Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So the Differences Are...

Hey all,

The last time I did this topic I had a great response and many requests to do more. So over the last month I've put together some differences--both good and bad--between Macau and my old home, the US of A!!! So, in no particular order, here we go.

Difference #1-- Back home if you don't understand something someone is saying, you'll usually ask them to repeat themselves. You don't want to misunderstand. But here in Asia, it is considered impolite to do ask those type of questions. Instead a Chinese person may say okay or nod. We'll think they understand or are agreeing with us, while in reality they are just confused. So you learn to push until you both are SURE you are on the same page. Otherwise you can wind up with some really strange things! LOL

A footnote to this is because of the language difficulty, I already know that at least once a day I'm going to make a mistake in some way. So, I try to keep my patience and take a deep breath. One thing you NEVER want to do is lose face here. That is the ultimate sin in Asia.

Difference #2--  You know, I never thought I'd miss commercials. Those loud, irritating and sometimes ridiculous thirty second sales tools that we are inundated with in the States.  I mean other than the Superbowl, I either fast forward through them or turn the sound off.

But here in Macau, commercials are few and far between.  Instead they do one of two things.  One, they don't have commercials at all, which isn't bad until you need to go to the bathroom or go get a second cup of coffee.  Or two, (and this is the one that drives me nuts) they advertise other TV shows.  Ad Nauseum.  Seriously.  If a show is coming on next Wednesday I guarantee I'll have the promo crammed down my throat at least 1500 times.  And if it is a show you really aren't interested in, after the 328th time, you're ready to throw your TV off the balcony.

I mean, I loved Phil Harris on Deadliest Catch and I cried when he had a stroke and eventually passed beyond the veil.  But I do NOT want to see an promo for a show about his life 1,057 times!  I mean, let us know it's there and then maybe mention it once or twice a day.  But 10 times an hour?  AHHHHH!!!!

I'm not sure why they have so little advertising over here.  I tell you.  The market is wide open.  So any of you advertising wonders, if you are looking for a place to ply your trade, consider this area.  Anything is better than watching a baby elephant die 723 times just so Discovery Asia can make sure you know what's going to happen to him when the real program airs.

Difference #3-- You know how in the USA or many other western countries, we are VERY label conscious.  If you're watching calories, you check how many that spaghetti sauce has or if you have allergies, you're very careful to make sure it's gluten free.  But here in Asia, they aren't so worried and their laws reflect that.  In fact, if you are a distributor and you don't like what's on a package, well, no worries.  Just cross it out.

That's right.  There are quite a few grocieries on the shelves of the store that have black marks crossing off pertinent information.  As you can see in the picture here, it's not even done well.  They just used a black marker and covered something up.  You can't see what it is, which makes it even more worrisome.  Just why did they scratch it out?  Is it expired?  Toxic?  What? And apparently, this is okay to do over here. Can you see your neighborhood WalMart trying that?  LOL

Difference #4--  Let's talk about food.  I mean, when you go to another country you adapt to what they have for you.  While we still have McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken, there are hundreds of restaurants that are specifically Chinese or Macanese, which is a mix of Portugese and Chinese.  You learn to find those places where you can look at pictures and point to what you want, and eventually you can even try some of the foods you've never seen before.  Like I did in Singapore when I ate yummy fried baby squid or a whole fish (including the head--which I didn't eat).

But I have to draw the line at birds looking at me.  I just can't handle it.  We walk through the markets and they have all kinds of poultry hanging there their heads flopping in the breeze.  I've sorta, kinda gotten used to that.  But then we went to a restaurant down on the Macau's Fisherman's Warf and they rolled up this display cart to show us what was available.  And I almost lost the lunch I hadn't yet eaten.

There on a plate was a Macau delicacy.  Cooked to a beautiful crispy brown, the scent was actually quite yummy.  Until you looked at it.  Into it's beady little black eyes.  At it's slightly opened beak that looked as if it was still gasping for breath.

A baby pigeon.

OMG...a baby pigeon?  And it was all scrunched up like it was in pain.  Seriously.  I about lost it.  I felt so sorry for the little critter, I had to settle for salad    Still every time that display cart rolled by, I just knew it that baby pigeon was still looking reproachfully at me.  Talk about guilt!

So there you have it.  A few of the latest fun differences I've discovered over here.  This will be an ongoing series as I discover more and I doubt I'll ever run out of fodder.  Because isn't that what it's all about?  Discovering the differences and embracing them.

Except baby pigeons.  Sorry.  Not going to happen.  LOL

See you on Friday with a new guest Blogger.  Qwilla Rain will be here to share a little of her life with us!

Hugs and have a great week!

CJ England  

Follow Your Dreams


Maria D. said...

Interesting differences- I would have trouble traveling overseas due to food issues. Can't have blacked out labels and I almost lost my breakfast with the pigeon thing...Looking forward to Friday's guest blogger

Unknown said...

OMG CJ, I would have lost it! The poor baby pigeon! *L* I am glad you are having a good time over there and learning new things--good luck with everything!

CJ England said...


Tell me about it. I still shudder thinking about it. And apparently baby pigeon is a real delicacy. It's everywhere!

Will see you on Friday!

CJ England said...


My sweet baboo kept shushing me because I was so freaked out about the thing. I couldn't even go back and take a picture. I grabbed this one from the internet. The one I saw had it's eyes open.

That totally freaked me out...

Unknown said...

*grimaces* It is worse than what I went through in Puerto Rico when I visited my great-grandmother--at least they remove the frigging heads! *L*

I suggest you concentrate on all the new fruits and veggies they have--much safer bet. *L*

CJ England said...

LOLOL Hairy fruit is in my next differences blog. And try and find a pumpkin for fresh pumpkin pie?

They look totally different. I had to go grab a jackolantern and take it back to the produce section so they'd help me find one.

It was yellow, green and skinny. But it tasted like pumpkin. LOL

Phylis said...

The differences are facinating! I would draw the lines at the baby pigeon. Looking forward to more.

CJ England said...

Can you imagine if they showed them to you alive, like they do with lobsters and fish?


Ray said...

Navy and Military Sealift ships have satellite TV provided by Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. Instead of commercials the breaks are filled with public service announcements and reenlistment ads. Whenever I was in the Mediterranean I bought a multi-system TV set so I could get local programming. Even thought the commercials were in Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic or Albanian it was a relief not to have to watch government propaganda.

What was good about Spanish commercials is that they all came before or at the end of a program and did not interrupt the flow of the show.

Whenever I returned to the USA I was so glad to see the commercials that now that I have been home for five years I absolutely hate.


CJ England said...


Exactly. I know I'll do the same thing when we go back to the states. And then I'll probably miss the weird Asian ads. LOL