The place to ask China-related questions!
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou Shenzhen Chengdu Xi'an Hangzhou Qingdao Dalian Suzhou Nanjing More Cities>>

Categories

Close
Welcome to eChinacities Answers! Please or register if you wish to join conversations or ask questions relating to life in China. For help, click here.

By continuing you agree to eChinacities's Privacy Policy .

Sign up with Google Sign up with Facebook
Sign up with Email Already have an account? .
Posts: 2592

Emperor

2
2
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

Q: My disappointing driving test experience.

You can learn a lot about a society and culture by its civil exams. My odd discovery during the "driving trials" that every driver must endure to get a license in China punctuates a really disappointing reality.

6 years 14 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
Highest Voted
Posts: 2592

Emperor

7
7
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

I'm sorry.  The website cut off most of my comments when posting.  Anyways, here is the remainder of my "question".

 

You can learn a lot about a society and culture by its civil exams. My odd discovery during the "driving trials" that every driver must endure to get a license in China punctuates a really disappointing reality.  Some of you may know that I finally relented and bought a family car, at the behest of my wife.  Since then I have been driving in anger and we both have been taking the tests necessary to acquire a legal driver's license.  This ordeal has taught me a lot about Chinese society.

 

My first disappointment was in learning that most of the exams (there are four) have nothing to do with testing driving skills but much more to do with extracting money from the test takers.  Many arbitrary rules and restrictions prevent you from passing the exams without "driving" coach or attending a driving school.  These options (your only options if you want to pass the exam) cost lots of money.  While the written exam, a reasonable multiple choice affair, can be studied online beforehand, the second and third exams are clearly contrived to force you to attend a school or hire a coach (which are probably affiliated with a government official or two).  I learned this the hard way by obstinately failing the second exam, taken on a closed course, three times.  I have been driving in America for 35 years.  My wife, who paid the 4500 yuan required to attend driving school, of coursed passed the exams on the first try.  On her first time driving our car after getting her license, she caused 1000 yuan of damage backing out of our parking space!  She is forbidden to drive with the children in the car.  I don't trust her.  But she passed the exams with flying colors.  Meanwhile, I am still on my third exam (which I will take this morning).

 

This experience has given me painful insight into Chinese society.  I have first hand experience of how Chinese people are trapped in their mindset.  Like the driver's exams (and every other aspect of Chinese society), they can only be accepted if they do and think just so.  They must accept the exploitation and corruption from their government. There is no room for alternate ideas or independent thought or logic or reason. Only by doing and thinking exactly as they were taught can they hope to fit in.  This is tragic.  I have always had faith in my belief that anyone can achieve their dream if they put their mind to it.  I have always advised Chinese people to open their minds and stop limiting themselves.  Last night, as I sit in my coaches car and listen to the ridiculous rules and requirements to pass the exam, my faith was shattered.  In such a system, how can the average person expect to change and develop their thinking? How can they culturally evolve and mature? For most of these people, it really is a case of "mei ban fa".  They are in a prison.  A prison for their mind.  When I found myself being dragged into this prison, just to get a piece of paper, I felt insulted and some of the hopelessness that these people must feel.  Mei ban fa means "there is no way".  No way out.

 

Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Answers (13)
Comments (17)
1
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
1

For example? 

Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2592

Emperor

7
7
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

I'm sorry.  The website cut off most of my comments when posting.  Anyways, here is the remainder of my "question".

 

You can learn a lot about a society and culture by its civil exams. My odd discovery during the "driving trials" that every driver must endure to get a license in China punctuates a really disappointing reality.  Some of you may know that I finally relented and bought a family car, at the behest of my wife.  Since then I have been driving in anger and we both have been taking the tests necessary to acquire a legal driver's license.  This ordeal has taught me a lot about Chinese society.

