The More You Know: China Edition

By Brian Sack

I love traveling, but when it came to China I’d made up my mind what it would

be like and I wasn’t interested. If I was going to spend a day on a plane, there

were many other places I’d rather see: New Zealand, Japan, South Korea or

Antarctica—but my wife felt differently. She wanted to see China, and used many

adjectives to make her case.

The last time she’d insisted so strongly on something was when she said I

couldn’t eat chicken that had been in the freezer for three years. Turns out she

was right. Maybe she’d be right again? Ultimately I was persuaded. China it was.

The next thing I knew, I was spending twenty-billion frequent flier miles for

tickets to Shanghai. It was to become one of the most eye-opening trips of my

life. And the only trip where I’d find myself eating a bird’s nest.

Here’s what I learned:

THEY EAT EVERYTHING

When you have a huge population that is mainly poor, all options are on the

table when it comes to sustenance. What that means is that standard fare in

China has the habit of freaking us, and our less-adventurous Western palates, out.

What’s on the menu? Bee pupae. Caterpillars. Crickets. Snakes. Frogs. I

passed on donkey meat stew but I did eat a shark fin and bird’s nest soup. I thought bird’s nest soup might come from boiled twigs but it’s actually a nest. A nest the bird makes from its

saliva. I found that out afterward.

Dogs and cats can breathe easier in the cities now that the new middle class

has started warming up to the idea of pets. But many folks, especially in the

rural areas, don’t freak out about cat meatballs. Can’t say I’m a fan.

What’s notable is the lack of dairy in Chinese cooking. There’s not much of

it. There are a couple reasons: Chinese have a high prevalence of lactose

intolerance. It’s in the genes. One Chinese girl told me she found the idea of

cheese "disgusting." And dairy farming requires a lot of land and a lot of cows.

As a result, dairy is simply not big. And of course, the tainted milk scandals

haven’t helped.

THEY’RE NOT REALLY COMMUNIST

I saw a Ferrari in Shanghai. In fact, I saw a good number of nice cars. That

doesn’t mesh with the "classless society" that Marx and several of my professors

fantasized about. No matter how egalitarian societies want to be, there’s always

the ruling elite and the ruling elite always like to have more things than

everyone else. In my wife’s communist Poland they had a cynical expression for

this disparity in fiscal equality:



"There’s even, and there’s even-er."

The big cities have no shortage of high-end shopping malls, luxury items and

fancy restaurants (one of my favorites was named "Made In China"). Most of their

population, around 1 billion folks, is indeed very poor. And poor in China is a

lot worse than poor in America. But their middle class of about 300 million

people (the size of the U.S.), have it pretty good if they play nice and don’t

annoy the one political party. Though we tend to paint the country with a broad

brush and say they’re communist, it’s more like two diametrically opposed

ideologies had a one night stand that produced a baby called capitalistic

totalitarianism.


THEY HAVE THE WORST BATHROOMS

A hole in the floor. In a small, filthy stall. Oh, and the toilet paper is

outside the stall because you were supposed to bring it in with you. Enjoy.


THEY LIKE US

As more and more Chinese travel and interact with people outside the People’s

Republic, they learn that what they were told about the West and the reality

aren’t the same. Sure, there are plenty of folks who buy the Party line but

there are also many, many skeptics and dissenters. I almost feel bad for the

People’s Party because they have a hard task ahead of them, especially because

of the Internet. Their people, if you can talk to them one-on-one, are

very interested in Western culture and

wouldn’t mind if we learned about theirs. Several people ran up and took

pictures of us, but especially my wife because she’s blond. And prettier than

me.


WESTERN NOTIONS OF POLITENESS ARE OUT THE DOOR

When your population is absurdly large, certain niceties get sacrificed for

expediency’s sake. People bump into you on crowded streets and say nothing. They

charge the elevator before you get off. They stand over you as you’re eating,

waiting for your table to become available. Once you get used to it, it’s kind

of fun.


THE LANGUAGE IS ABSURDLY HARD

China is riddled with different dialects and languages that geographically

are not far apart – like driving from New York to Boston and wondering what

everyone was saying. The government wisely decided to pick one language and

stick with it, so the official tongue is Mandarin. Still, getting your point

across can be tough. We have 26 letters in our alphabet. They have 6,000 written

characters. And then there are the oral tones.


Tones.

