Keep Your Mouth Shut

Unfortunately, the best advice I can give to a westerner planning to travel or move to China is this: Keep your mouth shut. No, I don’t mean breathe through your nose. I mean keep your critical opinions (and you will have many of them) to yourself. Nothing good will come from telling Chinese people what you see as wrong with their government, their environment, or their culture. Most of them are not ready to hear criticism of these things, even if they know you are right.

Instead, they will blame you, the messenger, even if the message is full of wisdom and truth. It won’t matter that your words come from a good place of concern and caring for the Chinese people. They will point their accusing fingers back at you, throwing every (obvious) flaw and criticism of America (and there are many) they can think of, in your face as though two wrongs make a right or somehow cancel each other out. They will use logical fallacies and motivated reasoning to make false equivalents between problems like China’s pollution and America’s presidential election and endemic racism.

So save your breath. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t speak your mind unless it’s 100% positive, non-critical flattery that reinforces the Chinese belief that their country is the center of the universe and soon will rise to power and dominance as America’s form of democracy falters and its influence around the world continues to decline.

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When Is a Good Time?

“When is a good time to blog?” is a question that has been asked me by absolutely no one. But if they (real people, not the voices in my head) were to ask me such a thing, I’d probably respond with, “No one should ever blog for any reason, ever, but if you are serious about disappointing literally tens of people, then I say, ‘Just do it, go for it, write what you know,’ and a few other trite cliches before suggesting you choose a time when no one is likely to bother you, a time after you’ve sipped, chugged, or guzzled multiple cups of a caffeinated beverage and have an idea in your head about which you want to write. But then you should delete that draft before you post it.