you have separate words for whether they’re on your mom’s side or your dad’s side, related by blood or by marriage, older or younger than your parent, but there are also issues of formal vs. informal and regional variation. I think most of us give up on learning …

The Filthy Foreigner Flaw

You may have heard foreigners complaining about sanitation in China once or twice. It happens. What those foreigners don’t know is that behind their backs, the Chinese are also talking about westerners’ dirty habits. Dirty bedroom habits.

Now, before I lead your imagination even further into the gutter, let me elucidate: it’s about showering and sleeping.

photo by Heidi McKay on Flickr

I believe it was in college sometime that I started showering in the morning. I considered myself …

Reasons to Love Beijing?

The whole Shanghai vs. Beijing debate is somewhat tired, I know, so I’m not interested in rehashing it. I’m not going to bash or gush over either city. Rather, I’ve had sort of a change of heart about Beijing, and I’d like to tell why. To be honest, the more time I spend in Beijing, the more I like it. But I doubt I’d ever voluntarily relocate to Beijing.

Still, if I found myself in any of the following scenarios, …

More Trash Means More Jobs

After eating all Chinese food for about a week, my family was delighted to stop into Starbucks in Hangzhou. (Funny how a familiar corporate logo can engender feelings of fondness.) We had the following conversation:

Me: You don’t need to gather up the trash. They’ll clear the table when we leave.

Mom: But the trash can is just right there.

Me: Still, you don’t need to do it. It’s their job. You don’t want to take away their job, do

May Day in Zhongshan Park

I had off for the May holiday today, so I got to sleep in. After lunch I went for a stroll in Zhongshan Park.

Outside the park there were vendors selling pets. The main ones were rabbits, dwarf hamsters, chicks, and ducklings.

Pets for Sale Outside Zhongshan Park

Pets for Sale Outside Zhongshan Park

The park was crowded, but the weather was great. Some people (like me) were there just to walk around.

Zhongshan Park

Others were boating.

Boating in Zhongshan Park

Some were flying kites.

Kite Flying in Zhongshan Park

Some children were getting pictures taken in front of giant cartoon characters. …

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