Wednesday, May 11

Two Things I have Learned from the Chinese

There are so many things to learn from the Chinese.  They are an amazing people.  I do enjoy going there as every day, almost every hour, there is something to learn.  They do a lot of things that we "Westerners" might consider strange.  I often say "almost everything" is different.  Living there confuses one's brain, as we are so used to doing things one way, and have to learn that little is the same as we had learned in our own country.

There are two things, though feeling a little weird in a way, that have some merit.

One is bathing.  We in Australia are used to having a shower every day.  Sometimes more than one shower a day if we choose.  

On arrival in the private home in China, I was given two plastic bowls.  When I asked what they were for, I was told that one was for washing my body, and one for washing my feet.

Mmmm.  Why would this be?  They had a very sophisticated bathroom.  In fact, they had probably four bathrooms, and one I was familiar with had a shower, hand basin, normal "Western toilet", and a urinal.  Hot and cold water.  In fact, better facilities than I have in my own bathroom in Australia.  And running water in each bathroom and the kitchen and gardens.

Many houses do not have running water, and even a sophisticated home in a village rely on water from a well, as seen in this photo below.  

I accepted the plastic bowls but did not use them for their intended use.  I showered every day.

Later talking with my friend, I learned that the Chinese do not shower every day as we do.  Probably once a week they shower, and all their other "washing" is done with the bowls.  And everyone has their own bowls apparently.  

What I learned:  that it is not necessary to have a shower every day (information which is being spruiked by some health scientists - that regular showers are not as healthy as we generally believe).  As water is big issue in Australia, and we are currently experiencing huge droughts in some area, it is clear that we can keep our bodies clean and healthy, and use less water, which should be good for the country.

(An elderly (in their late 70's) couple I met have never had a bath or shower. Always using the bowl method.)



After a lunch with some 60 guests at a home in the village, all the dishes were washed on the stone floor around the well.  I do think they then used a type of dishwasher, that, using heat, sterilizes the dishes!!  (The house was quite grand, and had a sophisticated media room, but the dishes were done in this way.)

The second thing I learned, which I am doing, is that the Chinese keep a thermos flask of boiled water handy.  It saves boiling water every time you need a cup of tea or coffee.  I don't drink a lot of tea or coffee at home, but the Chinese have regular cups of tea.  In the workplace especially, a thermos of boiling water is kept on hand.  There is no waste of time waiting for "the kettle to boil".  

I like that.  I have a thermos flask that gets little use - or did until now.  I boil the kettle in the morning, then use it throughout the day.  I am saving on electricity.  And perhaps saving water too.

The Chinese also look after their cemeteries more than we do, by having a day, a public holiday, Qingming Day - Tomb Sweeping Day.




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