 

My first disappointment was in learning that most of the exams (there are four) have nothing to do with testing driving skills but much more to do with extracting money from the test takers.  Many arbitrary rules and restrictions prevent you from passing the exams without "driving" coach or attending a driving school.  These options (your only options if you want to pass the exam) cost lots of money.  While the written exam, a reasonable multiple choice affair, can be studied online beforehand, the second and third exams are clearly contrived to force you to attend a school or hire a coach (which are probably affiliated with a government official or two).  I learned this the hard way by obstinately failing the second exam, taken on a closed course, three times.  I have been driving in America for 35 years.  My wife, who paid the 4500 yuan required to attend driving school, of coursed passed the exams on the first try.  On her first time driving our car after getting her license, she caused 1000 yuan of damage backing out of our parking space!  She is forbidden to drive with the children in the car.  I don't trust her.  But she passed the exams with flying colors.  Meanwhile, I am still on my third exam (which I will take this morning).

 

This experience has given me painful insight into Chinese society.  I have first hand experience of how Chinese people are trapped in their mindset.  Like the driver's exams (and every other aspect of Chinese society), they can only be accepted if they do and think just so.  They must accept the exploitation and corruption from their government. There is no room for alternate ideas or independent thought or logic or reason. Only by doing and thinking exactly as they were taught can they hope to fit in.  This is tragic.  I have always had faith in my belief that anyone can achieve their dream if they put their mind to it.  I have always advised Chinese people to open their minds and stop limiting themselves.  Last night, as I sit in my coaches car and listen to the ridiculous rules and requirements to pass the exam, my faith was shattered.  In such a system, how can the average person expect to change and develop their thinking? How can they culturally evolve and mature? For most of these people, it really is a case of "mei ban fa".  They are in a prison.  A prison for their mind.  When I found myself being dragged into this prison, just to get a piece of paper, I felt insulted and some of the hopelessness that these people must feel.  Mei ban fa means "there is no way".  No way out.

 

Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2592

Emperor

3
3
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

Double post. The driving school racket is not about teaching the Chinese to drive. It's about teaching them to pass the exams (which is a whole other issue, unrelated to real driving). It's like revealing the cheats to win in a game. I am not exaggerating. If I didnt see it myself, I wouldn't have believed it. Meanwhile my wife still can't drive and now I know why the Chinese as a whole are terrible drivers. Because they never learned.

jsals:

It's not just driving. It's everything. The whole society is based on getting past the test. Not real knowledge of how to do something. 

6 years 13 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
3
3
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

I'm surprised it took you this long to have the rose-coloured glasses removed!

 

Also, if you've been driving in the US for 35 years, I presume you already have a driver's license - so why are you going through this rigmarole, when you can just take a written exam to get the piece of paper here?

xinyuren:

My optimism for the human spirit will never die, but it just took a heavy blow. I still have hope for these poor people who have been trained and herded like sheep. I do not consider that to be rose-colored, just a hope for my fellow human. My American driver's license has long expired and I never intended to drive in China so I threw it out with the other things from my former life, thus I have to take all four exams like everyone else.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

kikr:

I just did it and passed on the first attempt. If that person went 35 years in the US, I have to assume they had a drivers license. Like you said, what's up with the manual driving test? I would hate to think that this person decided it would be a good idea to get their first license in China. 

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2632

Emperor

0
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

my license in Canada has expired ...  it is a real pain in the ass if and or when I go back...no rental. think I got 3 years (2 now) to show up to just renew it. I should have got an international license (doesn't expire), which you just pay a few bucks for, and I should have got a Chinese license a long time ago........  hindsight is 20/20 .....I have the test and have had for a couple years.....  too damned lazy. my daughter got a license, she will never be able to afford a car, without my help ......she cannot drive...  she won't even use my e-bike when she is here...  rather ride on the back of Mom's bike.  maybe a good thing she stays off the roads

Shining_brow:

I'd check your information on that, dude!

 

IDP's a) aren't accepted in China (nor Brazil!!) and b) are only valid for 1 year (although some will take it for 3 years). I had one... never used it.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

BHGAL:

oh I m so old...  I had one, a IDP years ago but lost it....  now I see it would have been worthless anyways.   good to know and thanks for the update.

