In one my recent posts, Chinese People Are…Volume III, I made the assumption that Chinese people are bad singers, to which reader Tdok responded by saying,

“I disagree that Chinese are bad singers. They simply love and more willing to sing even if they are bad. Whereas in the US, people scared to death of getting caught singing; thus, you don’t really know how bad they sing.”

I can definitely understand where Tdok comes from on this one (although I’m sticking to my guns here), but what’s more he stirred up something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.  This could be something that my own over developed imagination has come up with on its own, but it seems to me that Chinese people have a propensity for doing things that might not necessarily come naturally to them. It almost seems to me as if they have this humble fascination with challenging themselves.  Now this would only apply to singing if you agree with my assumption that Chinese people are bad singers, as well as my assumption that it has to do with the fact that Chinese is a tonal language.  But what actually got me going on this theory is the phenomenon that is basketball in China.

Despite the fact that it’s an import and far from the national sport in China, I would venture to say that basketball is by far the most popular sport in China, especially amongst the youth.  Every tiny village in China has at least one basketball hoop, even if it’s just a piece of plywood with a basket nailed on, and during times in which there is no class at Liaocheng University, the basketball courts are always the busiest centers activity, perhaps second only to the cafeteria.  Yet ask any Chinese basketball fanatic and they will tell you that Chinese are not good at basketball. Now of course they’re comparing themselves to the NBA, an unfair comparison to say the least.  But still, China has never been closer than 8th place to winning the Olympic Gold Medal.

Again a lot of this is speculation, but from everything I’ve noticed of street culture in my city, Liaocheng people do seem to be willing to make fool of themselves more than Westerners, especially men.  Now that it’s getting hot there becomes less need for a shirt.  It’s pretty common for Chinese men to be shirtless in public.  Sometimes they just roll up the bottom of it so they’re 啤酒肚 (beer belly) hangs out.  Of course there’s a time and place for everything, and it’s not like you’d go to a business dinner not wearing a shirt, but still, they just seem so much more relaxed about initial appearance than we do in the West.