Becoming Chinese

Becoming Chinese


If you have been living in China for a while you’ll eventually get used to all the behaviours that have freaked you out so much in the beginning. I prepared a little hit-list for you to check if you are still able to go back to your home country or if you have officially become Chinese.
I. Your new motto is: “Waiting in line is for suckers”

Especially for me as a German it was tough to see that there are no queues of people anywhere. At a bus stop I just see piles of people. And new piles building on the old piles. China is very unruly in this regard. But the longer you stay here, the more you adapt to it and after a few months you go on to become the king of the pile.

II. You expect bus drivers and other service people to abuse you.

In Germany there is a saying – customer is king. This is the way we are raised. You tell this to customer service in China and they will laugh in your face (and probably spit on the floor afterwards.) When back at the start you were shocked about the behaviour of service people you then kind of expect it to happen. And if somehow someone is friendly to you, you begin to ask yourself what the hell is wrong with this guy.

busy china
InternChina – Become the King of the Pile (

III. You feel entitled to make as much noise as you want, regardless of time or location.

It doesn’t take long in China to meet people singing on the street extremely loud or walking into a random group just dancing on a public square. People in general are louder, more hectic and more outgoing. If you are from a controlled environment like Germany it can freak you out at the start. But you adjust over time and then there comes this one day where you realize you have become the guy who is singing loud in the middle of the street.

IV. You no longer bother saying “excuse me” when you bump into someone.

It happens every once in a while that people push each other out of the way in China (usually old people). You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Saying sorry is for losers. You learn to walk a straight line and if there is someone in the way, you still walk that damn straight line. This is how you know you have truly become Chinese.

chinese belly
chinese belly

Speaking of becoming Chinese, here are a few things which you will notice when you have been in China a long time and have become fully immersed –

The last time you visited your parents you gave them your business card.

Your body doesn’t need dairy anymore.

You hold a knife and fork and don’t know what to do with them.

You can’t wait for summer so you can do belly-busting in public.

You see another foreigner and think ‘what is that foreigner doing in my part of town?’

Everything you are wearing was bought in China.

You no longer know any of the new Western songs on the KTV computer.

You no longer know the conversion rate for your currency.

You get excited about mid-autumn festival but forget about Halloween.

You prefer hot liquids in summer and cold in winter.

You would rather wait on the street for another ten minutes for a small cab, than pay the extra fee for a big cab.

Someone doesn’t stare at you and you wonder why.

You get offended when people compliment your chopstick skills.

You start enjoying the taste of bai jiu (a strong Chinese alcohol) ….well maybe not this one but perhaps one day…


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