The Chinese Habit Of Proximity To Convenience
I think in this past week I have developed very Chinese habits.
Everything that I do is within a 100 meter proximity radius to where I live.
Right now, the time is 2:30 am and I have just come out to come to the ICBC bank to check how much money I have. It is 50 meters down the street. Then I am going to go to a store to buy some groceries. That is also 50 meters down the street. Then, Pacific Coffee where I do my work is also 100 meters away. I don’t even venture to the train station that often.
The Chinese habit life.
Reaching The Pajamas Level Of Convenience (秋裤水平)
When I was walking to the restaurant with my girlfriend tonight, I joked with her, “You know, I have become more like a Chinese person ever since I moved to China. The coffee shop, shops, and bank are all within 100 meters from my house. I never travel far from home.”
She laughed out loud at my comment.
I continued, “The next level up would be if I walked around in my long johns (秋裤). I would have to walk around in my pajamas to achieve a higher level of Chinese-ness.”
She laughed once more.
This need for Chinese people to live near convenience compared to how spread out the lives of ordinary Australians are, to me was a stark cultural difference.
The Influence Of Convenience On Western Culture
In Australia, we would drive our cars to the local supermarket, or travel to a local mall. No one feels compelled to live beside a metro station, a hospital, a school, or the shops. We value peace and quiet. We think it is too noisy.
The commercial and residential zones do not overlap as they do in China, where a community district (小区) can have three-level residential villas for people upstairs to live, and garages with shop downstairs on street level, for locals to buy goods. You would never see this in suburban Australia. The equivalent would be a corner shop.
So, people in Australia need to travel farther to commercial zones to purchase goods or to use services. Walking there in your pajamas in Australia would not be as convenient.
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.