I visited China in October of this year. I have gone back to China many times, but this time was not the same. It was much better than what I expected.

The first thing I noticed was the unity. This is the first time I heard everyone saying “we have a wonderful leader”. There was zero negative talk about the Chinese President Xi Jing Ping.

Before, there was always a lot of complaints about corruption, low income, management problems, regulation problems, and much more. But this time, I did not hear much complaints.

Even when I asked about the poor air quality, almost every response is “This has been much better. It was much worse before”. They know that the Government has been working to improve this issue.

I noticed all the efforts that the Government is putting in to improve whatever needs to be improved. There is no negative; all parties agree to the decisions the Government has made, because whatever decision is made is about “Improving”.

There is no fighting within the Government. It is easy to see that many things have improved: roads, transportation, buildings, economy, regulation, environment, education, and most of all: the happiness of people. From talking to so many people, I see that China is on the right track.

The Chinese Government has put much effort into fighting against corruption, and it is obvious that companies and government officials are very cautious not to get involved in corruption or bribes, and even not to use a company car for personal use. Corruption was a big problem in China in the past, and I am very happy to see this change.

The next thing I am very happy about is public transportation. The fast trains make such a difference in travel. Almost everywhere you want to go, there is fast train.

The train goes 300 Kilometers per hour and passengers feel it is smooth and safe, and saves time. The subway system is so much better than what we have in United States. It is safe, clean, and well-organized.

People really don’t need to buy a car, but they do anyway. Among the friends I visited, half of them have car. Some of them don’t even drive much, but they say they feel good to have car. Many of them use the car to go to suburbs to fish, have leisure play, or sightseeing on the weekend.

The air travel has many new planes, plenty of flights to everywhere. But the security check in airport was brutal, they check in much detail, and I was not prepared. Unluckily, someone stole my iPhone during security check. From now on I will definitely be more prepared and cautious.

When in China, one thing you know is that you are safe even walking on the street at 2AM. This does not happen here in USA. Some Chinese love to have “Evening Fun”, from 9PM to 2AM. They walk on the street, eat the street food such as barbecue chicken, or barbecue pigeon, teriyaki beef, various dumplings, many selection of vegetarian foods, and much more.

It is an eye-opening event. Yes, there are many music players too. No one is allowed to own a gun, therefore there is no shootings.

Food is a big thing in China. People love to get together to eat out. The restaurants are everywhere, and there are so many delicious dishes and diversity of foods, and not heavy either (low calorie).

In addition to new dishes, the old dishes brought back my childhood memories of delicious food. One thing I noticed is that there is a new habit about “Reunions”. People love “Reunions” of all kinds: family reunion, elementary school reunion, high school reunion, college reunion, previous co-worker office reunion, …., anything you can think of, there is a “reunion” once a while.

What happens is that the group gathers together, meets at a restaurant or goes to a resort, to eat, sing, play cards, or go sightseeing. Just do whatever fun activities people can think of. Reunions often happen in October when the weather condition is better. But it can be other times.

Within my 30-day China trip, I had 5 reunions. There is so much joy, happiness, and fun chatting. I can feel the harmony, peace, and happiness everywhere. I could get use to that!

In China, the value of family is extremely high. Family members help each other, support each other and do things for each other. There are 6 siblings in my family and we get along very well. We often get together to do some fun things. There is no stress, only joy.

The environment has improved greatly. The streets are much cleaner than before. In every city there are parks, greens, and many nice areas for people to stroll, and do some activities.

You can feel the new China, and it is still growing. There are many foreigners in China especially in big or medium size cities. Foreigners go there for schooling, working, sightseeing, or trade. China is a huge market, and there is a lot of money in China.

Most people make a decent living. Since there is very little tax on salary, and medical care is well covered, it seems people have a lot of money to spend. Many people can afford more luxury items.

We pay taxes on everything; we pay insurance on pretty much everything, we have to save for retirement, we don’t get social retirement until 67 years old when our health declines, we pay so much for medicine and medication.

High school and College students, have no drug problems. All the students do is study and study. They have some fun time, but that has to be after they complete their school work. They want to get good scores, so they have to study hard. They are very smart!

Another thing is that people especially retired people (most are women) love to dance: street folk dance. Since so many are interested in dance, some companies organize dance competitions. They also like to participate in “Old Dress Show”. The old style Chinese dress made in beautiful design and pattern, tailored to the body shape, gives an elegant look.

China is a happy nation. People are happy in general especially retired people. They have enough, they travel, they play, they help to watch grandchild, they enjoy just the normal life.

I understand the younger generation may have some stress trying to establish their life and career, but they also get strong social support. Just for that, they keep going until they get there.

China is focusing on building a strong country, they put effort and energy for that. And most important, people are happy to support these efforts. Can we learn something from it?

For cultural education purposes, I am planning to organize a China trip in 2018. It will be in September 2018. It will be an eye-opening experience for us. You will experience the life you never experience before and I highly recommend. The details about the trip will be sent in January’s Newsletter. The trip will be canceled if less than 10 people. Please contact me if you are interested. ak@draihankuhn.com