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America through Chinese eyes - a columnist living abroad reports on ugly Americans

Translated below is a column from New Century Weekly by Sun Yafei, a writer living abroad. There are a number of commentators in Chinese print and online media who live abroad and write about international themes; best-known are perhaps Lin Da (the nom de plume of a husband & wife team) and Xue Yong, who teaches history at Suffolk University.

Sun Yafei seems to be a new arrival to the international columnist scene. In recent issues of NCW, Sun has written about America's most popular politician (Gavin Newsom) and changing sex roles, as well as standards of beauty in China, the US, and Hungary. Here is Sun's take on Americans' global perspective.

Americans' World Outlook

by Sun Yafei / New Century Weekly

I once heard an interesting story: a young American girl fell in love with her Egyptian classmate, but the young man did not share her feelings. To find the best way to refuse her, he said, "Can you find Egypt on a map?" The girl was speechless.

I've also run into an older person who has worked for the government for many years. He proudly said to me that when he worked in the Air Force and on trains, he "went to many places in the world." To humor him, I asked where he'd been, and if he'd ever been to China.

"I've never been to Asian countries. The train doesn't go there." He thought for a moment and said haughtily, "But I've been to Canada and Hawaii!"

Indeed, Americans' poor sense of geography and limited knowledge almost make you stop and stare. A famous person once mocked, "Women, like hens, forget where they're going once they step out the door"; with Americans' sense of geography, they are most likely no better than the hens.

Essentially, people born and raised in New York will never remember a scenic town several miles outside the city. Perhaps they've been to there for a trip to the suburbs, or gone their to ski a few times, or found romance at a bar on countless occasions, but ask them about that place, and they will ask, "That's in the US? I thought it was a new name for Mars." Truly, this is a case of "not knowing Han, how can one discuss Wei and Jin?"

If they go out, practically everyone has an electronic guidance system installed in their car; where to drive straight, where to turn, and even where to park your car to use the restroom - the system takes care of it all. New technology in combination with a peerlessly complete map of the entire US allows Americans to divorce themselves from geography with a clear conscience.

A Chinese acquaintance who has spent seven or eight years in the US has a penetrating analysis: Americans are not concerned with anything outside their immediate vicinity, while behind this is a willful arrogance. Even if the average American has a good family and education and is warmly friendly, the superior feeling in his bones from being a warmly-clothed, well-fed super citizen is ingrained. In the eyes of some Americans, the United States is the entire world, and the center of the world lies at the feet of New York or Washington, D.C.

"Although the United States is the most powerful country in the world, and America is in the thick of everything that happens, what does it matter if they are ignorant of other places and other nationalities?" that friend said.

One clear piece of evidence: the extremely small amount of international news on the major television networks. Even if there is news, most of it is of Iraq or Afghanistan, which concerns the US. The hot news, apart from big domestic events, is practically all local fluff stories, like someone's cat getting stuck in a tree, or spicy news about some starlet. I remember a few weeks ago in the "news personalities" rankings, the top one was a magician who spent several days in a water-filled bubble, the second was taken by a goat, whose "great story" was that it escaped from a farm and disrupted a middle school for a while, until several hundred frightened students and a few reporters surrounded and intercepted it.

John is a reporter for a major American newspaper. He was once in Bosnia-Herzegovina for ten years as a war reporter. He lamented that when he returned to the US, he discovered that his news ideals had been shattered, since the news for which he braved bloody turmoil and risked his life to obtain had not made any significant impression on the American people. "They don't care about things that happen in other parts of the world! In truth, they don't even read newspapers. They only watch TV, and that's only football - something the people in the rest of the world won't touch!"

One of my politics professors once complained in class that at the time of the genocide of more than one million people in Rwanda, the major TV stations and the tens of millions of viewers were following the scandal of Simpson murdering his wife.

In actuality, the problem of lack of geographic knowledge, in the end, is a problem of world outlook. However, it must be noted that what Americans hate most is other people telling them that they have no world outlook - how can they have no world outlook?! Look at the world - is there anywhere that Americans are not? Who started the Korean War? Who fanned the flames of the Israel-Palestine conflict? Who toppled Saddam? What major world event has been unrelated to the Americans?

