Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

(Kiana) #1
Enjoying the Culture 147


Get in an argument with a Chinese person about how
something is or how it should be done and they are not
long to remind you that their opinion is coming from the
experience of 5,000 years of history. China has one of the
oldest continual civilisations in the world, which makes it
culturally rich and gives it a depth that takes decades to
understand properly.
In most parts of the world, we are just rediscovering lost
civilisations or important cultural influences, while in a place
like Xian, an average citizen can tell you that the slight bulge
in the ground over there is actually a 2,000-year-old tomb of
Emperor So-and-So.
China has rich record of its history, through relics, poetry,
painting, pottery, music, festivals and customs that trace
their roots back thousands of years. It is one of the most
fascinating cultures to experience today. In one generation,
China has exploded from its bound-feet, feudal past into a
global force. One can still occasionally glimpse a tiny hunched
grandmother hobbling down the street on miniature feet, just
a few of the last. It was in the early 1980s that Wong How
Man, the head of China’s Exploration and Research Society,
made an urgent trip north to record a discussion with China’s
last living Shaman before she died.
We are fortunate to be living and working in China on
the cusp of its emergence as a 21st century force, enough

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