Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shen Wei, 18-year-old Chinese blogger goes abroad

In the next month or so we will have a series of guest bloggers posting about the ideas, events, and experiences that are important to them. The subjects of national identity, media use, and globalization seems to have already begin to emerge as micro-themes.

Please welcome Shen Wei, an 18-year-old student our group met in Shanghai during the blogger roundtable. Shen is currently studying as an international student studying sociology in Great Britain. Here is the link to Shen’s Chinese-language blog.

1. An introduction

I am now studying MA Sociology at University of Warwick, not far from the town centre of Coventry, in the middle-west of England. Compared to my home city Shanghai, Coventry is really too quiet. It is sort of cut off from the outer world, but I really enjoy the life here. The air is fresh. People are friendly. Trees are all around you. I could even hear the birds singing from my dormitory in the morning, which makes me imagine of living in a park. In respect of the food and the Weather, i would say it is tolerable, though it is sometimes a bit depressing walking alone in a chilly winter afternoon around 4 o'clock, when the sky has already darkened.

And the English people, as I see, they are quite different from Chinese, American and French. (I try to be objective from a foreigner's perspective.) You could tell their character from the way they talk. They tend to speak in a courteous and roundabout way. They seem to avoid the emotion going to the extreme and always set a limit upon its expression. You could hardly expect a straightforward answer of 'yes' or 'no', in stead you might hear 'Probably' or 'I am afraid the possibility is very low.' And the English jokes are the most typical English. 9 of 10 jokes are a bit ironic and need to be understood in an opposite way. The listener should be careful. Otherwise yourself might be the next one to be laughed at unconsciously.

I need to add that English people are not always English these days, as there are a lot of migrations living in the English society. You could meet people of different skins. And people told me that when you walk on the road of London, you could hear languages from all over the world but not English. One flatmate of mine, who was born in England, holding a English visa, and speaks perfect English with no accent, told me that she would say she is a British Asian when being asked about the nationality. An English friend (he is 'native English') told me that England now is facing a problem of losing their cultural identity. What's England? What's the English way of life? A gentleman in dark coat, always taking an umbrella with him, eats Fish and chips every meal?

Anyway, I am happy to find a lot of Chinese here (6 of 12 of my flat are Chinese). We cook together and enjoy typical Chinese meal. That's why I could live in England and well keep my Chinese identity at the same time!

To be continue...