So if you ask an American, "If there were no Iraq War, would you know about the Middle East?" he will most certainly wipe the friendly smile off his face and roll his eyes at you. If you come across someone with a shorter temper, who knows - he may angrily invite you to "get lost!" Yes, this is another pride of American culture: Americans permit self-mockery - self-criticism - anti-war, anti-Bush, and anti-government statements are no problem; they also permit mockery of others - they take the moral high ground, sparing no effort to criticize all other nations of the world, and force you to "humbly accept it." But remember, you must never mock them, especially their fatal weaknesses, like the problem of a world outlook.

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There are currently 42 Comments for America through Chinese eyes - a columnist living abroad reports on ugly Americans.

Comments on America through Chinese eyes - a columnist living abroad reports on ugly Americans

The argument of American ignorance of global affairs is not new to us. However, the way of arguing by Sun, to interview a few people and reach a conclusion about the overall "world outlook" of American population, still is a little annoying. And the author doesn't mind adding just a little more seasonings on the already biased Chinese media toward the U.S. and international issues in general. After all, it's not unusual that civilians are more concerned of domestic issues. For that matter, one doesn't find it hard to identify the same observations in China, and very likely, in other states. Btw, yafei used to be (perhaps still be) the nanfang zhoumo journalist and write good stuff on social issues in China. Later she went to journalism school at Berkeley.

I think this is something that we share with citizens of China, not that I'll defend it in either case. I've had approximately equal (and large) numbers of people ask me, "Is China colder than Ann Arbor?", or "Is America colder than Beijing?"

pine: Thanks for that info - I wondered whether Sun the columnist was actually Sun the reporter, but I couldn't find any bio info. Maybe after she publishes a collection of her columns....

Like columnists in newspapers in other parts of the world, these writers publish a mix of perceptive commentary and gross oversimplifications. Perhaps I'm not really helping things by translating a particularly egregious example. :) Reading it through, I thought perhaps it was all a put-on, so I wanted to see what other people thought.

I'm a Canadian who has lived in the USA for the past 5 years, and I've also travelled throughout Asia during this time. In my experience, most people in most countries are most concerned with what is happening closest to them, and almost always think for some absurd reason their own news deserves to be heard around the world. The fact of media anywhere (including state run media like in China and Canada) is that it is an industry built to sustain those who it directly feeds. In the case of the USA, the fact is that Americans don't look outside their own borders for media content because they simply don't need to; there is ample sensational material at hand. In contrast, the fact is that, for example, in Canada, very little of the sensational nature actually happens, which makes for pretty boring television. Hence, CNN is popular with Canadians, but Canadians get pissed off because it lacks much Canadian content. Whatever.

Anyway, what really interested me is the reporter's finding that all Americans have satellite guidence systems in their cars that they can use to find parking. Wow! That's amazing! And all this time I've been using the old parking guidence system of swearing and flipping the finger! I mean, most cars I've seen on the roads around Chicago or New York are 10 years old or so (including mine). Who would have thought inside all those dented, rusted out crates was the latest hi-tech equipment? I guess I've just been living in an alternate universe or something. Is this a free gift bestowed on everyone in the USA? Where do I sign up to get my own spanky new satellite guided parking system? My old Honda is really due for some kind of improvement...

I liked learning that the Americans started the Korean war. Damn, I was so ignorant before....

The New Century Weekly has some incisive commentary here. Americans are ignorant AND arrogant! The writer forgot to mention they talk loud too, and ... etc etc
Coming from a country that believes you can see the Great Wall from space, and whose own writer penned a book called "The Ugly Chinaman", this is somewhat hypocritical. And I say that as a non-American.

Yep, she could have told us that Americans are arrogant and ignorant with fewer words.
Btw, the US must have been a real mess before the invention of satellite guidence systems. Must have been hell to drive there with all those unoriented Americans driving up and down the streets trying to get to Paris or to find a parking lot.

A bit annoying, huh?
Now you might know how it feels to be a Chinese being told by expert like Kristof and Friedman about everything all the time.

I think this article says a lot more about China (and its one dimensional view of the world) than America.

Well, I'm not so sure poor geography skills is limited to Americans.

It seems a surprising number of my students here in Shanghai - many of them local, college-educated white-collar professionals in their 20s and 30s - cannot tell me if the Pacific Ocean is to the east or west.

What with Shanghai being a coastal city, I have been surprised again and again when perhaps 1/3 of those asked reply "I don't know", even after hearing the question in English and Chinese (to insure it's not a language problem). Similar geography questions produce similar results.

I'm still cracking up over that claim that "practically everyone" in the USA drives cars guided by GPS. Yeah, and "practically everyone" has a personal helicopter, and maybe a racing yacht as well. :-)

Sure, the US has very little international news when compared to China, but that's mostly because it's illegal to report on negative domestic news in China. The news in other major Asian countries is just as inward-focused as that of the US.

