16 April 2014

Many people have tried to fathom the depths op Chinese culture. The mysterious wisdoms that came to us in proverbs and wise phrases, still inspires many among us. However, while looking for an apartment it all becomes painfully clear. Under the motto of ‘one has to make a living’ people from real estate agencies are happy to show you the crappiest places, the smallest rooms for the highest price.

Nowadays money seems to have become the new God in China. One can not expect a helpful ride from a stranger when waiting on the street for a taxi. If you not agree the price before hand, people will ask unrealistic high prices for the ride they offered you; a common example.

Also people will offer you extras without telling the price. This may feel odd to us and can be an unpleasant surprise afterwards. While asking for the price immediately may feel odd to us, it is a common thing to do in Asia. “Do you want extra cheese, sir?” “How much is that?” one immediately might want to ask, stingy as it may feel. It’s just sales and we’re not sitting at home and life is touch.

What I don’t understand is that they seem to care so much for money, that they even save on maintenance of things and even properties. So a lot is dirty, crappy and old, suffering from deferred maintenance. Even buildings are build in cheap ways. Probably the cause for what gives us westerners the “made in China” feeling.

Also the apartment I decided to rent may need some severe fixing and cleaning here and there… I guess this is the way to create a bond between you and the property. One’s eyes and hands have to go over every centimetre before one gets the feeling of ‘home’. I won’t post photos of that though.


* translation of the title: 小气鬼 = penny pincher (pinyin: xiao qi gui)