First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Chinese Stereotypes

I’m a sensitive liberal-arts-degree-holding kinda guy, so there’s nothing I hate more than the tired old stereotypes we hold about different groups of people. It’s insulting to the people being stereotyped, and it limits the thinking of those who buy into them, potentially closing off our minds to wonderful new experiences that blah blah blah.

That’s why I’ve come up with some exciting NEW stereotypes about Chinese people that you can use in your everyday lives!

1.) The Chinese are highly efficient sleepers. Almost every time I’ve been in a cab or on a bus with a Chinese person for a trip that would take more then 20 minutes, they’ve said “I’m going to close my eyes for a while,” then leaned their heads back and nodded off. At work, many people keep pillows at their desks (this is no joke; actually, it’s quite a good idea) and will just put their heads down on their desks for a 15-minute power nap over lunch. During the hottest part of the day, it’s not unusual to see people – including businesspeople - laying on park benches in the shade and taking naps. Being a hot city, I suppose it bears a lot in common with siestas in Mexico, Spain and other warm areas. Just didn’t know that was a Chinese thing too.

2.) Chinese look great in heavy black-rimmed glasses. Not everyone can pull this look off, but for some reason, the Chinese can.

3.) Chinese people move SLOOOOOOWWWW. This actually might be a Beijing thing and not a Chinese thing, and it’s far from universal, but more than once I’ve passed bicycles while walking briskly, and if I’m in a hurry, it always seems like everyone in Beijing is sleepwalking. I usually end up swerving in and out like a skier through a slalom, and I feel like I’m moving that fast, too. To illustrate this point, I’ve drawn this picture of me being run over by a glacier while trapped behind a crowd of Chinese.



I enjoyed what I assume to be a totally legal and legitimate copy of Die Hard 4.0 and was pleased to see that this movie wears its heart right on its sleeve:

Nothing like a prominently placed exploding helicopter to help you know exactly what kind of movie you’re in for.


This should strike fear into the hearts of all of the designers I work with back home. It's a sample of some of the work I've been doing here. Now that I’ve had a taste, I don’t know if I can go back to being just a copywriter ever again.


Work has pretty much dried up after a long day yesterday (client call at 8:00 pm), and I don’t expect to see much more Beijing work (if any) before I leave. On the other hand, I’ve been getting some details about some work in Minneapolis, so I’ve spent some time pondering that.

The new business pitch I was working on was presented today (I wasn’t there – Chinese presentation) and apparently it went well. The farewell video I was working on was shown at the client’s farewell dinner last night, and apparently the honored guest enjoyed it very much, so that’s all good. (Oh, by the way, when I was at the American restaurant yesterday, I saw him having lunch. Probably a Yippie-Ki-Yay Burger or something. Kind of funny to recognize him from putting together the slideshow while he had NO IDEA who I was.)