Joel, I'm not so sure if this is the same yafei from nanfang zhoumo. A quick google leads me to several other pieces by her/him. (For everyone) Read the first one in particular and see if it depicts the expats you know (or yourself).

I have to agree with most of those who have responded, namely that this article illustrates more the myopia of the author than it does of Americans. To be sure, a good chunk of Americans exhibit a shocking lack of inquisitiveness when it comes to what's going on outside of their own country. However, the same can be said of citizens of most nations, and the Chinese, by and large, are similarly myopic. It comes as no surprise that the author of this article could state seriously that a majority of Americans have GPS driven cars; However, a fair chunk of Americans still picture China as it was 30 years ago - an urban sea of bicycles and people dressed alike - rather than how it actually is. Alex raises a good point about how the average Chinese newspaper reader might be more exposed to international news simply because its safer for Chinese editors to fill their papers with international as opposed to domestic news.

There was telling scene in the film "The World" directed by Jia Zhang-ke where a woman wanting to live abroad (meaning outside of China) is asked by her friend why, and to paraphrase, when you have everything here (the 'world' amusement/entertainment park featuring international landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. China, for centuries, have been the most fervent explorers and xenophobes at once.

I come from the background in the contemporary arts where China is on top of the world market and where a recent curator recently told me that Chinese artist, aware of their demand, interact little with other artists at international events such as biennales as the containment in China is one of the factors influencing such demand. Either way, it's an interesting post and givent me some pause for thought this afternoon.

As a French referee, I can tell you that Chinese are as bad as USA citizens concerning geography, China means here PRC as well as Taiwan. First trip in Asia in 1979, in Taipei:
- Chinese guy: "are you a GI?"
- me: "No, I am from France"
- same Taipei guy: "France? Never heard of such a state in the US?" etc.
And in the PRC, how many times, I had to explain the location of basic countries to guys who seem otherwise rather educated people.

And if there's a country with an even narrower view of the world than America? China wins hands down. These are the most ignorant by far!

Too many Americans are definitely ignorant about what is outside of the US . Some are even proud of it, and that is a downside of being a cultural 'hegemonist'. Its up to us, one person at a time, to get others to travel and see the world. Overall, I would say Europeans are probably best at seeing and knowing of the world.

That said, I can't believe the writer's malicious tone, his Korean war comment, nor his Rwanda comment. We do not pay attention to what happens in Africa, but I believe US news probably had ten times as much reporting on Rwanda as China did. With more Chinese money partnering with African regimes, you won't find any real investigative (or even plagiarized) reporting there in the future either.

Also, at least that American knew you can't take the train to Asia. I have been asked on more than a couple occassions, how long the train takes to go from Shenzhen to the US.

the difference is that as americans we vote.

and as the biggest superpower on the planet, what the average american knows or doesn't know, is immediately much more impactful on the welfare of other people in other places than we realize.

at present, our influence is grossly disproportionate with our knowledge.

the average henan farmer cannot really be said to have the same political freedom *and responsibility* as your average ohio blue collar worker, can he? (especially during the last presidential election...)

it's not personal guys. it's a matter of physics. the average american impacts the planet and world affairs more with his or her personal and political choices probably more than any other citizenry on the planet, or in history...

given how much the world looks to america, in admiration, fear, or trepidation, it's rather striking how little that same america looks out upon the world...

It is common to see the views in this article expressed by Americans themselves, so having it expressed by a Chinese observer doesn't really add any insight but neither is it offensive.

Inward looking? That describes most people in most countries.

Come on, as the other posts have said, this article reveals more about the writer than anything else, if 'discovering' Americans have a hugely impaired understanding of geography and world affairs counts for insight, then may I humbly suggest the writer gets out a bit more? Or dare I suggest they turn their finely tuned perspicacity to China itself?

Didn't think so.

