Life in China Today
China is undergoing remarkable and rapid change. Many of the older people have lived through times of incredible hardship and famine. Now economic prosperity is spreading, but there remains big differences between rural areas and the big cities, and between coast areas and inland. In some of the more remote regions there are still people who cannot even afford themselves. However, as more areas open to tourism, this introduces change in improved living standards.
In the cities such as Beijing or Shanghai monthly salaries are increasing steadily. This is accelerating with the new prosperity, foreign trade relations and rapidly rising standards of education in major centres.
More and more people can afford private cars. Consumption ability increases. The number of people living in apartments are on the increase. Individual income gradually rises as the national economy has been in flourish in recent years. Even in rural areas, farmers see rising income year by year, thanks to the beneficial policies and their hardworking.
Lite is more easier than years ago. Modern people become more open-minded about understanding the life. They also know how to enjoy the life while leading the busy life. More emphasis is placed on the mental and spiritual comfort, which is vital improvement from earlier days.
It was only a few years ago that Mainland China was seen as a mystery to most people outside of China. Today, Chinese business, Chinese culture, Chinese food, Chinese herbs, Chinese movies are being appreciated in every corner of the earth regardless of their race or nationality! Let us take you into a fascinating tour of modern China and it's fascinating people and culture!
WHAT does life mean? According to the traditional Chinese mentality, it means to clothe, feed and shelter oneself, and to be mobile. Today, these staples still apply, alongside an additional two: entertainment and education. The acquisition of two more essentials within a definition of the meaning of life indicates, from another perspective, changes and improvements to life in China.
Clothing - A Personality Statement
Only five years ago, Chinese people were comparatively conservative as regards their choice of dress, but the daring young women of today wear less and less, summer and winter. Some attribute this to global warming, others to the increasing number of private cars. These arguments are valid, but to this writer, the main reasons are improvements in living standards, and emancipation of the mind.
Selecting wardrobe items is a very personal matter, but in the past choice did not enter into it. Anyone lucky enough to be able to choose what they wore stood out from the crowd, causing a social outrage of dimensions sufficient to stifle any inclination towards individual flair in choice of attire. The young of today never saw, nor ever will see, the "blue army" of unisex outfits worn 20 years ago, when buying a new item of daily wear required long and careful deliberation.
Today, clothes are relatively inexpensive, and the amount spent on them represents a relatively small proportion of the average income. As clothing is no longer a weighty financial issue, more consumers follow world fashion trends, and accessories are increasingly indispensable wardrobe items. There is far more concern about which shoes, or what purse should accompany a certain outfit, than its actual cost. The Chinese people have never been so decisive or "fearless" as they are today in their choice of dress. The streets in large metropolises and small cities abound with young people making their personalized fashion statements.
Nutrition - a Scientific Attitude
Fruit sells well at the supermarket.
The Chinese people are noted for their discerning eating habits. This is not surprising, given the country's age-old culinary history of diversified cuisine and refined gastronomy. Prior to the 1980s, straitened financial circumstances prevented access of the majority to their epicurean heritage, but an improved diet was of primary importance for opening up and reform. The problem of "feeding the stomach" was, therefore, resolved 10 years ago. There is more concern now about levels of nutrition and food values. Since dishes on the dinner table became so much more lavish, diseases caused by eating rich food are now all too common. Warnings are constantly issued about elevated levels of hypertension, hyperlipaemia, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes. This has, ironically, resulted in nostalgia for the simple diet of more spartan times, and corn and potherbs, designated 20 years ago as "peasant" food, are in popular demand.
Housing - Home Sweet Home
Housing construction over the past decade or so has been rapid and widespread in cities large and small around China. The speed at which new buildings appear in Beijing has given rise to the observation that the city changes to a lesser degree every year, on a greater scale every three years, and to the extent of being unrecognizable every five years. The world has never seen such a pace of transformation.
The common people benefit most from this change. The extended family arrangement of two, or even three generations living under one roof is phasing out. The majority of people today have far greater opportunity to live in comfortable, spacious accommodation, with a tasteful decor. European- and American-style housing and remodeling have come very much into vogue on the real estate market these past two years. Real estate developers and furniture manufacturers proudly proclaim that their products "follow the latest trends of the European and American market."
