Expats living in shanghai

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Expats living in shanghai

Postby Nimmo » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:16 pm

Hi, i might be moving to shanghai in near futur(possibly permanent) but the past experience of my visit to china had made me in a trouble of making decision. Could any expats share their experience of staying in china (blend in the culture etc)?
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby robert2016 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:05 pm

Hi Nimmo:

Nice to meet you here. What kind of worries or concerns you have? I am glad to help. Skype: robert_2016@outlook.com Robert
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Shanghai Noob » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:18 pm

What was your past experience Nimmo? Or is it still a bit painful to talk about?
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby woyechijing » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:34 pm

Nimmo wrote:Hi, i might be moving to shanghai in near futur(possibly permanent) but the past experience of my visit to china had made me in a trouble of making decision. Could any expats share their experience of staying in china (blend in the culture etc)?

Once you have become totally dumb and lost all your senses, come to China.. you'll blend into the Chinese culture beautifully, seamlessly.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby crivens200 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:59 am

Your enjoyment will be 100% dependent on the attitude you bring. Positive people find happiness in their lives no matter the location. Just don't spend any length of time in a Chinese bank and your life will be fine.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby vincesmith_uk » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:03 am

crivens200 wrote:Your enjoyment will be 100% dependent on the attitude you bring. Positive people find happiness in their lives no matter the location. Just don't spend any length of time in a Chinese bank and your life will be fine.

or queueing at an ATM
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Shanghai Noob » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:19 am

In defense of Chinese banking, as long as you don't expect too much it's pretty ok. The charges are low/ free, I get a text every time my account is used, and the ICBC near me speak English and have a brick of $100 so if I ever want cash for a SE Asian holiday I get $500 with no appointment just sign some forms, takes 15 mins.

There are loads of ATM around open 24 hour that always take Union Pay and there's never any issue withdrawing 2-3000 kuai anywhere I've visited. Occasionally there's a 2kuai charge if I use a BoC machine. In the UK my Chinese card charges are lower than using my Visa in China.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby crivens200 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:36 pm

It's not the actual process or systems of the average Chinese bank that drives me loopy but the 20 minute wait for each customer nitwit in front of you. If there's 3 or 4 numbers ahead of you, you can count on at least an hour waiting time as these idiots do whatever it is they do. Sometimes I just want to go up and shake them and scream "WHAT THE F*** IS IT YOU'RE DOING?"
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Stark » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:06 pm

It's not just banks. I'm constantly shocked by how slooooow Chinese people are. You can be in line at McDonald's or Starbucks for 10 minutes with a bunch of locals and even still when they get to the front of the line it still takes them 5 times as long as a foreigner to complete the transaction - and they speak the bloody language fluently. It's like they don't even look at the menu or decide what they want until they are actually at the register.

Maybe it's all a power trip and they like making the people behind them wait.

Other time-management skills and behaviors I don't understand:

1 - in a line of traffic, as soon as the light turns green everyone starts blasting their horn BUT the car in front always takes a few extra seconds to get going.

2 - pushing and rushing to get to an escalator so they can just stand there.

3 - walking briskly through crowded areas with their mobile phone held up to their face so can they watch their crappy dramas and scattering the people in front of them like bowling pins.

4 - turning right into a crosswalk with a green walking symbol and getting incensed (honking, screaming) when I continue walking and they have to slam on their brakes. Seriously, I've had a few near-violent altercations with people when I refused to let them drive through a crowd of people crossing on a green walking light.

5 - shoving onto a crowded metro car before people can get off - then cursing and getting upset when people push back to get off the train. My one fight in China occurred when I was forced to push through a surging crowd trying to get on the metro in order to get off. One local tough took offense and tried took a swing at me and I ended up having to pin him on the subway platform with about 400 locals watching.

So, OP - in short, while the behavior of the locals is improving, it is still deplorable by international standards. If you live in China for an extended period and then visit a much poorer third world country like Myanmar or Cambodia you will be shocked at how better behaved people are.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby MarvinHC » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:09 pm

crivens200 wrote:It's not the actual process or systems of the average Chinese bank that drives me loopy but the 20 minute wait for each customer nitwit in front of you. If there's 3 or 4 numbers ahead of you, you can count on at least an hour waiting time as these idiots do whatever it is they do. Sometimes I just want to go up and shake them and scream "WHAT THE F*** IS IT YOU'RE DOING?"


Oh yes. I hate to go there and see them stamping each paper three times after collecting an x amount of signatures etc. I wonder how many tons of paper one bank branch uses a year, must be by the truckload.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby vincesmith_uk » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:06 pm

Stark wrote:
4 - turning right into a crosswalk with a green walking symbol and getting incensed (honking, screaming) when I continue walking and they have to slam on their brakes. Seriously, I've had a few near-violent altercations with people when I refused to let them drive through a crowd of people crossing on a green walking light.
.

