Lot has been written about Beijing, about the way the Chinese think, how different they are from, say, Europeans or average Americans. Well, here is one more small element that stroke me again last Sunday.
It was a beautiful day, so a a friend and I went to walk in the Jingshan Park. It was full of people. And lots of them did what would certainly be difficult to see in a European park: people spontaneously got together, start to sing, dance, or listened to a (again spontaneous) story teller… The music could be traditional Chinese or some “modern” pop; people could be old and young, men or women, they could be good dancers or clumsy like a bear… no problem. I saw a woman of a certain age walking by, putting her coat down, joining the dance for 5-10 minutes, then picking her coat up again and walk away again. Smiling.
I wonder what makes the difference. It seems that people in Beijing (and in most of China I guess, I remember seeing similar scenes in Hong Kong) have much less inhibition for these sorts of things than, for example, we have in Europe. Sure, you may see people dancing and singing in, say, the Vondelpark of Amsterdam but almost exclusively groups of friends and certainly under a certain age. Beyond that… well, yes, if you are almost a professional, if you are one of the very few who looks like a photo model but otherwise? Hell no… You do not want to ridicule yourself, do you?