Individualized apartments, fashionable remodeling, and tasteful furnishings and decor have combined to create a huge market. Statistics on how many people have moved into new apartments or had remodeling carried out are unavailable, but unnecessary. The pages of ban jia (house moving) companies listed in the telephone directory, mushrooming home-furnishing supermarkets, and relentless construction of new apartment complexes are indisputable proof of a prosperous real estate market, and of the increasing purchasing power of the general public.
Family Cars - Individualized Taste
An auto exhibition seething with people planning to buy a family car.
To most people, living in a spacious apartment also necessitates owning a car, as affordable housing of this standard is usually some distance from the city center. Twenty years ago, Beijing's urban residents lived mainly within the second ring road - a distance easily covered by bicycle. The third ring road and districts beyond were considered strictly suburban, and therefore staid. Today, certain sections of the third ring road have become prime real estate areas, and a similar phenomenon is also occurring in other cities.
Traveling around the capital by bicycle is more easily said than done. Rapid developments in public transit, taxis, and subways have, however, greatly alleviated the transport issue. Moreover, the rapid increase in family cars over the past five years has kindled in the subconscious of the average citizen dreams of an auto age.
The question now is not one of whether or not to buy a car, but of buying one that is reliable, and reasonably priced. The cheapest car these days costs some 30,000 yuan (approximately US $3,600). Volkswagan Shanghai marketed the Polo in China last April, when the new model first made its appearance on the international market. Its eye-catching, fashionable style and high quality won the hearts of Chinese consumers, and at the July auto exhibition, Polos completely sold out. According to a reliable news source in Beijing, purchasers must now wait two or three months after paying for a Polo before its keys are actually handed over. There are now more new models. It is reported that in this last quarter of 2002, over a dozen new models have appeared on the market. Car dealers are only too happy at the prospect of another busy season, and have taken measures such as incentive purchases and customized remodeling services to keep the market brisk. The latter measure is, however, unlikely to win wide patronage, as few people can afford to remodel their car to their own specifications.
Everyone, young or old, sick or healthy, can benefit from the positive health effects from the ancient Chinese art of Qigong!
Qigong is an ancient Chinese art that is very close but not exactly like the more famous Tai Chi. Learn how you can benefit from Qigong by practising for just 10-20 minutes a day using techniques and methods that are suitable for anyone from 7 to 70 years old. Techniques in this book has been refined from the ancient methods to suit the modern busy lifestyle. Click here to Learn About Qigong!
Entertainment - What Life Returns
An adventure holiday - just the thing for the young.
Life improvements are exemplified by the time available to spend on pure entertainment. Leisure pastimes are spiritual sustenance to the Chinese.
In recent years numerous modes of entertainment have emerged, such as audio-visual gadgets, stage performances, and square galas. Even residents of a rural county like Beijing's Yanqing spend their evenings outdoors in a square, either performing or watching singing, dancing and other folk arts.
In recent years tourism has become a part of people's lives. It is reported that over the past five years, the mobility radius of ordinary Chinese people has increased by at least 1,000 kilometers. They first made trips to their provincial capital city, and later to large metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai. Now they go as far away as Bangkok, or even Sydney. Statistics show that last year Chinese sightseers on the streets of Paris numbered 600,000.
Education - A Down Payment for the Future
The promising next generation.
Sightseeing apart, on what else might extra money be spent? Most parents opt for their children's schooling. When making any kind of purchase, Chinese people generally haggle and bargain , but not when it comes to education. At some schools it may simply not be possible for parents to get their children enrolled, even after standing hours in a long queue waiting to pay school fees. Investing in education both by the government and citizens alike has never been as popular as it is today.
Changes in life modes can be both uplifting and fraught with setbacks. Life in China has nonetheless undergone bold and steady advances. Frustrations may lurk, but life still promises more heartening changes.
Chinese characters are the latest rage for tattoo enthusiast!
Do you know that the latest rage in tattoo studios is the Chinese symbol or character tattoo? According to tattoo enthusiasts, Chinese tattoos are popular because not only does the Chinese character or symbol looks good, it is also because each Chinese symbol or character carries a deeper symbolic meaning as well.