18 October, 2011

A Chinese Woman in Denmark

Wherever we go, people tell us 'cross cultural' stories. Many are funny, many are sad, and many are just plain scary. Here goes one of those.

A young Chinese woman is studying business. She decides to do her Masters Thesis in Denmark and flies to a medium sized city with a good business school. The university staff finds her a small apartment near the university library and she moves in. The Danes tend to be stand offish, not quick to make friends of new people in the neighborhood, so young Chinese woman, lets call her Lee, had no friends. That can be problematic, because you don't know where to shop, where to get your hair cut, where to find a good doctor, dentist with out the local knowledge. 

Finally after two months, someone at the university approached her and asked her how she was doing.
"I'm doing well," she answered.
"But you must be lonely," the staff lady said. "I never see you talking to anyone."
"No," Lee said, "I am too busy to be lonely. I spend time with my daughter before I go to the library and when I return home, so I am not lonely." 
"Your daughter?" the staff lady gasped. "We didn't know you had a daughter.  How old is she?"  
"Two," Lee said smiling. 
"Is she in a Creche?"
"Oh, no," Lee answered. "There was no room in the creche."
"But what do you do with her?"
"She stays in the apartment, but it's okay because I have THE CHAIR."
"The Chair?" The staff lady is almost gasping at the idea that the little girl is left alone.
"Yes," said Lee, "we have breakfast and play awhile and then I put her in the chair. Her arms are bound to the sides of the chair, and there is a hole where she can go potty. Then I turn on the TV and she watches all day. After 8 hours I come back, we have dinner and play awhile before she goes to bed."

Being Danish, the woman went out and found a place in a creche for the child, so Lee could continue studying. 
When Lee was interviewed, she explained that this is quite common in China. Everyone has to work. Parents are usually in the village, so they have no choice. Either work or starve. 

Cross Cultural. And the Chinese government helped out the ailing banks. So much for communism caring about their population.

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