2013 Feb 18 Bitch, Please: Kaiser Kuo's China Survival Tips
How did you adapt to life in China? What advice do you give to newcomers to Beijing? What do you wish you had been told on your first day in town? With almost 20 years of life in China under his belt, Kaiser Kuo – co-host of the excellent Sinica podcast, one-time writer of the Beijinger's "Ich Bin Ein Beijinger" column and international spokesman for Baidu.com – is just the chap you'd like to have around when you want answers to those questions. So when a Quora.com user threw out the question "What tips and tricks have you learned that have made it easier to live in China?" Kaiser's wide-ranging response was obviously worth a read.
Covering everything from transport tips to recommended reading, air filters and food delivery, Kaiser's blueprint for happy China living has been pounced on by bloggers and Twitter users, some of whom have added their own tips. I'm sure you'll have your own suggestions to add – feel free to do so in the comments space at the bottom of this blog.
Kaiser explains each of his tips in detail here, but a condensed list of bullet points (some paraphrased) gives you the gist:
"Get an e-bike"
"Also get a bicycle"
"Collect the names/numbers of some drivers"
"Buy a transit card right away"
"Read up on some modern history"
"Make time to keep up with the news and with blogs"
"No single aggregator of news can hold a candle to Bill Bishop's Sinocism blog/newsletter"
"Pleco dictionary app"
"Get a good, reliable VPN"
"Learn to use Taobao"
"Learn to use http://Baidu.com (full disclosure: That's where I work)"
"Pick up the various English expat magazines and actually get out to the events"
"Get out and make friends"
"Travel around the country"
"If you live in a polluted city, get an air filter for every room"
"Get yourself a filter mask and spare filter elements for badly polluted days"
"Write about your experiences"
"Tap into the wonderful community of Anglophone China-watchers, who will, as you read them, help you to interpret the bewildering things to which you will inevitably be witness"
"Explore the cuisine"
"Sign up for one of the restaurant delivery services"
Kaiser's concluding piece of advice is the one that will take you furthest, and it's very simple: "Chant the mantra, 'Don't be a whiny little bitch.'"
Now you know. Go on then, let's hear your own suggestions. What are your tips for surviving and making life in China easy? Any Beijing-specific tips? Do you agree with Kaiser? Is he off the mark with any of his advice? Add your comments below.