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Q: Is the West really so much better than China?

For my family, in our everyday lives, Europe has proven to be more hassle than it's worth.

MEDICINE

Health care has problems in the West. Medical professionals are given too high regard and too much freedom. Making a doctor's appointment can mean waiting weeks, sometimes over a month. Yesterday I brough my kids to the ear doctor in Germany, and I had almost forgotten the recurring ear infection which my son complained about, but hadn't had any more symptoms for a month.

You only need to read newspaper stories about nurses going on killing sprees. There was a male nurse in Berlin giving more than 100 elderly patients lethal injections. It took ages for the culture of secrecy and protection to be temporarily paused, in order to catch the killer. There's too much free reign for doctors and nurses, and we're expected to forgive all the protections because doctors and nurses are always so busy and important, blabla.

It's a market that has been thoroughly tainted by money interests, in particular the pharmaceutical industry and the health insurance business. My mother died in 2016 at the age of 61. Her liver cancer was deliberately not diagnosed for 6 MONTHS, she was sent home with indigestion tablets, anti-depressants, or painkillers for her back. Any excuse was used to not diagnose the problem. When she pressed the matter, they admitted her to a psychiatric ward in the hospital for examination. Writhing in abdominal pain, the ward staff concluded that her problem was physical not mental, and sent her back HOME instead of to another ward for a medical examination. When they came to pick her up again in an ambulance, the nurses wanted to bring her back to the psychiatric ward again, and my mom refused. This established an unwillingness to cooperate, hypocritically placing the blame on her.

When I got a call about her condition, two weeks before her death, an ultrasound showed her liver had grown to the size of a pregnancy. While she was writhing in pain on her death bed, a nurse came to collect her to perform the first proper examination. In an operation, they would surgically remove a section out of her liver, a painful procedure for a woman already in tremendous pain. All to confirm that it was indeed cancer, which was pretty much obvious at that point. My mother refused the procedure, creating another instance of her unwillingness to cooperate.

Many things went wrong, from her GP to the hospital staff. I'm allowed to start legal proceedings to investigate what went wrong, who dropped the ball. But it all seems like shenanigans to me. Doctors wouldn't be this deliberately incompetent, using bureaucracy to avoid a diagnosis, unless they knew they were safe from the consequences. And of course, a board of medical professionals (OTHER DOCTORS) will evaluate the events and determine if there was wrongdoing.

It's widely known how doctors end up pushing pills for big pharma in the West, earning money through prescriptions, getting perks from promoters. I have a feeling insurers have an even bigger say in the matter, and if they tell doctors it suits them when expensive-to-treat conditions remain undiagnosed until death, avoiding the duty of care and insurance liability, that scenario matches perfectly what I saw happen with my mother.

In China, if you feel unwell, you can see the doctor on the same day. Yeah there's scammers, but if you know the right hospital, and can pay your way (easier if you're not overpaying for health insurance), you get good help. You get tests done and if necessary, affordable medicines. There's no insurance or pharmaceutical industry gumming up the works - in fact, they have developed a cheap medical testing industry, to protect doctors from being blamed for misdiagnoses. In Europe the doctors and nurses have God powers and kill us if it suits them, in China the patient's family will kill doctors if they do anything like that. I know which place I'm safer!

TAXATION

It has been hard for my wife to adapt to the concept of taxation, since most people in China pay no taxes for their activities. But I've done my best to keep us ahead of the problem curve, only to be cheated by the system. Despite all my documentation of my export sales, the tax office decided to slap VAT onto my exports, because I hadn't kept the paper receipts of the deliveries. We had all the shipping numbers, and all the shipments' tracking history was available for review, but too bad for me. That'll be an extra EUR9000 tax over my business in 2017, on top of regular business taxes. In fact, governments have all the info they need to do your taxes for you, but the consultant industry always lobbies against it. Instead, you have to fill in your own taxes, and government sends you bills for any perceived mistakes. A big swindle.