This is the single biggest issue I have here that absolutely enrages me.
I have had many yelling arguments over this.
I completely fail to understand why when crossing the road on green they actually come straight at you
What on earth are you supposed to do ????
Dive and duck out of the way?
An idiot came at me last week while I was walking across a crossing in his AUDI straight at me. I just stopped and made him stop it is the look you get that also amazes me.
Last year in Qibao a middle aged guy was trying to cross the road at a crossing on green pushing his aged mother in a wheelchair. He just couldn't get across, no way was anyone going to stop and let him get over. I stood in the middle of the road in front of the oncoming cars and stopped them until he crossed over. He thanked me but this idiot woman in her BMW yelled and started make obscene gestures i just smiled and walked on. I wish someone would explain this behaviour to me because for the life of me I just cannot grasp it.
One early morning at school start time in Pudong the grandparents were talking the kids to school crossing the road again on a crossing. Idiot drivers were weaving in and out of them again not going to stop. Again I stood in the road and stopped the traffic until they got over. Many thanks from the old guys and obscene gestures from the moronic drivers.
However, I wish someone would explain to me why oh why, bearing in mind the effort that is put into families having children here, they then load them up on eBikes without any protection whatsoever and play chicken with all the traffic.
Please Please Please, someone explain.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Shanghai Noob » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:13 pm

Other people, outside your immediate network, just do not exist as a concept.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby UDChE89 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:05 am

Stark wrote:1 - in a line of traffic, as soon as the light turns green everyone starts blasting their horn BUT the car in front always takes a few extra seconds to get going.

2 - pushing and rushing to get to an escalator so they can just stand there.

3 - walking briskly through crowded areas with their mobile phone held up to their face so can they watch their crappy dramas and scattering the people in front of them like bowling pins.

4 - turning right into a crosswalk with a green walking symbol and getting incensed (honking, screaming) when I continue walking and they have to slam on their brakes. Seriously, I've had a few near-violent altercations with people when I refused to let them drive through a crowd of people crossing on a green walking light.


1 - Used to happen all the time when I lived in Baltimore. If you didn't move the instant the light turned red, there was a cacophony of horns behind you.

2 - Pushing and rushing I can kind of deal with though it wouldn't be so bad if people weren't allowed to cut in at the last minute. Of course, this applies to every time there's a line in China.

3 - You have people walking briskly while looking at their phones? I wish! It's more like they walk slowly so the screen doesn't jiggle then stop completely when something interesting happens. Doesn't matter if there's one or a hundred people behind them or if they're just coming off an escalator when they do it.

4 - Yeah, this one pisses me off too. I just don't get it. Why bother with the pedestrian lights at all.

The one that really bothers me is how the locals can't seem to understand that you don't stop at the entrance of an escalator to figure our whether you want to take it. Or that you don't stop right at the end or walk right across it so it's difficult for people to get off. I'm not surprised there are tons of escalator incidents here in a year.

I've referred to the locals as living in a bubble. They have no idea what is going on around them nor do they care.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Bobg8zwf » Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:28 am

Yes, all these things - and more.

In China, life is like a pubic hair on a toilet seat. Sooner or later you are going to get pissed off.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby drchork » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:22 pm

All of the above are VERY common might i add...

ESPECIALLY the turning into peds crossing the street.

HSBC found every way possible of screwing up the opening of an account. From misspelling my name Brown as BrowM to taking 3 weeks for a transfer to go through back to the US. I had to say "i want all of my money out of your shitty bank and in cash within 15 minutes" and then the transfer INSTANTLY went through. This is after 3 weeks of telling me it was my US bank holding everything up.

scooters on the sidewalk...blowing the horn, use the f*cking road!!!

elevators....news flash, you aren't getting in this thing until i get the f*ck out. I've adapted the shove them out of the way with forearm technique.

I travel the entire country: for some reason when the plane gets to the terminal, you would think the back of the plane is on fire with all the pushing and shoving. 3 weeks ago i had my limit...middle-aged Chinese woman get on her cell phone and is yelling into it (god knows what), then proceeds to push me, i turn around and give her the evil eye (waste of my time) she then pushes me again, and again but this time i fall into the people in front of me. LIMIT HAS BEEN REACHED!!! I turn around and YELL "STOP F*CKIN PUSHING ME" followed by me taking both hands and pushing her back by her shoulders. The nice Chinese lady i sat next to started yelling at the woman in Mandarin and she hung up the phone and just stood their.