Not to launch into a China bashing session or anything, but for a good laugh, ask just about any educated local Chinese person how many continents there are in the world...not only will you be blown away with their answer, their supporting argument is astonishing...or even better yet, ask a high school student in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, etc. where Qinghai or Guizhou is on the map...shocking....just shocking... To be fair, I am American and am almost daily ahshamed by my countrymen's geographic/global issues ignornance, however, its not unique.

apples and oranges, to counter criticisms of american education with the example of chinese education...

china has had 50+ years of 'liberation' shaping their education policies, with all the political trimmings that implies, not least of which was a decade of chaos during the cult rev when schools were closed. it still effects people today. politics still affect how people are educated today -- for example, social sciences are still shockingly weak, partly because it is so easy to politicize critical thought.

there are many implications, but not least of which it means people in their 40s today missed approximately grades 1-10 in their education (or some similarly huge number of years). if this is the generation then charged with teaching the next generation, then no wonder there are problems. although the chinese, ever stoic, prefer to think of them as challenges...

yes, education levels here can be a real shocker. but then that's why so many chinese who can manage it try to get educations overseas -- for themselves and for their kids. often they choose to be in america... because it's SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER.

and why not? it's the first world. it's a democracy. people have freedom to choose.

not so, china...

Most PEOPLE, regardless of race, country or creed, are not as aware of - or interested in - the world outside the walls of their own daily existence. However, the rest of the world should not feel slighted that Americans pay them no heed - the sad fact is that over half of the eligible voters in this country don't even turn out to vote, and one could easily speculate about the political savvy of the minority that DO vote...because frankly, there is a serious disconnect happening here. Very few people actually believe they make any difference, except within their very limited sphere of influence. So they limit themselves to involvement there.

The following makes me think that the author has an inferiority complex with respect to the States:

"Even if the average American has a good family and education and is warmly friendly, the superior feeling in his bones from being a warmly-clothed, well-fed super citizen is ingrained."

Interesting article. As an American currently living in China, I have often expressed some of the same complaints about my fellow Americans, especially when friends here ask about US foreign policy rationale. However, this is not a phenomenon limited to the US. Most Chinese have never traveled internationally, many hold strong regional and racial predjudice, and scream "hello" at any caucasian they see on the street (this happens to me at least 4 or 5 times a day in an urban area of 4 million people). The average Chinese doesn't understand US geography any better than the average American understands Chinese geography.

Americans as a group, however, have a better shot at improving their outlook. Many can afford international travel, we have access to uncensored information, and a much higher percentage of us make it through high school and on to college. Given all our advantages, it is a shame that more Americans choose to remain ignorant about the outside world, especially as our policies have such a broad effect.

someone who has a chip on his or her shoulder is the writer of this nonsensical clouded view of an article. as if china is indeed a better place than the us.
why then one sees hundreds of chinese citizens hangs out at the various us consulates all over china trying to get a visa to visit, work or migrate there? and does anyone see the same amount of people hanging out in the chinese consulates in the us trying to get visas to get to china to work, visit or migrate?
sour grapes and envy is what i say sun ya fei is encountering.
ask the peasant in xinjiang where dalian is, i bet u that the person won't be able to tell either. ask a guy that works at goldman sachs in new york where croatia is, i bet u he or she will have a high likelyhood of telling u where its at.

It's all in what you compare it to, people.

That's all there is in any opinion.

If you compare the article to, say, an average morning on Fox News, the article appears balanced and well-researched.

If you compare the article to the point of view of expats on this blog who are, let's face it, people who've experienced at least two cultures, then it appears laughable.

On its own, it's neither less nor more informed than the average "crazy China" article in the US press, or the average "only in America" articles here.

Move on folks, nothing to see here...

To the americans who are commenting on this article and saying, "in most countries such and such is true"--

having lived abroad for quite some years away from my "motherland" of California--

I would have to say in Asia and in China, their knowledge of American history is quite solid because of the rote memorization and etc.

This gives them a basis to understand American news, which, although they are biased by their own countries' interpretation of American history-- gives them some context to put American news into.

Americans are the most priviledged citizens in the world. One middle class Americans is equal roughly about 11 Urban Beijingers, and probably around 50 farmers in rural China.

The fact that Americans know nothing about the world is not a commentary on how "everyone" is only concerned with local events, but just a fact that Americans sit atop the world with a total indifference towards it.

There have been many empires, Roman and Byzantine, etc-- that paid very close attention to their vassal countries. They lasted quite long.

In America, you got access to so many cultures, in whatever bastardized American forms they are in, yet the vast majority of even the urban American population is proudly monolingual, and think going to ethnic restaurants represents "enough" of a cultural mastery.

Remember, in America, we pride ourselves in "anyone" becoming "american," yet this is sadly becoming an excuse to become completely ignorant of the world which we affect more than any other country in the world.

Its not the same, because you don't ask Donald Trump or Warren Buffet to act, or receive equal treatment to Lupita the Maid.