COST OF LIVING

Rent is high. Insurance is mandatory and expensive. Problems are addressed by sending bills with explanations. Paperwork is an over-regulated chaotic mess, objecting to procedures is made not-worth-the-effort. We haven't been able so save in the 3 years we lived in Europe, it all goes to ridiculous bills. I'm not even elaborating on the retired judge landlady who tried to claim EUR11,000 in compensation for allegedly damaging "antique" furniture. Wasn't China supposed to be the place where you're in danger from compensation-seeking elderly? I only experienced it in Germany.

TOLERANCE FOR CHILDREN

It may be a factor of my location in Europe, but in general, there's an impatience for children and their parents on open display. Everywhere we go, we need to watch out our kids are not conceivably bothering people in some way. And even the kindergartens have the same impatient, demanding attitude. Once it became clear I deliver my kids to the kindergarten just before the 9am deadline, the deadline was changed to 8:45. Only it doesn't get enforced for anyone but us. German parents often bring their kids in just-on-time too, but I'm only accosted about my timing when I'm the only just-on-time parent.

PEOPLE

The people are not overtly racist. You encounter some of those in China, they'll say it openly. They'll heckle you in your face. The cost of dealing with racists in China is measured in emotional energy. It rarely goes beyond that, and with Chinese relatives helping you, any attempts to cause more trouble can simply be talked about. People in Europe are secretly racist, as a forcefully repressed sentiment. They show it by acting like c*nts. They'll quote rules to you, they'll alert authorities about anything you could conceivably be doing wrong, and make sure said authorities come to tell you off. The cost of dealing with European "non-racists" is measured in emotional energy, money and lifestyle restrictions. It isn't easy to talk about issues. They hide behind rules and moral absolutism. Imagine your average nosy neighbour talking to police, fire department and other organisations to find whatever you are doing is conceivably a health/safety/fire hazard. That, but kick it up another notch, and it's not just your neighbours who bother you like that.

SENTIMENTS

A recent study found that Europe is the ONLY continent where immigrants are seen as a drain on the economy. Not even Trump's America believes that immigration costs the country money, but in Europe they do. To be clear, this isn't about Muslims, or asylum seekers. It's about ANY immigrants. To imagine all the Chinese money that came into Germany through us, tens if not hundreds of thousands. All the expensive health insurance payments, that go to keeping literal old Nazis alive, and getting no decent healthcare for it. All the tax money going to the government, allegedly promoting an open society, but stifling immigrant families and bleeding them white of their savings.

I've had the feeling that China was a better place for us to live for a long time. We'll have friends, a social life, and so will our kids. No need to live in social isolation, worried which rules-quoter might cause trouble for us if we go out or even leave curtains open. No longer seen as some 'weird', unwanted immigrants, but just being allround interesting and appreciated by friends. Yeah there will be racists, but at least we can lead our lives normally, and save for our kids' future.

11 weeks 3 days ago in  General  - China

 
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Emperor

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I can relate, not quite for the same reasons as you but I've been having a shitty month and find myself missing life in China.

 

Thing is though, most of the time I don't miss China at all and the reasons I had for leaving are still the same.

 

There were a lot of things that made me decide China wasn't worth it anymore but the main ones were probably ...

 

The insecurity. I always hated living visa to visa and never being sure I'd get renewed, or that the govt wouldn't have some hissy fit about something and decide to pick on foreigners (me) or the possibility that China would suddenly say they didn't want English teachers anymore or that if they did they now needed different qualifications or something. I always felt like I was living in a house of cards that could come crashing down at any time.

 

The shitty environment. I got sick of crappy air, constant food safety outrages, crowds, people smoking constantly and almost everywhere and the lack of anything natural where you could easily go to get away from the city,like a beach / lake / river  that hadn't been ruined or gotten turned into some sort of horrible theme park.

 

The culture of dishonesty, face and materialism. Probably don't need to go into detail here, I'm sure everyone would understand, I just got worn down living among people with different values to me and being in a position where you had to assume the worst about people's intentions.

 

 

I don't have kids to worry about but if I did I'd have real problems with them going through the Chinese public school system and the general lifestyle they'd grow up in.

