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.

Violated

Have you ever been stalked? Have you ever had your privacy and freedom so violated you’ve had to leave the city you lived and worked in to get away from the perpetrator? Have you ever felt like your life was stolen from you, all of your online accounts invaded and ripped from your hands (along with your phone) by someone you used to love, used to trust? Have you ever had your apartment burglarized, every stitch of clothing, every personal possession taken,  by an insane spouse with the delusional belief you’ll have no choice but to return to her when you have absolutely nothing left? I have, and that’s why I’m now just a ghost.