So, don't try to create "analogous" situations for "every" country in the world.

Take a look at the economic reality of the world and realize America waste too much of its time watching bad tv shows when it could be gaining accurate information about the world they stand atop.

Students in China will take any opportunity to practice their English, French or whatever with a foreigner-- they are desperate for opportunities to improve themselves and learn more about the world. They are smart, gutsy, and willing to do anything to learn.

If I was a young american right now, I'd enroll in a language class, and get to studying my math. This American priviledge is very quickly being threatened by the realities of Globalization-- and there ain't no pensions (e.g. IBM, GE, United Airlines) waiting for these young americans... so, get to it, and by the way, turn that damn tv off.

Tom writes:
"Take a look at the economic reality of the world and realize America waste too much of its time watching bad tv shows when it could be gaining accurate information about the world they stand atop."

Come on Tom. That is just generalised nonsense. The US also has many students who like to get out and learn, while China has just as many who sit and watch TV all day long.

To argue that the majority americans are stuck watching bad TV (what about those watching good tv - are they okay for you?) when they could be out learning a new language and studying math is pretty much the weakest point made on this thread. You sure you're not Sun Yafei?

I am Yafei Sun, former journalist at Southern Weekend. My professor who is teaching at UC Berkeley sent me this link, so I just knew my article was translated. I was laughing out while reading every word you guys write. Well, I never figured out that you guys were so mad with me for writing some facts, but it seemed to have proved my points:

"Yes, this is another pride of American culture: Americans permit self-mockery - self-criticism - anti-war, anti-Bush, and anti-government statements are no problem; they also permit mockery of others - they take the moral high ground, sparing no effort to criticize all other nations of the world, and force you to "humbly accept it." But remember, you must never mock them, especially their fatal weaknesses, like the problem of a world outlook."

By the way, I would like to teach you guys a little bit of logic: even though most of Chinese people's geographical knowledge is much worse than Americans', well,I am also entitled to make a comment about your shortcoming as long as it is true.

Well, if anyone may be interested in criticizing the Chinese social abuses/vice/weakness/shortcoming/every bad thing, that would be very welcome. I'd like to know how awful my country can be through American eyes.

Come on you guys, please write down what you think about China and send it to me, I'd like to help you get it published in the Chinese media.


thanks for the lesson in logic (although i saw little logic in the reply - maybe you should ask your professor for a crash course, or a proper definition at least), but do you feel like answering the criticisms above that say that you just simply made things up to fit your argument - e. gps, korean war, etc?

by the way, i am not american but i think americans are more than justified to defend themselves when someone presents an argument against them that is full of factual errors and replaces objective reasoning with sensationalist claims. this does not prove your point, it simply proves that you had no substance to your argument in the first place.

Look, everytime I try to write something about China and what I have experienced here, I am aware that inevitably I'm making sweeping and unfair generalizations - but that is inevitable! Do you seriously think in a few words any Chinese writer trying to make a point about the ignorance level in the U.S. (yes, it may also exist in other places, but this is not the point) can possibly avoid it either?

I applaud Yafei Sun for giving the subject a shot - isn't that what we're all doing every time we write something involving the word 'China'? I suggest those offended by her words take a good look at just why the article stung them so much. It probably wasn't just the inaccuracies - which I readily admit have left her (quite fairly) open to attack. However, to compare the ignorance of the average Chinese person - with a forced state education and very limited access to the world beyond China - with the average person in the U.S (as many who have commented have done) is not a very strong comparison to make.

It may be tough to be told by a foreigner that there are many in your country who are rather ignorant of the greater world around them, and you may have to grit your teeth at the generalization, but this doesn't mean that it isn't on balance a fair observation.

Tim, what on earth are you talking about? How could you possibly applaud such worthless writing?

"It may be tough to be told by a foreigner..."

That's not it at all. Educated Americans, especially the Gen-Xers, tend to nod in agreement at their shortcomings as a nation-- from their destruction of the environment to the social problems of American urban centers-- it doesn't matter who says what. Facts are facts.

Facts, man, facts.

This Yafei "article" is... I don't even know how to describe it. Is this person really a college student? They write with the same logic and grace as an angst-filled middle schooler. It isn't worthy of the sort of critiquing we are doing here. My younger sister (12) would probably be a good debate partner for this guy since they seem to speak the same language.

chinazombie - exactly! That is what has annoyed me the most. the sheer crapness of the writing and the weakness of the argument.

do US journalism schools accept anyone who can pay the fee? I'm serious. Is there no screening process? because I cannot believe that anyone who is at a respected journalism school in the US (Sun's china experience I cannot comment on, but in my experience for every good reporter, there are at least five others who would be better off assembling ipods) would write an article in which s/he quotes a "friend" in support of her argument. this is bar-room opinion ("hey, you know what, a mate of mine said...") not journalism.