I’m a good traveler. I make an effort to learn the essential and polite words

and use them often. I had no luck here. Try as I did, people just stared at me,

shook their heads, and raised eyebrows. It was hopeless. And I have the tones to

thank for it. Say a word with the wrong tone and you’re saying a totally

different thing. For example: The word

>

ma.

Say it with a high tone and it means

>

mother.

Say it in a rising tone and it means

>

hemp.

Say it in a falling/rising tone and it means

>

horse.

Falling tone? Oh, that’s

>

scold.

Good luck.


LAWS ARE ENFORCED RANDOMLY

We took an overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing. We arrived in the

morning and found ourselves among the droves of folks streaming out of the

station. As we headed out the gates, a very punchable guard stopped me. I

determined that he was asking to see my tickets, which I believed I had thrown

away. I tried to explain this despite the language barrier. He wanted to see the

tickets. As he barked at me in Mandarin, hundreds of people streamed right past

him, their tickets going unchecked. He demanded my tickets. I insisted they were

gone. And what’s the point? We were only trying to

>

leave

the station.

Eventually we had to drag our bags back to the train, find our car, and sift

through the trash while four people leered at us. After 45 minutes we found the

tickets. In my camera bag. My wife mocked me for being an idiot, then we showed

the guard the tickets. I swore at him, knowing he wouldn’t understand, and we

were on our way.


YOU CAN’T RENT A CAR

That’s right. No Hertz for you! You need to hire a driver to take you around

because car rental is forbidden. But you don’t want to drive anyway. It’s absolutely insane. Fortunately, hiring someone to drive you around isn’t expensive in a country where the average monthly income is $300.


YOU SHOULD NOT DRINK THE WINE WITH THE SNAKE IN IT

If you find yourself in the stunningly gorgeous Guilin area taking a lovely

cruise down the river, there’s a very good chance you’ll be presented with a

dead snake coiled up in a bottle of wine. This is called snake wine.

They will tell you that snake wine is loaded with curative properties that

will cure farsightedness, impotence and baldness. They will urge you to try

some; however, I recommend that you don’t try it, because the combination of

vile snake-flavored wine and the motion of a boat on the water will result in

you stumbling off the boat and throwing up on a pretty, young Chinese woman who

will scream.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.


THEY HAVE THE BEST ASPARAGUS

I’m serious. It was the best asparagus I’ve ever had. Sure, it was probably

fertilized with the blood of dissidents and injected with melamine, but it was

absolutely delicious. Five years later and I still drool like Homer Simpson when

I think about Chinese asparagus.

 


<<

Return to the May 2010 Index of Fusion

There is an economic collapse of third-world proportions on America's horizon. Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden hinted at it in statements last week: "Capitalism … has not been serving our economy as well as it should" and "We're about to … literally change the trajectory of our nation for years and possibly decades to come."

The changes the Democratic Party already has in the works are clearly destructive. You have felt it over the last year and a half, in a small supply chain inconvenience here, an incremental price rise there. You've sensed that something is very wrong. It's rumblings of the Great Reset.

Tonight on "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck heads to the chalkboard to break down how America's traditional economic strengths are being severely undermined and, in many ways, systematically torn down by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress.

This is not "building back better"; this is a managed decline to bring America down to the rest of the world's standard of living. Glenn challenges: Don't let them convince you these are just first world problems. That's the point. America IS a wealthy nation, but we are heading quickly into a second- and third-world collapse. Glenn provides solutions for the managed decline and how you can prepare for the reset that is already in motion.

Watch the full episode below:

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On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck broke down today's inflation, explaining what it is and giving proof that those at the top — politicians and world elite — continue to take advantage of our declining economy to advance their own agenda. He also revealed how a recent decision by Citibank and powerful investment management company, BlackRock, not only puts the U.S. further behind but also allows for China to gain worldwide control.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn break it all down:


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For the first time in the history of "The Glenn Beck Program," former President Donald Trump joined Glenn to give his take on America's direction under President Joe Biden compared to his own administration. He explained why Biden's horrific Afghanistan withdrawal was "not even a little bit" like his plan, and why he thinks it was "the most embarrassing event in the history of our country."

Plus, the former president gave his opinion on China's potential takeover of Bagram Air Base, the Pakistani Prime Minister, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Glenn asked President Trump how similar the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan was to his administration's plan.