 

 

 

 

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11 weeks 3 days ago
 
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Posts: 3866

Emperor

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I can relate, not quite for the same reasons as you but I've been having a shitty month and find myself missing life in China.

 

Thing is though, most of the time I don't miss China at all and the reasons I had for leaving are still the same.

 

There were a lot of things that made me decide China wasn't worth it anymore but the main ones were probably ...

 

The insecurity. I always hated living visa to visa and never being sure I'd get renewed, or that the govt wouldn't have some hissy fit about something and decide to pick on foreigners (me) or the possibility that China would suddenly say they didn't want English teachers anymore or that if they did they now needed different qualifications or something. I always felt like I was living in a house of cards that could come crashing down at any time.

 

The shitty environment. I got sick of crappy air, constant food safety outrages, crowds, people smoking constantly and almost everywhere and the lack of anything natural where you could easily go to get away from the city,like a beach / lake / river  that hadn't been ruined or gotten turned into some sort of horrible theme park.

 

The culture of dishonesty, face and materialism. Probably don't need to go into detail here, I'm sure everyone would understand, I just got worn down living among people with different values to me and being in a position where you had to assume the worst about people's intentions.

 

 

I don't have kids to worry about but if I did I'd have real problems with them going through the Chinese public school system and the general lifestyle they'd grow up in.

 

 

 

 

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11 weeks 3 days ago
 
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Shifu

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Sounds more like it's German and/or EU culture that you're against, not the West as a whole. 

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11 weeks 2 days ago
 
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Governor

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I am from western Canada, been living in China for over a decade. From a social percpective I have to agree with Stiggs. From an Medical piont; sounds like Europe isn't the place to be. Economically; 1st Teir cities are now more expensive to live in than Toronto. Food prices are catching up too. Once you do the currecy conversion you'll find the clothes are just as expensive, but poorer quality. The 2nd teirs are catching up. I like the transportation system in China. Yeah, I know, it's crowded (to put it mildly), but it is efficient in the eastern half of China. Not to mention ihe transportation costs are much less than Canada. Overall; I don't mind living here. A lot has changed sicne I arrived in 2008. Mayby that's because I know I can go back to Canada anytime.

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11 weeks 2 days ago
 
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I've heard all the stories about the facial-recognition cameras and social credit scores. About how fines get taken off your wechat without needing your authorization. Name and shame billboards with recent jaywalking offender's picture's on display. I asked my wife about these things, she's fine with them. People behave better in traffic now.

At the end of the day, the amount of financial damage (and difficulties with authorities) you suffer is a pittance compared to Western fines and bureaucratic consequences. It's easy to get yourself back on your feet again, and it encourages people to do so.

Western governments use bureaucracy as a moneygrab, creating resentment and financial difficulties over even honest mistakes and minor transgressions. All the hardship is just blamed on immigration and PC culture, which immigrant families bear the brunt of.

And people use their own version of bureaucracy, namely sanctimoniousness, to act out their frustrations and insecurities by quoting rules.

I've heard many an expat rant about liberal PC culture in the west. I disagree that it's liberal in origin, but maybe we should recognize China as a clearly non-PC society, where discrimination is open and in-your-face.

I've been discriminated against in China, but it was never much of a problem. When they're giving you a hard time, they don't claim the moral high ground, so you are quite safe really. In Europe nowadays, people will quote rules at you with sanctimonious righteousness, financially and socially burdening you, and making it near impossible to defend yourself.

Everyone makes mistakes and overlooks small rules all the time, but it's where people choose to make an issue out of it, that betrays their bias. There's a German expression: Wir kennen uns / We know eachother. Everyone gets special treatment, except people you aren't close to, for them the rules apply.

hi2u, you may be right that local culture plays a part in my frustrations, but German legal culture has been imposed on the entire EU. They push this legal culture more actively than they do their own language or national identity. But it's a dishonest system where rules only serve to exclude people. I think Britain suffered from this exclusion, and it's a large part of why they wanted to leave the EU.

Personally, I'd be in favour of breaking Germany's legal culture dominance in the EU, rather than leaving the EU.

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11 weeks 2 days ago
 
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