Saturday, 24 May 2008

Some strange things we've noticed.

Sleeping. One of the really strange things about living here is watching the sleeping habits of the Chinese people. I'm not talking about in their bedrooms, as I have yet to experience that, and don't expect to. I refer to their sleeping habits in public.

We smile at the many men who ride their three wheeled cycles around the city of Shaoxing, some looking for passengers and others geared to transporting anything that is in need of transport. Around lunchtime, or late in the afternoon, or in the evening many of them sleep. Some make themselves quite comfortable in the back of their "tray" or on the back seat of their passenger cycle and doze off. OK, that's fine, but amusing all the same.

There are some men in particular who seem to run small shops - not much bigger than a single car garage (Australia style) and sit in a battered chair at the entrance of their shop, make themselves comfortable and just go to sleep.

As a passenger in the regular buses that go into and out of the city on a regular basis, it is common for young people and old people to nod off and sleep - even for short journeys. I recall
when we arrived at Shanghai Airport and were met by college representatives, who loaded us and our luggage onto the college minibus and promptly fell asleep almost for the entire three hour journey!

The classroom? This is quite a challenge for the foreign teachers! Students often fall asleep - even if one has a class activity that requires a lot of student input. Boys are the worst. (I sometimes don't like to call them "boys" as they are adult in that they are 21 years of age or more - but in many ways their behaviour is comparable with 14 year olds at home.

We always have a "break" between two lesson periods, and it is common or most of the students to put their heads on their arms and sleep during this time. And they have a two hour lunch period, and many of them will have a quick lunch and go to their dormitories for a sleep. (Many of the boys play computer games or watch movies all night - so it is not surprising that they are tired!

Body hair. Strange thing to report on, but as the Chinese men are wearing short sleeved or open necked shirts, it is obvious. No body hair. On closer inspection - well, at least on the bus, yu can see that there is little or no hair on arms, none on the chest, and I gather very few have to shave as facial hair is minimal.

In public men must not go topless - so if it is hot they roll up their t-shirts so that their tummy is showing. It is against the law to go topless, so we are told, but I have seen one man defy this "rule."

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