Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What does political correctness mean to you?  For years I had no idea what it meant but now if I am to define the term it means to say (or not say) the truth in such as way that could not in any way, shape or form offend anyone at anytime.  We have become masters of this concept in the West where what is 'is not' and what is not 'is'. 

Growing up we were taught that the truth must prevail and that there is right and wrong.  However, as I travel around the world I have witnessed many realities that have clashed with what we have come to believe in the West.  If the opposite of right is wrong then shouldn't the opposite of the 'truth' be a 'lie'?  Therefore, if we are not telling the 'truth' then we are lying.  Yet most if not all of us shutter at the thought that we would ever lie.

Let me illustrate by way of real life experiences here in China.  Okay, not once, not twice, not even three times but MANY times we have been called fat by friends and strangers alike.  From our vantage point, being called fat is not great for anyone's ego especially a women/lady/girl.  This is where the problem with 'political correctness' comes up.  We have been trained never to say anything that would hurt someone's ego so words like fail, lose, wrong, fat etc should not be used.  However, being here in China has highlighted a major problem with this policy of political correctness.

When we have been called 'fat' (I'm guessing they meant big - that's nicer!) we have been very offended to the point of lashing back with rolling eye balls or thinking bad thoughts about this person.  Janice and I have wondered how to best handle this situation as it has happened several times.  Although we disagree on how to best handle this situation we agree that we want to protect our children from being hurt. 

I must admit I was hurt the first few times being called 'fat' but because everyone here is only a fraction of my size and weight and I have to buy XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL shirts and pants (that are still tight) I have had to come to the conclusion that I am fat (relative to the billion people around me).  Janice and Sabrina have great difficulty finding clothes that fit them as they are both off the size charts here.  Sabrina and I have great difficulty finding shoes that fit too. 

However, Janice kept telling herself and our children not to listen and/or believe what they heard.  It was better to deny what was being said than to even consider the possibility of truth.  I saw clearly how difficult it was not only to discount the fact that someone thinks you are fat but then how to keep that thought out of your head so you don't think about it.  It doesn't help either when smiling clothing shop workers (thinking they are going to make a sale) grab a handful of fat on your side and say "you need fat size.  We not have here!" 

I would like all our children, Janice and myself not to worry so much what others think and say about us but more importantly what we think about ourselves.  If we eat moderately healthy and get exercise everyday then what we look like is what we look like and that has to be good enough. 

Just yesterday at the English Talent show that Sabrina was asked to co-host she was told by someone what she should do better.  Even though she did a great job and was told so by a dozen other people she was hurt by that one person.  We talked about it at dinner and instead of being politically correct and tell her not to listen to this person but rather if what was said was right/true then learn from it and if it was wrong/false forget it.

Too often now we live in such a sterile world that we become less and less authentic with one another and with that we lose who we are and what we have to offer the world because we are afraid to hurt or get hurt.  I'm not suggesting being nasty to people but if we are not afraid to be told the truth than the truth when told will not hurt so much.

We give tests at schools now that students can keep taking until they get the grade they want.   Had I been going to school now I would not have failed grade two (referred to as being held back) but then again I would not have known that I did not meet the grade standard. I deserved to fail and so I did.  I knew I had to work harder to pass and so I did and that 'extra work/effort' has paid off over time.  You will never know what you are capable of until you have tried your best ................and yes failed sometimes!

We are who we think we are.  If we put more value in what others think of us than what does that say about what we think of ourselves?  (hint:  not much!)

Point:  If it is true....... learn from it.  If it is false .......forget it !!


         Janice has really taken to getting in shape

 Living in Canada we saw most of this area as a dark and bad place but now living in China and watching the news from back home it is almost unbelievable what happens.  The violent and senseless crimes are a daily occurrence (Six injured after pellet gun shooting in Burnaby) as we listen/watch the news from home.

         It is illegal to have a gun in China so you don't hear or see the violent crimes that take place back home.  Government control is one thing but when it is no longer safe to walk outside your own home a better solution has to be sought.

         We sometimes leave our apartment door ajar so the kids can get in and out easily but building security will come by and ask us to lock our door.  They don't do this because theft is a big problem but rather a deterrent.  Every building has security and video cameras and so you feel very safe and secure.

         Janice and I used a fork each for the first time in three months when we went out on a date to the Holiday Inn.  (no injuries reported)

         Time is limited and labour is cheap.  I met a (40ish) CEO of a 5 star hotel who has to have a Mercedes car and driver pick him up (at our building) everyday because he is too busy to get his driver's license.
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