Light Hearted Fare
(as seen on the thorn tree. unfortunately,
not very politically correct, but definitely some local flavor)

You know you've been in China too long when...

At Mealtime...
1- A few shots of maotai don't even give you a buzz.
2- You're at an expensive western restaurant and don't even notice the guy at the next table yelling into his cell phone
3- A June 2000 Great Wall Cabernet (mixed with Sprite) is your vintage of choice
4- You think of 'salad' as diced apples in mayonnaise
5- When someone says 'snack', you think: salted cuttlefish.
6- You don't recognise a bowl of chicken soup unless there's feet and a head in it.
7- You only drink beer from one litre bottles.
8- You invite friends for dinner and serve 1,000 year old eggs as an appetiser.
9- You crave salt...all the time.
10- You feel awkward using a knife and fork.
11- You think pork belongs as a flavouring in all foods.
12- Your favourite pizza toppings are corn and shrimp.

When travelling by Plane...
1- You always are first to retrieve all your carry-on luggage from the overhead bins between landing and arrival at the gate.
2- You think 3 separate security checks in an airport is acceptable.
3- You have carry on luggage made from red, white and blue nylon sheeting.
4- You sprint frantically from the tarmac to the aeroplane to ensure you get a seat.

Fashion means...
1- you get your haircut on the sidewalk.
2- You leave the 'Garbano' designer label conspicuously on the jacket sleeve.
3- You like those Frankenstein shoes on women.
4- You don't bother to take the sticker off the lenses of your fake Ray-Bans.
5- You enjoy wearing flip flops on all occasions.
6- In the summer, you roll the legs of your pants up to your knees whenever you sit down.
7- (men) And you roll your shirt up to your nipples.
8- You wear a suit when you dig ditches or do home repairs.
9- You have a purse and you are male.

For entertainment...
1- You enjoy karaoke.
2- You walk backwards in the park listening to a transistor radio.
3-The China Daily is your source for hard hitting, fast breaking, investigative journalism.
4- You have grown used to the picture quality of pirated VCDs.
5- Badminton and ping pong are your main forms of exercise.
6- You watch 'xiaqi' (Chinese chess) on TV religiously.
7- You find yourself "getting back to nature" in a park that contains nothing but concrete and a giant revolutionary statue.

Around Town...
1- You smoke in crowded elevators.
2- All white people look the same to you.
3- You like the smell of the bus.
4- Open spaces make you nervous.
5- You find state-employed retail staff helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.
6- People with bright white teeth look frightening to you.
7- You no longer need tissues to blow your nose.
8- Other foreigners seem foreign to you.
9- You find yourself exiting a major highway...on your bike.

In the WC...
1- You find western toilets uncomfortable.
2- You throw your used toilet paper in the basket (as a courtesy to the next person).
3-Those footprints on the toilet are yours.

Your Health...
1- You go to the hospital at the first signs of a cold.
2- You think that the heavy air actually contains valuable nutrients that you need to stay healthy.
3- Any discomfort causes you to think there might be something wrong with your 'Qi'.
4- You don't notice your gastrointestinal problems anymore.
5- Your body no longer accepts dairy products.

Communication means...
1- You draw characters on your hand to make yourself understood.
2- You ask people in what animal year they were born.
3- You measure distances in 'Li'.
4- You think you speak Chinese fluently.

Social Customs...
1- Squatting becomes your favourite position, anytime, anywhere.
2- The last time you visited your mother you presented her with your business card.
3- Your handshake is weakening by the day.
4- You think a 30 year old woman who carries a Hello Kitty lunch box is cute.
5- You would never think of entering your house without first removing your shoes.

And Finally...
You think your nose IS kind of big.

You know you've been in Hong Kong too long when...