I am going to try an get an article printed in the british media in which I quote my mother as an objective source. wonder if i will get printed?

If what Sun says about the negative attributes of Americans is true, then if you double those negatives, you'll arrive at where the Chinese are.

My apologies, my last comment was a bit emotional. But as someone who's lived in Both the US and China, Sun's articles is definately a bit of the pot calling the kettle black and then some.

Sun Yafei makes a few valid points about American insularity, although they are hardly original. However, he also seems to have a chip on his shoulder. My guess is that he's resentful of the fact that China comes in for so much criticism from what many Chinese regard as cultural inferiors- Westerners and Japanese- and simply wants to return the favour.

Ai ya, so much angry words. Peace my brothers & sisters - be happy lah! Someone once said, "A sign of celebrity is that his name is often worth more than his services." It is not fair but it is true, no? Ignorance is bliss, and why not? Life is a bitch as it is whether you live near a beach or in the concrete jungle as a local, a migrant or an expat, whatever. When I first came to China, I bitched at everything and had so little praise for everything that's different that makes up god's small earth. My wise American friend once adviced me to choose my battles and guess what? He was absolutely right.
Now into my 4th year, I play dumb and find happiness - surprise! Help me out here, someone else said, "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance." I guess his/her advice to everyone is to be gracious in our pursue of knowledge and understanding. Afterall, "the greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge."
Okay, okay, please, please, please don't stone me my erudite commenters, you are mostly right about Sun YaFei's less than fair report of America, but the same nonsense appear on expat China blogs, expat whine & dump circles and so on. Furious activity is no substitute for understanding, and carl Jung said it well, " Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." Okay, now go ahead cast your stones at me.

Anyways, Mr. Sun YaFei, what were you thinking?

"Come on you guys, please write down what you think about China and send it to me, I'd like to help you get it published in the Chinese media." Sun Ya Fei

What for? China is trying to build a Harmonious society, remember?

...First of all, that ridiculous comment on the egyptian guy refusing the american girl....yeah, riiiight. As if. Believe you me, there arent any women here in the west lining up to date middle easterners lately, more like the opposite is true!! And not just for a green card. This writer is quite the little misogynist, with the a woman is like a hen proverb on top of it. Whats up with that???
Of course, not at all surprising for a great many asians, of all nations.
As an american, I fear that in fact living in the Republic of PANAMA is a lot better than anywhere else I have ever lived, the standard of living is much better than Europe and the States, a lot more bag for your buck, the dollar is used here as national currency, we have a thriving economy, real estate growth rate that is amazing, tropical paradise with two oceans and a range of mild to hot climates, world-class banking and commercial zones, amazing food, night life, etc. Maids are easily affordable.
There is a reason it was named second in world-class destinations for travel, resort living and retirement, after Dubai.
Peace out!!

I was just wondering if this same test of ignorance that Sun so eloquently applied to Americans has been applied to Chinese citizens, because it seems to be that they might indeed fail the very same test. Living in Shanghai and teaching English to businessmen and other educated professionals, e.g. doctors and lawyers, I feel that in my experience the same can be said of Chinese citizens. What part of Europe is America in? or Spain being in Mexico. Also there has been reference to "Mei Guo", or the USA including Mexico and South America as well. Now I remind you that my students are not victims of Mao era education, but most are twenty somethings and are by no means unintellegent. Most show a drive and determination to learn a foriegn language which Americans could learn from, but in terms of geography, I think the Spanish might object to being a southern state in the country of Mexico.
Kind Regards.


The difference is Americans should know better because they are free to look around at alternative sources of news and information.

They are restricted in China and have more rules and regulations, they are not free.

Over all, you hit the nail on the head.
The sad part is, Americans have freedom and opportunity to obtain knowledge from many sources and we should know better. Its like we are defending our child that does no wrong but in reality it is a terror.

What got me the most was how they crucified Obama's pastor for saying things that were basically true if you listened to the whole thing and no sound bites.

Its sad that most Americans actually believe that you love your country less if you can see its faults. Do you love your child less because it has faults?

We should stand up and point out the mistakes and move beyond them so they are not repeated.

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