Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chinese Media Student Shops Super 88







Jin Liwen, one of my graduate students working on the pgl international media research, is the guest author on this post regarding cultural differences between American and Chinese daily culture. Her video mash up is funny. Here’s her advice for the ladies—don’t drink icy water. Thanks Liwen!

I have been in Boston for nearly half a year. Beyond any doubts studies at MIT are really tough. Apart from the four courses of the first semester at CMS, I have to work for two RA programs, one is Convergence Culture Consortium, and another is the animation project of Beijing Film Academy. However, I am lucky that what I am learning or working for is exactly what I like. For example, there is one class called major media texts that deals with classic English literatures such as Shakespeare’s Othello or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It gave me a lot of chances to read beautiful stories, watch classic films like singing in the rain, and go to theatre to watch live performances like bobrauschenbergamerica. Another class workshop provides us with some hands-on practices to make audio or video projects. For workshop I successfully made my first short film called The New Trojan War (2006) Besides, I’ve also got some new understandings of the cultural differences between China and America through my experiences in MIT during the first half year. Here I would like to share with you some of them:

1. Ice Water vs. Hot Water
Actually, when I studied in the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center of Chinese and American Studies last year, I have found that Americans like ice water so much even in freezing winter. They rarely drink hot water. The weirdest thing is that girls would insist drinking ICE water even during their periods. You know, in China, we always drink hot water or tea. It will make us feel warm and refreshed. And girls are warned against any ice drinks or foods (especially ice cream) during periods. My friend told me that American females even drink ice water immediately after childbirth. It’s unbelievable to us Chinese! We believe that after parturition females have to stay in bed for months and be treated well enough. And of course, they have to be far from any ICE things. I am still curious about the reasons of this cultural difference. And I cannot provide you with a cogent answer yet. Maybe you can tell me. ☺

2. Deference or Defiance?
There is one big difference between American and Chinese classes. In China, we have our professors standing in the front of the classroom, while students will be seated formally under their professor. Here in America, everything is gonna to be more casual in class. Professors would sit down like students do. They (Students as well as professors) can be seated in any comfortable positions. You can prop up your legs with a chair. You can take off your shoes or even bare your feet in class. You can go to bathroom whenever you want. Hey, I am not exaggerating! That’s what I have experienced. In class, you can ask any questions at any time. And professors seem to be pleased to be defied by students’ questions. On the contrary, in China, we are supposed to keep silence and listen to the professor attentively. And we Chinese never link verbal aggressiveness to cleverness or sagacity.

3. American Chinese Food
If you come to Boston, you will never feel hard to find some Chinese food. There are many Chinese restaurants here. And you can also easily find some Chinese food trucks or food courts on campus. However, those American Chinese foods are not true Chinese foods! They are not healthy at all! They are too oily. And most of the foods they provide are meat, chicken, beef or pork. It might be easy for you to find so-called Chinese quick meals, but it would be never easy to eat true Chinese vegetables here. Actually, these American Chinese foods are so oily that I have gained a lot of weight after I kept eating them during the first semester.

4. Globalization and Fried Spare Ribs Wuxi Style
If you really want to eat Chinese vegetables in Boston, you can go to some Chinese supermarkets such as Super 88 and find some. Of course you’ll have to cook them by yourself. Actually, what surprises me is that I even find the Fried Spare Ribs Wuxi Style (Wuxi Jiang Pai Gu) here in Super 88. And that’s the specialty of my HOMETOWN WUXI. I feel so proud and happy when I buy it here. Haha.Obviously, the power of globalization truly shortens the ‘mental distance’ from China to America. And you will strongly feel the trend of globalization when you go shopping in supermarkets or malls because you will find that you are so familiar with almost every brand. P&G;, Nike, Starbucks, Olay, Häagen-Dazs… are just everywhere!

They are just some of my feelings after I came to MIT last year. Maybe I’ve misunderstood or maybe that’s true. Whatever, I still have one and a half year to experience and to understand those interesting culture shocks here. I would like to share with you more in the future.

In the end, I will be serious to tell you that I really love Boston! This is an amazing city, tranquil and prosperous, dynamic and rich in its history and culture!

pix by Liwen are Kresge Auditorium, view from the Charles, home cooked, meal, lobby 7, and Liwen before and after.


8 Comments:

Blogger huang he said...

The habit of drinking tea is one reason we boil water; the other is that tap water in most places in China is not directly drinkable. I remember as kids, we liked to drink from tap against adult's warning of getting diarrhea, but not any more.

I once heard a joke, people from another developing country in Asia (no offence) marveled at the fact that Chinese people don't get as much diarrhea as they do, "those Chinese boil their water!"

January 24, 2007 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting!

Globalization makes it more and mroe difficult to buy souvenir when you're travelling~~

Waiting for more stories!

January 25, 2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Tim
since it provides such a wide selection of items. Basically a shopper could find just about anything they want through my site which will make their online shopping experience easier and more convenient http://www.shoppingexperience.info

January 28, 2007 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting

January 30, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger daisy chen said...

It's so amazing, I should admit. I have enter the name of yanqi to search about her experience, then I found out this blog. Jin liwen is my classmate during university. She has done a good job, hasn't she?

May 14, 2007 11:03 AM  
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July 21, 2008 11:39 AM  

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