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Asia

Why are the Chinese a more materialistic people than that of the Western brethren?

Developing countries tend to be more materialistic than developed countries. This is because in a poorer society with a lot of population, there are very few ways to stand out and prove your worth.

One of the easiest ways to ‘prove’ that you are higher social status is to buy expensive clothes or electronics or a car/house – because those are hard to afford for most of the population. So being able to purchase those things is an indicator of wealth and status. And higher status means more benefits, access to better networks and connections to more powerful people etc.

In a developed society, the middle class is already wealthy enough to afford most of the things that a developing society would consider ‘status symbols’. Therefore even if you buy a fancy Lexus or Mercedes or expensive Chanel bag or iPhone it doesn’t really have as much as impact on your status as it would in a developing society. In a rich neighborhood, who cares if you own a Tesla or Lexus? So what? does it make you a better person?

In developed societies, increase in your social status comes almost purely from merit – you have to be really earn your higher status either through being an entrepeneur or getting a promotion or being able to network well with people. Just buying expensive stuff isn’t really going to get you anywhere in society.

This is also why in poorer communities in the US, especially black communities (because more blacks are impoverished on average), they tend to show off or brag more about the things they own. Whereas if you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffet for example they don’t really care what they wear or what they own anymore. They wear $30 sweaters from Ross and Marshalls. At that level of wealth it doesn’t matter what you own anymore. This is also how you know that Donald Trump probably isn’t really all that rich – or he is really insecure – if he feels the need to show off or brag all the time.

So being materialistic is not really exclusive to China. Chinese people just seem the most prominent conspicuous consumers out there because there are so many of them. But I think its a sign their middle class isn’t fully developed yet to a point where most people would be able to afford these luxuries. Thus creating the demand for status symbols. India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Africa, Middle East etc in these places I would also presume buying expensive items to be an indicator of your social status.

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Asia

Are Japan and Korea really colonies/puppet-states of the USA like so many Chinese users say?

No, Chinese netizens just have an unfortunate inferiority complex so they feel the need to put down other countries to make themselves feel better about their country. What does US Puppet state even mean anyways?

Usually when Chinese netizens say this, it means that the US military has some control over that country therefore it’s a ‘puppet’ state. Well how many countries does the US military have a presence in?

Where in the World Is the U.S. Military?

Over 70+ countries. So I guess that’s a lot of US ‘puppet’ states eh?

In day to day life, this doesn’t really matter or have an effect on the lives of normal people. Yes, Korea shares joint command of their military with the USA and Japan’s constitution was written by the USA, but that doesn’t mean either country just bows down (as Chinese people like to say ‘like a dog’) to the US’s demands.

In fact, Korea can and has turned down demands from the US before: South Korea refuses to pay US$5 billion to cover cost of US troops

In every other way, Korea/Japan elects their own president, runs their own politics, and the USA has no influence in that.

I think China often uses this putdown to Korea/Japan because they are jealous that Korea/Japan developed much earlier than they did and still have higher GDP/capita so per person, Koreans/Japanese are still generally more well off than Chinese are. Plus, their soft power is far more recognized globally than Chinese soft power (Chinese wuxi isn’t exactly in high demand like kpop concerts or Japanese anime are).

So what can a Chinese do to make themselves feel better? Well, accuse those countries of not being independent, that’s what. And especially since USA is China’s enemy right?

Well, actually USA is China’s biggest trading partner – so much for being independent from the USA. It’s kind of a moot point to accuse other countries of being too dependent on America when your own country imports $150B worth of goods from America every year.

 

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Asia

What are the differences between Korean culture and Chinese culture?

A lot of differences. Some Chinese people say that Koreans “stole” Chinese culture but in some ways Korea is more Chinese than modern day China is.

-Koreans follow strict Confucian principles more than modern day Chinese do. This was true even back in the old times when Qing China and Joseon Korea existed. Koreans more than any other race stick together. They have this sense of ‘togetherness’ that does not exist to the same extent in modern day China. For example, somebody fall down in the street in China. Does anyone care? If it happened in Korea many people will help them. Do Chinese people really care about how other people act behave or look like? Maybe, but not to the same degree Koreans care.

-Loyalty and politeness. Korea takes a lot of cultural cues from Japan. This is one of them.. Korean companies value loyalty and expect the workers to stay at their company their whole life, just like in Japan. Its considered disloyal to quit the company or change companies. This does not happen in China. Also social cues like ‘nun-chi’ 눈치 in Korea its kind of like mannerisms towards older status people doesn’t really exist in China. Koreans bow when greeting each other. Chinese shake hands much like Westerners.

