Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Chinese feature?

  1. Jun 15, 2003 #1
    Many westers always mix up chinese with japs!China has a long and conplex history and a tremendous population.
    What's the typical portrait of Chinese people in your mind?
    What's the common sense about China in your surrounding?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Some friends and I were discussing is not too long ago. The main conclusion we reached regarding how Westerners think about the Chinese people was, "we don't". China is a Communist nation and, to many Western eyes, it appears "closed off", secretive, a complete mystery. The fact that communism has historically been an expansionist form of government, combined with the fact that China has nuclear weapons, makes many of us uneasy. Also, some of the current Communist government's practices appear appalling to my Western way of thinking. I believe this is how most Westerners view the political situation. But it does not tell us much about the individual Chinese person.

    From history, I have developed a great respect for the Chinese mind, but I get the impression that our ways of thinking are so different that it may be a very long time before we can understand one another at all. The history is so ancient and filled with brilliant people that China is responsible for many of the great inventions that led to the modern way of life around the world. But the feudal government that dominated the majority of that long history suppressed many of these inventions, so their full potential was never investigated or applied.

    From the teachings of Lao Dsu (sp?), Confucius, and others, I get the impression that internal peace of mind and self-discipline are highly prized. I am sure that if I visited China, I would find it very crowded by my standards, and I often wonder if this is why the Chinese people look inward to find peace.
  4. Jun 15, 2003 #3
    1) Chinese people are very disciplinary, probably because they are bounded by infinitely many moral values and rules. Parents are very strict to their children and they seldom break rules. Because of the rules that need to be followed, IMO, kids in China are less creactive and their creativities drop as they grow older.

    2) Chinese are very hardworking, especially students. Perhaps it is because not all Chinese have the chance to study, that's why students treasure what they have and study hard. When they go abroad and study, they can usually get very good grades. Many of them can become good scholars.

    Yeah, Chinse history is quite interesting and I studied it for about 3 years from grade 7 to grade 9. Science developed in China was mainly used to solve problems but not purely out of curiosity nor want to reveal more about nature.

    I don't know much about communism and how it works, but I think China always hides "secrets", like the outbreak of SARS. If SARS didn't spread to Hong Kong or other countries, it would have remained as a secret forever.

    I've visited Southern part of mainland China before and I found that pollution in main cities is quite serious. Yes, it is quite crowded in large cities.
  5. Jun 15, 2003 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The people of eastern Asia are all different, with their own historys and identity. Koreans are differerent from Chinese, and the Vietnamese and Thai from the Japanese. When one becomes familiar with the different peoples they are as identafiable as Scandanavian and Italian.

    (BTW: Jap has taken on unpleasant racial conentations, it is not considered polite usage in the USA. WWII is long over and the wounds have healed. Perhaps there are a few retaining anger on both sides, but I believe for the most part it is past. Please do not use racially diparging terms on this board.)
  6. Jun 15, 2003 #5
    Let's try to remember that individuals are just that: INDIVIDUALS. Let's not lump people into groups besed on race or national origin.
  7. Aug 7, 2003 #6
    Dug this post up due to chaoszen's earlier post. I think that sometimes even asians have trouble distinguishing other asians just on sight. They have very similar features in some cases. I have several japanese friends who once commented to me that sometimes they could not tell the difference between say, a korean or a taiwanese. Of course, once you start talking to them it's evident.

    And I'm speaking from experience. I have a japanese friend and a chinese friend. If you stand them next to each other, there are no major descernable differences other than thier individual features..

    But let's turn the tables. How can you tell the difference between an american and a german without hearing them speak? I've met many germans, and until they speak either with an accent or in german, they could be americans to me.
  8. Aug 7, 2003 #7
    You've been watching too many Kung Fu movies.

    1) China has a long history of feudalism and class segregation. For two thousand years they had the masses ruled by the iron fist of a minority, despite the many wars and revolutions and other changes. This, it seems to me, makes it easier to understand Mao's obsession with equality and uniformity; to me, it seems he wanted to break that millennia-old cycle of feudalism in China.

    2) According to a Chinese associate of mine, there is a saying over there, "If someone falls over, don't help them up". Why? Because when you help them up again, they will claim you pushed them down and demand money for it. He says the younger generations there, in particular, are very greedy and untrustworthy. Of course this may just be one man's opinion.

    3) I don't know where people get the whacky idea that everything in Asia is somehow spiritually deeper and more introspective than elsewhere. Actually, I do: from movies. It's piffle. No matter where people are from, they are greedy, selfish, ruled by petty emotional drives. Some few, in many parts of the world, are different. Note the similarities between the words of Buddha and Socrates.
  9. Aug 8, 2003 #8

    Yes, I watched a lot when younger, but it isn't the main reason that I think kids (of course, not all of them) there are disciplinary.

    Even when they are in kindergartens, after a teacher enters a classroom, they need to stand up, bow and greet the teacher together. When the teacher leave, they need to stand up again, bow, say goodbye and thank you. They need to perform this kind of gretting every time a teacher enters or leaves a classroom. Also, some schools there require them to have morning assembly and assembly after recess and lunch time. They need to line up according to their class, stand in school playground or school hall to listen to announcements and words from school principles or teachers.

    Also, if the kids are too talkative in class or always not handing in homework on time, they'll be punished, say for example, by copying school rules 10 times or to write, "I will hand in homework on time in the future", 50 times. Small kids usually follow school rules strictly so as not to be punished. Of course, when they grow older, some of them may start to break rules because they aren't afraid of being punished or are used to be punished.

    Besides, China is influenced by Confucian deeply. Kids are taught to respect parents, teachers and others, to study hard, to be humble, etc. Of course when they hit teenage years or younger, same as teenagers in other countries, they may go astray and everything can happen. Whether or not a person has good characters depends largely on education, family and peer group influence. In my opinion, culture has little to do to make a person good.

    I heard of it too but I think it rarely happens. This situation is pretty extreme. I think people nowadays don't use this kind of tricks anymore.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Chinese feature?
  1. Chinese cuisines (Replies: 17)

  2. Learn Chinese (Replies: 6)

  3. Study Chinese (Replies: 1)