 

https://www.bcaa.com/trip-planning/international-driving-permit

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2592

Emperor

0
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

This is probably nothing new to you expats who have to deal with day to day beauacracy all the time. But I am basically just a long term tourist in China. I have tried to avoid this crap and I retreat into my home when I am tired of it. I cant say my hope for China is dead, but it is indeed a little more broken today. BTW, I failed the third test today. I dont even want to say the ridiculous reason why. This is China.

Shining_brow:

"Dear driving instructor. I have been driving for most of my life - unlike you. It is blatantly apparent from the fact that others I know are FAR WORSE drivers than myself are able to get passed, while I am not. It is also clearly obvious that this is because you expect me to give you money.

 

You are a government official (albeit a very minor one).  Therefore, I shall film my next test - AND the tests of your other students. If they do not show better skills than me, and yet get a pass, then I shall be informing the local government anti-corruption people. I'm sure you already know the penalties for official corruption. Obviously, I'll also be informing the local media, who also like good corruption stories.

 

How is your guanxi?"

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

xinyuren:

That wont work in this case. This is government sponsored corruption. It has been integrated into normal society. I have no doubt it is done this way all over China. In fact most Chinese have been hoodwinked and train so thoroughly, they see nothing wrong with the process. This is the sad part of it all. In China, we see sheep being gathered to the slaughter and they do so willingly. I seriously doubt even the officials know how to do things any other way.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

kikr:

There are two online practice tests. Did you practice and do any kind of studying before you attempted your exam? Buy a book that has all the different road signs as well. I did it and passed no problem.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
1
1
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

I would say don't bother and drive without a license, plenty of people do it to avoid the organized racket from those 'driving schools', none ever gets arrested, have you ever seen traffic cops in China?

xinyuren:

I am generally a law abiding person, no matter how absurd they may be. I want my conscience to be clear. Besides, if there is an accident, my lacking a license won't help my situation.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

Stiggs:

No, driving without a license is never a good idea.

 

A guy I knew was involved in a fender bender while driving a work vehicle without a license. He actually had a fake license.

When the police arrived on the scene they did the first thing you would expect a traffic cop to do... check everyone's licenses.

 

I don't remember what happened to him about the license thing,a fine and a driving ban probably, but because he wasn't licensed he was automatically in the wrong even if he wasn't to blame for the accident and the insurance wasn't valid so he, or the company he worked for had to pay for the damage to both cars. He lost his job over it.

 

 

 

 

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

Scandinavian:

Driving without a license is potentially the way to not get a new visa. Living in China with your family and not get a new visa would be pretty disruptive to family life. 

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 5330

Emperor

1
1
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

I have a few Chinese friends who got their driving license and will be the first to say they are either terrible drivers, or can't drive at all. My ex girlfriend is one of them, she told me how it worked when she did it.

 

Like Xinyuren said, the driving school is not concerned about putting competent drivers on the road, their only concern is money.

 

They 'teach' you to get the car moving and I think drive around some traffic cones or something... a few very basic competency tests.

But, just like every other test, license, qualification, certification, red stamp or general permission to do something here you are expected to pay the person if you want to receive it.

 

It's probably not even seen as all that unfair. The person with the power bought their position not for the salary but for the power to extort money for something people need.

Pay the money and give them the face they 'deserve' for being in a position of power, you get what you want. Don't pay and it doesn't matter how good you are, there will always be some vaguely worded rule or law you failed to adhere to so.... sorry. Try again.

 

The scary thing is that often, all you have to do is pay the money and you can't fail the test. Universities are a great example of this.

"You can't fail me (outrage outrage) , I already paid for it".

I think of this every time I get on a plane, or go to a hospital. Or cross the street.

 

Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 3501

Emperor

0
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

The country is a basket case, no doubt about that.

Last night I was out with an Arab chap who kept saying how China was a Super Power and I couldn't shift his perspective on that.