-During new years or Thanksgiving Koreans (particularly the women) will dress in their traditional outfits the hanbok 한복 and traditionally prepare food for their ancestors. A lot of Korean couples also wear hanbok just for taking pictures. You will not see Chinese wear their traditional outfits for things like this. The only times I see Chinese wear qipao or hanfu are for stage plays, Chinese opera or for traditional type weddings, thats it.

-Language. Korean language although they used to use Chinese characters, is very different now. They use honorifics in their language just like Japanese. So talking to older or younger person uses different grammar. Not so in Mandarin chinese.

-Work culture as I mentioned is pretty different. And its more competitive. Koreans have to learn either Chinese or Japanese in high school (in addition to studying 14+ hours a day but that’s something shared in common with China), and because appearance is valued so much in Korea, lots of girls get plastic surgery just to have a higher chance of getting a job there. Most students study English late into the night. You’ll find that the average Korean’s English is better than the averaged Chinese’s English skill. In China its not quite as competitive due to the following fact:

-Chinese are more ambitious and bigger risk takers than Koreans are. Koreans are very socially conservative more so than Chinese. They are risk averse and would rather suicide because they couldn’t get into Samsung or a famous university than start their own company. Chinese will find another way to get a job or start their own companies. They don’t give up quite as easily.

-Koreans care about appearance a lot like I mentioned. So almost all Korean girls wear makeup, dress up, and don’t wear glasses. Their fashion styles are totally different. In China its not quite as important, BUT they focus a lot more of showing off their wealth which means buying brand name items and owning homes is more important over there. Korean women wear more revealing clothes on average than Chinese women do. You’ll find that almost all the service women you see on Korean TV (broadcasters, reporters, etc) are attractive. Korea definitely places more emphasis on women’s appearances than China does. Their airline attendants and female golf players all look like models.

-Koreans are a more ‘traditional’ society… the women usually stay at home to take care of children, and do cooking and cleaning, while in China these duties are shared between the husband and wife. Gender equality is better in China due to communism..

-China is both more conservative and more liberal than Korea in some ways. It’s more liberal in the sense that gender equality is significantly better for women in China than in Korea. You’ll see many Chinese female CEOs, many Chinese women making as much or more than Chinese men, many Chinese women controlling the household etc whereas in Korea it’s almost always the men controlling the household, making money, being the CEO, making all the decisions etc. Abortion was legalized in China 30 years before Korea legalized it. Korea only legalized abortion in 2019. 

-But China is also more conservative in the sense that it censors a lot of sex/violence in entertainment which Korea only restricts but does not censor (in fact there are large numbers of Korean movies produced each year with sex scenes/violence in it), many Chinese will not talk about prostitution or sex whereas Koreans will acknowledge that prostitution exists in Korea and can talk about sex (albeit being an uncomfortable topic to discuss). the concept of Dowries exist in China but not in Korea. In China, the men always pay for everything, whereas in Korea the men pay for the majority of things but not everything.

-China is a very diverse country full of different races. Korea is 99% Korean. This means if you look different or act different, you are probably more likely to be noticed in Korea than in China. Korea is a very conformist society and people like to act and look the same. You will find less ‘crazy’ people in Korea than in other countries.

-Religion. 40% of Koreans are Christians and another 30% are Buddhist. Since Communism eliminated religion, very few Chinese are actually religious.

-Koreans like to export their culture to other countries like kpop or kdramas. They somewhat have to do this because their country is small and they have a limited market, so their global marketing skills are very developed. China has a big domestic market so not much need to export their music or fashion or entertainment, thats why you never about hear any Chinese pop conventions…

-Korean food is really just a subset of Chinese food. Chinese people eat almost anything. spicy things, fried things, insects, herbs, parts of frog or duck or dog or horse, etc almost ANYTHING. The cuisine really depends on part of China, but Korean food tends to be spicy, and their cuisine really is a subset of Chinese cuisine. I can say almost anything you eat in Korea can be found *somewhere* in China, but not the other way around. Very few Koreans eat actual Chinese food and instead eat “Koreanized’ Chinese food. Jajeongmyeon is actually Korean food but they think its Chinese.

-Both countries are relatively safe compared to gun crazy America, but Korea is more safe. In China there is always risk of food poisoning, people stealing stuff, getting scammed etc. In Korea you can leave your phone on a table for hours and no one will take it. There was even one incident where a Chinese female friend had forgotten her laptop in Korea and the Korean staff actually took the time to ship the laptop back to her in China. 

Thats just a few differences.. there are indeed MANY since I lived in both countries. Even tiny minor things, for example Koreans like to drink when they are together and Chinese play card games (Koreans dont play card games very often). Chinese don’t drink or party as much as Koreans do on average. Games like Mahjong are non-existent in Korea but everywhere in China. Koreans love their coffee and Chinese love tea. The amount of coffee and tea shops in both places are pretty much reversed.