I teach doctors in hospitals all over China...the things i see in hospitals i'm just going to save for my next book...
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby UDChE89 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:28 pm

Oh, how I hate that airplane thing. What in the hell is so important that they have to run off the plane when they're going to wait for their luggage? I cussed an older man out a month ago for walking back across me three times to get luggage that they stored behind me because he couldn't wait until after the rows behind had gotten off (or even started moving) before getting his luggage. Etiquette is certainly something these people don't know.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby vincesmith_uk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:48 pm

Many years ago I asked a Chinese friend why people here behave like this.
Pushing, Shoving, eBIkes on the pavement etc.etc.etc.
This mad crazy dash to rush everywhere and when they arrive to do nothing.
To this day his reply astounds me and shows a complete lack of basic common sense and logic.
He reply was:-
"Nobody told us not to".
Amazing eh?
When I asked him why people here on eBikes and in cars don't put their lights on when it is dark his reply was:-
"But they can see'
asked what about other people seeing them on the road
Reply:
'there are street lights'
I find it an inherent Chinese trait is to never accept responsibility for any of your own actions and be more than willing to blame someone else.
Hmmmmm..... Am I Cynical? In Shanghai there are 2 little words meaning No. These are"Yes" and "Maybe".
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Asylum-seeker » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:12 pm

Be careful when pushing somebody, a local guy was jailed for a year for pushing a woman who pushed in line.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby crivens200 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:05 pm

drchork wrote:I teach doctors in hospitals all over China...the things i see in hospitals i'm just going to save for my next book...


I had a Chinese friend who was studying to be a doctor. One night, about 2 in the morning we were sitting at the bar, both hammered and we had a conversation that went like this:

Me: Hey, I thought you had your final exams soon?
Him: Tomorrow
Me: Shouldn't you be home studying?
Him: Nah, I paid the examiner and got to look at the paper last week.
Me: :-0
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Bobg8zwf » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:19 pm

^ yes exactly.

About 10 years ago I was working in Changsha on a big contract for something or other.
I had a young girl translator.
One evening I was driving the works minibus back from site to the office. She was in the passenger seat. She asked me about the pedals (clutch, brake, accelerator). I was surprised because she had been gloating about just passing her driving test.
Oh, she said, sure I got the licence, I went to bed with the examiner last week.
'bout sums it up for me!
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby seabass » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:30 pm

Bobg8zwf wrote:^ yes exactly.

About 10 years ago I was working in Changsha on a big contract for something or other.
I had a young girl translator.
One evening I was driving the works minibus back from site to the office. She was in the passenger seat. She asked me about the pedals (clutch, brake, accelerator). I was surprised because she had been gloating about just passing her driving test.
Oh, she said, sure I got the licence, I went to bed with the examiner last week.
'bout sums it up for me!


No matter how long I live here, the gym trainers smoking inside the bathrooms really gets me. The fact that it'd be more taboo to call them out than them smoking in the first place is just astounding.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby woyechijing » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:59 pm

Wah! Good to see this forum spring back to life :D
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby duailli » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:49 pm

vincesmith_uk wrote:Many years ago I asked a Chinese friend why people here behave like this.
Pushing, Shoving, eBIkes on the pavement etc.etc.etc.
This mad crazy dash to rush everywhere and when they arrive to do nothing.
To this day his reply astounds me and shows a complete lack of basic common sense and logic.
He reply was:-
"Nobody told us not to".
Amazing eh?

For some of the examples listed on this thread, the "nombdy told us not to" could really be the explanation.
Some of these behaviours make me think about my own children, to whom I have to say several times a day to pay attention when walking on the street, not talk so loud when I'm just in front of them, not pushing each other for everything...
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Stark » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:39 pm

Bobg8zwf wrote:^ yes exactly.

About 10 years ago I was working in Changsha on a big contract for something or other.
I had a young girl translator.
One evening I was driving the works minibus back from site to the office. She was in the passenger seat. She asked me about the pedals (clutch, brake, accelerator). I was surprised because she had been gloating about just passing her driving test.
Oh, she said, sure I got the licence, I went to bed with the examiner last week.
'bout sums it up for me!


