Foreign but familiar – Observing China pt1

The city of Beijing seems to evoke an peculiarly high standard for their working culture. Almost nobody is left without a job to attend to and so tramps are pretty much a non entity here. Instead, you’ve got all these little teams of Chinese folk dotted about; some garbed in dark officers uniforms, centred on the street corners next to their radio depos, some sharing the same fluororange jackets and makeshift bamboo sweepers, positioned at 10 metre intervals aside the long wide roads of Qianmen, and others bunched together in front of the entrance lobbies to local tourist attractions.

They each stand and look attentive, and in truth the work is finished to a very high standard. 0 crime, 0 leaves and 0 fence hoppers, but still they’re mostly chilling. (Well, smoking, chuckling and spitting if you want the detailed antics.) There’s enough of them that the jobs could be completed well with half the headcount but their economy can afford to have heaps of chinafolk engaging in what can essentially be described as procrastination.

At 3am one morning, James and I are stumbling cluelessly around the streets, trying to locate our hostel following a night with lovely Monica. We turn into a sidestreet hoping to ask one of the standing guards for help. Except this one’s sitting, back turned and giggling, a bright light flickering from his phone, there’s a girl making peculiar noises, full spectrum of them – foreign but familiar. You don’t need to be Chinese to translate this stuff… He may well be jerking himself off n all but we don’t hang around to find out. We contain our laughter in our noses, retreat behind an adjacent building and re advance after clearing our throats loudly.

(As per, neither party has a clue as to what the other is saying.)

The guy doesnt need to be here really, the streets are entirely deserted, there’s 0 late night culture here in Beijing, but hes stationed here anyway, getting paid to pleasure himself… Sexual encounters aside though, I’ve really enjoyed observing this balance they’ve struck, seems to be a sweetspot for them – some product of their placement between communism and neo capitalism, to my untrained eye anyhow. It both amuses and amazes me that they can strike it but I rate it all in a weird sorta way, seems to be a workable societal solution for these fellas out here. Collective efforts, collective play, and the money to fund it all.

2 thoughts on “Foreign but familiar – Observing China pt1

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  1. Very interesting observations of a China the tourists don’t always see. But China was so long ago what’s happened since?!

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