Chapter 72: Private Parts in China | Speaking of China

16 Responses

  1. Nicki
    Nicki June 7, 2010 at 2:17 am | | Reply

    I had severe food poisoning and was in the ER, surrounded by about 4 doctors and 20 other patients, all milling around the cot I was lying groaning on. They decided to give me a shot for the pain, and of course it had to go in the butt. I was in so much pain by that point that I didn’t even care, I just rolled over and everybody got an eyeful of white girl butt.
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..Twisting tongues =-.

  2. EuropeanGirl
    EuropeanGirl June 7, 2010 at 5:06 am | | Reply

    Chinese toilets can sometimes lack a lot of privacy. Maybe there’s no door or the walls are only one meter high. Surely this doesn’t happen in good restaurants or shopping malls but if you visit the railway station or smaller city then better to get used to it. Luckily no one haven’t stared at me while doing the business, but I’ve heard that happened to a white girl too.

    My Chinese tutor also didn’t right away knew what the word privacy means so I had to explain it a little bit before he remembered the word!
    .-= EuropeanGirl´s last blog ..Can you be too honest? =-.

  3. melanie gao
    melanie gao June 7, 2010 at 8:41 am | | Reply

    In my office the doors to the men’s and women’s restrooms are right next to each other and they don’t close so there’s very little privacy. I thought this was strange at first but quickly got used to it. Now when people visit from the U.S. they always comment on it and I remember that I once thought it was strange too. It’s amazing what you can get used to though.
    .-= melanie gao´s last blog ..How to Walk from Brazil to Vietnam in One Day =-.

  4. Crystal
    Crystal June 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm | | Reply

    For me it was exactly the opposite experience, when I for the first time went to hospital ABROAD and the registering nurse DID ask a woman in the queue behind me to move back in order to give me some privacy. That was a kind of pleasant surprise for me…
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..How Educated Chinese Girls Become “Leftovers”? =-.

  5. Jo Gan
    Jo Gan June 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm | | Reply

    Well… i was talking to a girl in the office about bra sizes and how to translate it into cm instead of the inches we use… and as we were discussing it.. some students where trying to get in on the conversations… mostly men… we tried to keep it kind of quiet since some men seem kind of strange about personal underwear, for some reason in China. Anyway, she said she didnt know how to do it.. and one man piped up and said he could do it.. I told him .. no you cant.. and he insisted yes.. he could…I said okay.. how do you do it… and he said.. what exactly.? I said.. translate bra size into inches instead of cm…. he turned bright red and said.. ohhh.. no I cant.. and quickly left… so did everyone else… I guess if they would have left us to ourselves.. they wouldnt have been so embarassed… I think lack of privacy comes from .. Them being so nosey…. which by the way .. I explained to my students the meaning . So they would be aware of the pet peeve I have.

  6. globalgal
    globalgal June 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm | | Reply

    My friend Gabrielle has a funny blog post about this topic. She sought help in a Shenyang hospital for a female problem and ended up with an audience. I don’t know if I can post links or not, but here it is:
    .-= globalgal´s last blog ..It Might Not Be Happening After All =-.

  7. ellis
    ellis June 8, 2010 at 5:22 am | | Reply

    I actually had this problem very recently. Going to the hospitals around here (especially little ones like the one in Huzhou) pretty much makes things worse, even more so if it’s for a more private matter. In the few times I’ve done this there’s always been an audience, even when I’m with the doctor, and sometimes, because many pregnant women come with their husbands, there have been males standing just outside the open door. How nice.
    It is so disconcerting and uncomfortable to have everything so out in the open. Ironic that I say that given that most Chinese think Westerners are so ‘open.’
    The one thing I do like is such easy access to medical records. At local hospitals, patients keep their medical records, the hospitals don’t. At an international clinic in Shanghai, they readily photocopy any test or doctor’s form I ask them for, whereas in America it’s nearly impossible to acquire a record of any kind.

  8. Nicki
    Nicki June 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm | | Reply

    Jocelyn, I wasn’t too happy about it, but decided that having less pain was more important than having more privacy at that particular moment! Unfortunately the shot did basically nothing for the pain so it was all for nothing anyway.

    Jo’s bra story reminded me of the time I was in the supermarket and actually found a bra I thought might work for me. (I generally wait to buy in the US because I’m very picky about bras, I hate padding and underwire and there’s practically nothing here that doesn’t have one or the other or more likely both.) Anyway, I tossed it in my shopping cart and turned to see if there were any others I wanted to buy. I heard a lot of giggling and I turned around to find a couple of twenty-something girls had fished it out of my shopping cart!!! and were giggling over the size I wore!!! I actually left the whole cart and walked out of the store without buying anything, I was so mad.

  9. Joel
    Joel June 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm | | Reply

    I remember when my wife and I went for her first ultrasound here in Tianjin. It was of course a magical day for us, getting the first photo of our baby and seeing her for the first time. But yeah, it was like you said, everyone crowding around, shoving their papers at the nurse, and zero privacy. We were going in starry-eyed at the thought of the tiny baby inside my wife, so it was all the more sad to hear another woman say to the same nurse regarding her own baby, “I want to abort it.”

    I just realized I didn’t have you on my blogroll — thought I’d added you ages ago. Anyway, problem solved.

  10. Paul Stanner
    Paul Stanner June 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm | | Reply

    Dear Jocelyn :
    Recently while on a blog walk I stumbled upon your blog. God does indeed work in mysterious and sometimes delightful ways. I will be following your blog from now on.

    With regard to your rather unpleasant hospital experience. I can relate completely to your experience although I had a somewhat different solution. I’m told my solution was somewhat ” culturally insensitive ” but considering the nature of your problem I think it’s highly ” culturally insensitive ” on the Chinese part to expect you to blare out the most intimate details of your health. My solution was two fold. First I got downright nasty and informed them that it would be done MY way period. If they hesitate I ask for the boss and when he she arrives I take a good deal of money out of my pocket and wave it around telling them that if they want the money they WILL do it MY way. In every instance where I’ve had similar problems to yours this solution has worked. They’ve hated me for forcing the issue this way but quite frankly I don’t care. I think in situations like these a little cultural sensitivity on THEIR parts is called for.

    On another note. Just in case you don’t know your dealings with the bored nurse are most likely rooted in the fact that the worst Chinese students are directed into nursing and teaching by the government. She probably never wanted to be a nurse and hates her job. I know that is no excuse but sometimes knowing these things can help you know how to deal with these situations. Isn’t that just the most enlightening of policies by the Chinese government?

    I’ll be looking forward to speaking with you more soon.


  11. longtian
    longtian July 21, 2010 at 7:24 pm | | Reply

    Guys have problems buying clothes and underwear here too. I’ve only had people snicker about size twice, and both times I proclaimed loudly to my wife (in Chinese), “Honey, we’ll have to go somewhere else. This store only sells childrens’ sizes. We’ll have to find a store that sells menswear.” Just a moment later, all of those snickering “men” turn bright red as they realize that their “considerable bulk” only adds up to the size of an American 9 year old child.

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