Ha. I walked into my realtor's office a few years ago and she was visibly fuming. I asked her what was up and she said that she'd failed her driving test. In my mind I thought 'wow, despite all the terrible drivers they DO fail people!' But then she explained why she was pissed. She said that the driving instructor had asked for a bribe in order for her to pass and she'd paid it - - but there were two instructors and the one she paid hadn't shared it with the other and that one had failed her. I thought that whole sequence just kind of summed up the country.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby superbo » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:11 pm

Few years ago, when i oftenly was in the trips, we got idea what my wife need to learn to drive the car and get the license. At winter time, we found very silent place and drove every day for 1-2 hours along the beach (i sat in rigth seat). After half year, she passed the examp from first attempt, whithout any problems. Her girlfriend did not passed twice, because of lack expirience (as i think). After buying some siggarets, as i heard, she passed too. :lol:
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby theindianguy » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:13 am

superbo wrote:Her girlfriend did not passed twice, because of lack expirience (as i think). After buying some siggarets, as i heard, she passed too. :lol:

Just a few cigarettes? Are examiners that cheap! :o
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby vincesmith_uk » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:19 am

Stark wrote:Ha. I walked into my realtor's office a few years ago and she was visibly fuming. I asked her what was up and she said that she'd failed her driving test. In my mind I thought 'wow, despite all the terrible drivers they DO fail people!' But then she explained why she was pissed. She said that the driving instructor had asked for a bribe in order for her to pass and she'd paid it - - but there were two instructors and the one she paid hadn't shared it with the other and that one had failed her. I thought that whole sequence just kind of summed up the country.

I have a Chinese friend who suffered exactly the same fate 2 years ago in s Shanghai. On top of the fees for the test etc. there is a "tax" that is paid to the instructors as a bribe and the going rate at the time was 200 kuai.
Don't pay it you fail, Pay it you pass irregardless of your driving ability.
The first time he refused to pay it and was failed, the second time he paid and passed.
This blatantly suns up how the country operates and the mentality of people.
Hmmmmm..... Am I Cynical? In Shanghai there are 2 little words meaning No. These are"Yes" and "Maybe".
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby Asylum-seeker » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:43 am

theindianguy wrote:
superbo wrote:Her girlfriend did not passed twice, because of lack expirience (as i think). After buying some siggarets, as i heard, she passed too. :lol:

Just a few cigarettes? Are examiners that cheap! :o


I had to get my motorbike license from scratch 8 years ago and when it came to testing I tried to slip my examiner 500 but he only asked for a packet of cigarettes :D and I didn't have to sleep with him.
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby vincesmith_uk » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:44 am

I should share this. It gives an indication of what you have to deal with here sometimes.
Last year I ordered my usual drinking water delivery.
Was advised it would arrive at 3.30 so went to the shop in the complex at 3 back 3.20.
They had been in the past very accurate on their arrival times.
3.30 arrived no delivery. 4 still not arrived 4.30 came and went
I asked a Chinese friend who was with me at the time to call them.
They said he was on his way.
5 minutes later he arrived and stood at the door of the apartment yelling at me in Chinese. Asked my friend what it was about and was told he was complaining that I called to check on the delivery and that he had been here at 3.30 a complete and utter lie.
Thought to myself, I am not tolerating that so asked my friend to call the water company and complain and demand an apology which I duly received.
Thought nothing more of it.
10 pm that evening knock at the door and 2 policemen standing, luckily I had Chinese friends there.
They marched in and told my friend that they had had a report of illegal gambling going on in my apartment.
They searched the place and left.
I will never be able to prove anything but to my the coincidence of my complaint and the police visit its just to close.
Hmmmmm..... Am I Cynical? In Shanghai there are 2 little words meaning No. These are"Yes" and "Maybe".
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Re: Expats living in shanghai

Postby burrito » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:48 am

vincesmith_uk wrote:I should share this. It gives an indication of what you have to deal with here sometimes.
Last year I ordered my usual drinking water delivery.
Was advised it would arrive at 3.30 so went to the shop in the complex at 3 back 3.20.
They had been in the past very accurate on their arrival times.
3.30 arrived no delivery. 4 still not arrived 4.30 came and went
I asked a Chinese friend who was with me at the time to call them.
They said he was on his way.
5 minutes later he arrived and stood at the door of the apartment yelling at me in Chinese. Asked my friend what it was about and was told he was complaining that I called to check on the delivery and that he had been here at 3.30 a complete and utter lie.
Thought to myself, I am not tolerating that so asked my friend to call the water company and complain and demand an apology which I duly received.
Thought nothing more of it.
10 pm that evening knock at the door and 2 policemen standing, luckily I had Chinese friends there.
They marched in and told my friend that they had had a report of illegal gambling going on in my apartment.
They searched the place and left.
I will never be able to prove anything but to my the coincidence of my complaint and the police visit its just to close.


Unbelievable. That's infuriating. You think the police would have seen that you are a foreigner and just laugh it off. I've learned early on to take names in situations like this. No guarantee that they won't give you a fake name I suppose though.
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