"Not even a little bit," Trump answered. "We had a great plan, but it was a very tenuous plan. It was based on many conditions. For instance, you can't kill American soldiers. ... You have to understand, I did want to get out. But I wanted to get out with dignity, and I wanted to take our equipment out. And I didn't want soldiers killed. ... What [Biden] did was just indefensible. He took the military out first and he left all the people. And then we became beggars to get the people out. I had a plan to get them out very quickly. But first, the Americans would go out."

Trump told Glenn that his plan included maintaining Bagram Air Base and explained why he would not have left "a single nail" behind in Afghanistan for the Taliban to seize.

"We were going to keep Bagram open," he explained. "We were never going to close that because, frankly, Bagram is more about China than it is about Afghanistan. It was practically on the other border of China. And now we've lost that. And you know who is taking it over? China is taking it over. We spend $10 billion to build that base. It's got the longest, most powerful runways in the world. And China has now got its representatives there and it looks like they'll take it over. Glenn, it's not believable what's happened. You know, they have Apache helicopters. These are really expensive weapons, and they have 28 of them. And they're brand-new. The latest model."

Glenn mentioned recent reports that Gen. Milley, America's top military officer, made "secret phone calls" to his counterpart in China while President Trump was in office.

"I learned early on that he was a dope," Trump said of Gen. Milley. "He made a statement to me — and I guarantee that's what happened to Biden — because I said, 'We're getting out of Afghanistan. We have to do it.' And I said, 'I want every nail. I want every screw. I want every bolt. I want every plane. I want every tank. I want it all out, down to the nails, screws, bolts ... I want every single thing. And he said, 'Sir, it's cheaper to leave it than it is to bring it.'

"The airplane might have cost $40 million, $50 million ... millions and millions of dollars. So, you think it's cheaper to leave it than to have 200 pilots fly over and fly all the equipment out? ... I said, you've got to be nuts. I mean, give me a tank of gas and a pilot and I just picked up a $40 million-dollar airplane. It was amazing. So, I learned early that this guy is a dope. But what he did, is he hurt our country ... and he shouldn't have been allowed to do it. And bad things should happen to him."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation or find the full interview on BlazeTV:


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In a shocking but underreported conversation ahead of the G7 Speakers' meeting in London last week, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted that the administration knows China is committing "genocide" against the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, but thinks working with the regime on climate change is more important.

On the radio program, an outraged Glenn Beck dissected Pelosi's speech and broke down how — along with the Biden administration's abandonment of Americans in Afghanistan, and the Democrat decision to follow measures of medical "equity" — the far left is revealing how little they really care about human life.

Glenn played a video clip of Pelosi making the following statement:

We've always felt connected to China, but with their military aggression in the South China Sea, with their continuation of genocide with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province there, with their violation of the cultural, linguistic, religious priority of Tibet, with their suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and other parts of China, as well – they're just getting worse in terms of suppression, and freedom of speech. So, human rights, security, economically [sic].

Having said all of that ... we have to work together on climate. Climate is an overriding issue and China is the leading emitter in the world, the U.S. too and developed world too, but we must work together.

"We have Nancy Pelosi admitting the United States of America knows that they're not only committing [genocide], they're continuing to commit it. Which means, we've known for a while," Glenn noted. "And what does she say? She goes on to say, yes, they're committing genocide against the Uyghurs, but having said that, I'm quoting, 'the overriding issue,' is working together on climate change.

"Would we have worked with Hitler on climate change? Would we have worked with Hitler on developing the bomb? Would we have worked with Hitler on developing the Autobahn? Would we have worked with Hitler on his socialized medicine? Would we have worked with Hitler on any of his national, socialist ideas?" he asked.

"The answer is no. No. When you're committing genocide, no! She said 'we have to work together on climate,' because climate is the 'overriding issue.' The overriding issue? There is no way to describe this mindset. That, yes, they are killing an entire group of people because of their ethnicity or religion. They are systematically rounding them up, using them for slave labor, and killing them, using their organs and selling them on the open market. They are nothing more than cattle. For us to recognize it and do nothing about it is bad enough. But to say, 'we recognize it, but we have bigger things to talk to them about,' is a horror show."

Glenn went on to urge Americans to "stand up together in love, peace, and harmony," or risk watching our nation become the worst plague on human life yet.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.