Beijing- Heaven for the rich, hell for the poor.

Life in Beijing is hard. There is a reason why the US government gives all it’s employees here hardship pay…

Any foreigner that has lasted more than a year can tell you that. Hell, any Chinese could tell you that.

Housing prices are through the roof. The smog is out of control. The average Chinese with no guanxi (关系- connections) cannot make more than 10,000 RMB a month. Those without a degree will make half that.

Heaven for the rich, hell for the poor. 

Life in Beijing is hard. Much like Shanghai, where the famous line goes “Heaven for the rich, hell for the poor.”

People don’t stand in line to buy groceries. They don’t involve themselves in breaking up fights. Office politics are brutal.

This attitude rubs off on foreigners too. The longer you stay, the more ruthless you will become. Probably many expats will disagree with me on this. However, I would suggest that these people are either on fancy corporate packages or don’t care about their money.

Bad Habits

In 2015 I spent a summer in New Jersey. I was doing the operations for a series of tourism and academic programs in the NYC and Boston areas. Needless to say, there were many fiascos.

My boss had over extended herself and made promises she could never hope to keep.

When the smoke had cleared and we stared at each other across the desk back in Beijing, she told me something.

“You can’t stay in China. You will learn bad habits.”

I decided not to go back to America. That is story for a different time.

Yes, I have learned many bad habits here. I cut in lines. I yell at people. I don’t say please or thank you.

I guess that after a while you just get tired of being taken advantage of. You don’t like people calling you laowai (老外)or waiguoren (外国人).

You get harder, maybe more bitter. Can you blame us? It just makes it easier.

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