1- You have paid enough rent to buy a moderate-sized North American or European town.
2- Most conversations with your friends involve mobile phones or mutual funds.
3- None of the sea-front buildings existed when you arrived.
4- The shoreline itself shifted by half a mile.
5- All your friends are now living in London, New York, Singapore or Paris.
6- You can't put a proper sentence together in your native language.
7- You got really excited when Starbucks opened their first outlet in Hong Kong.
8- At the movies, you take bets on the number of phones that go off during the performance.
9- The funniest jokes revolve around your stockbroker.
10- You developed an acquired taste for mooncakes.

11- In a crowd or a queue, you learnt to stay away from frail-looking old ladies carrying umbrellas.
12- You seriously considered taking up golf.
13- You have a Mont Blanc pen clipped to your shirt pocket.
14- You have stopped noticing the grotesquely deformed leper on the Exchange Square flyover.
15- A sexual pervert is a man who prefers women to money.
16- Your building's security guard is 4 times older than the building itself.
17- You have become a shameless name-dropper.
18- You feel a compulsion to take exams.
19- All you need is Louis Vuitton.
20- 165 decibels is a normal noise level for lunchtime conversation.

21- It's OK to throw rubbish, including old fridges, from your 18th-floor window.
22- Thanks to karaoke, you know who has the most singing talent in your building.
23- You believe that pressing the lift button 63 times will make it move faster.
24- The ultimate status symbol is a lawn-mower.
25- You know it is useless to protest when the lady at the supermarket check-out wraps one toothbrush in 6 plastic bags.
26- You will never ever EVER buy Miracle Foot Repair.
27- You learnt to recognise Andy Lau, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok and Jacky Cheung. AND JACKY CHAN
28- You aren't aware that one is supposed to pay for software.
29- Pink bathroom tiles can make any building or public garden beautiful.
30- Your colleagues eat sun-dried cuttlefish coated in sugar and you don't bat an eyelid.

31- You actually purchased a canto-pop CD.
32- You actually played it several times.
33- You believe shopping and eating are the only forms of entertainment in Hong Kong.
34- Queuing in the rain in a diesel-choked Kowloon back street to buy a HK$6 Hello Kitty plastic doll at a McDonald's store is not the mark of an insane person.
35- You believe Li Ka-shing is a saint.
36- You test your seafood for mercury, hepatitis B and cholera.
37- You have attended at least 4 weddings and a funeral in a language you don't understand at all.
38- A PhD in Nuclear Physics fluent in 7 languages irons your socks for a pittance but she is from the Philippines so it's all right.
39- All the clothes you own are tailor-made or come from Giordano.
40- You are not surprised to see your tap water run dark brown.

41- Drilling on the walls in the wee small hours in the morning is considered acceptable behaviour.
42- If it's Friday, it must be Typhoon 3 day.
43- If it's Saturday, it must be Typhoon 8 day.
44- You tell your parents their house back in your home country has bad feng shui.
45- You get offended when people admire your chopsticks skills.
46- You compiled a 3-page list of weird English first names that Chinese people of your acquaintance have chosen for themselves.
47- You learnt to bring a coat, a scarf and gloves to fight hypothermia in supermarkets, buses, ferries and cinemas.
48- Your collection of business cards has outgrown your flat.
49- You are convinced that the only thing that moves more slowly than continental drift is a Causeway Bay crowd on a Saturday afternoon.
50- You are not surprised to see 85-year old ladies pushing tons of garbage up the streets of the financial district.

51- You bulldoze your way into lifts and MTR trains before other passengers have a chance to alight.
52- If someone smiles at you for no particular reason, you know she is a Filipina.
53- You know that leather shoes can grow leaves during the wet season.
54- The word "wildlife" refers to the family of cockroaches that dwells in your kitchen drawer.
55- You use the word "Ayyiieeaaahh" every few sentences to convey surprise, pleasure, pain or anger.
56- You speak enough Cantonese to make your colleagues laugh their heads off (attempts with anyone else still only draw blank stares).
57- You are not surprised to find footprints on the edge of the toilet bowl.
58- You believe you are really tall when you are only 5'8".

And Finally...
59- You know that leaving Hong Kong will break your heart.

Asia Journal Index  

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