My wife got her license through guanxi and by the time we'd bought a car several years after getting it she'd still never sat in the driver's seat ever once.

Of course it didn't take her long to crash the car.

In my case they tried to make me do some lessons but I laughed at them and finally I only had to do the computer test.  The reason they relented was guanxi.

One thing is indisputable...the corruption and incompetency will see them drown in their own smugness.

@OP... I agree with all you've said, and I wish you well.

jetfire9000:

I guess China is a superpower relative to whatever country your friend comes from.  But a concept of "superpower" is not a relative concept. There is only ine superpower on this planet at the moment. Superpower doesn't entail a country with economic preponderancy, but with military capabilities as well.  China is a regional power, but superpower is an entirely different level.  It means that force capabilities can be projected far from its own backyard.  Russia can do this in a very limited sense, China cant do it at all, at least for the time being. 

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

royceH:

They are very hard at work in an effort to correct this.  

Today launching a naval exercise right there in front of everybody.  

Sure they're challenging the US and their allies but the main target is the Chines ppl.

Now, keep them on board and we're in gravy.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse

nicholasba:

Last night I was out with an Arab chap who kept saying how China was a Super Power and I couldn't shift his perspective on that.

yeah sure...reminds me how excited Chinese were, some centuries ago when Japan won over Russia. ...same goes for that arab dude...talking more with his emotion than with his brain

6 years 13 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1154

Shifu

0
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

i find this very strange since it toii me only half a day to getvmy license took my us license took the written exam physical thatd it only an idiot cant get a licsense

Shining_brow:

OP said he let his US license expire some time ago - so that wasn't an option.

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 6

General

2
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
2

I have a drivers license in my home country, so all I was required to do was pass the computerized test. I studied all the laws and such and passed with a 93 on my first try.

xinyuren:

You're not a good reader, are you?

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2776

Emperor

0
0
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

Here in the deep south it is a complicated process too for those who have allowed their licence to expire.

 

I went several times to do the written test. I had a choice of Arabic, Korean, Japanese or Russian as foreign languages. The guy assured me that there was an english test but was surprised I couldn't read these languages. "But you are a foreigner!"

 

On the fifth attempt, I gave up and surprisingly, was refunded (most of) the money I had spent. I figured there was a big ktv night planned.

Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
1
1
You must be a registered user to vote!
You must be a registered user to vote!
0

I gave it a go about three years ago. Paid about 4000 to the school. Oh, and was told by the wife to take a carton of nice fags for the bloke.

Thing was, they couldn't even register me to take the test. For some reason the local government have decided that nobody from outside China can drive.

I had about nine hours of 'lessons' before I found this out. I was well pissed off.

Especially as I'd been driving in the UK for years.

The upshot being I had to relinquish my dream of driving here. I wasn't that bothered anyway and I certainly was not fussed about missing out on the 'mandatory' 35 hours of lessons!

The greedy fuckers.

I got most of my money back though, less the nine hours going round in circles while my 'instructor' stood with his mates tabbing it large and marveling that I could drive all by myself.

Wankers.

(seven weeks to go and I'm out.)

royceH:

Escape From Hell;  one man's tale of surviving the horrors of a retarded land.

Good luck mate!

 

6 years 14 weeks ago
Report Abuse
Report Abuse
6 years 14 weeks ago
 
Know the answer ?
Please or register to post answer.

Report Abuse

Security Code: * Enter the text diplayed in the box below
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <br> <p> <u>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Textual smileys will be replaced with graphical ones.

More information about formatting options

Forward Question

Answer of the DayMORE >>
A: Teaching English in China Requirements for 2022 (chinabyteaching.com)&
A:Teaching English in China Requirements for 2022 (chinabyteaching.com) This link will answer your visa questions. There is NOT a requirement for two years experience to be a teacher in China.  If you come with your husband under a different visa, make sure you have all the required documentation to get a Z visa when you find a job in China. It will make your life much easier.  To work in China, you MUST have a Z visa and only a Z visa.  -- nashboroguy