Why I aint interested in learning Chinese (even for free, for that matter)

Rahul Mookerjee
10 min readMay 31, 2020

Dear Reader,

What I am going to talk about today is a pet peeve — so hang TIGHT. It promises to be explosive, and for a certain section of the population, it’s probably going to piss them off no end. But it has to be said, and like what I posted on the blog this morning, I’m damn well going to come out and say it.

(Say something that affects a lot of expats in China, but most are too scared to rock the boat and say anything).

Yeah. Right. Fine. But I’m not.

I cannot recall the number of times this happens . . .

Person adds me out of the blue on wechat (China’s premier chat app)

Person (usually female) attempts to flirt with me and asks me all the B.S. usual questions (in a manner that makes it clearly evident the person is just trying to “get it over with” before getting to the REAL deal — that being money — but wait, we haven’t gotten there as yet!).

How old are you? Where am I in China? And all these questions come thick and fast, out of the blue so randomly that you might think it was a bot or something you’re talking to.

You’re not in most cases. It’s a human being pre-programmed to sniff out two things — potential chance to make MONEY — not necessarily in a fair trade either.

And two, how much the other person is willing to bend over and take it, and much like a school yard bully, the minute the other person pushes back and precious few do, they STOP.

And this is symptomatic of China in general, and ALL the issues that they bring up over the world.

As I wrote about earlier this morning, it’s become kosher and acceptable to blame the rest of the world and sundry for their alleged shortcomings, but when you call the Chinese out on anything, of course, you can’t.

How can you say anything against China?!!

I can almost hear the cries, wails and rants of the bleating sheeple as I sit here writing this . . .

Anyway, said person will ask me my job. Red flag #1 . . . and most important question of course.

Once said person determines that the foreign devil is not an English teacher (and especially IF he’s an English teacher — one of the most useless occupations there is if ever and I say that for a good REASON!) they’ll come back and badger you with “Can you teach me English”?

No mention of price of course. No mention of how it’ll happen, or even if a person that doesn’t know you from Adam would want to “teach you”.

I still remember the Chinese dude in a Walmart in Dongguan that got pissed off when I said I didn’t teach at all, and certainly not for free.

“How can you not teach us for free”, he wailed “You guys learn it for free in America!”

Well, first thing pally, not all of us learn English for free in the U.S. or another country that is purportedly a native English speaking nation.

SECOND, even if we did get something for free what obligates us to share it for free, or spend our TIME tutoring you for free especially when anyone with any brains knows that what is free is not valued, and that the person in front of you really doesn’t want to learn English anyway?

And if you don’t believe me there, take a look at the ESL industry in China, and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s by far the only industry where the students call the shots, and it’s not uncommon to hear “I paid money, so he needs to teach me this way!”

“I spent all my time playing ping pong last night and gossiping with my friends at the beauty salon and couldn’t learn properly, so it’s his fault. Even though he taught me, I paid, so I deserve to learn!”

Wail, wah, wah, rant, scream shout. Insert “descriptor of choice”, but that’s mainland China for you to a T my friend. Some of the most entitled and arrogant people you’ll EVER meet in your life, and while NOT all Chinese are like that (I’ve met plenty of decent people there) — there are enough for me to be writing this and saying what I am in general.

I mean, lets get REAL here.

Does this look familiar (to those in the know)??

I’ve said this plenty of times, but for some reason people in general choose to “carefully” skirt the facts, so here they are in terms of teaching.

When you learn something, you do it the INSTRUCTOR’s way, or the highway. That’s just as simple as it gets my friend.

I remember a person that once came to me for training and wouldn’t do what I told him to do. And needless to say, he did not lose weight.

He came back to me with a rant about “I paid you, trusting you, and look at the results I got!”

My response?

Dude, simply paying me doesn’t rock the boat. That was Mark Twain who first said that, by the way, that “nodding the head don’t rock the boat”.

The great, and likely cranky as heck Mark Twain . . .

You have to do the thing. You have to take ACTION. And if you’re learning swimming, for one, guess what. You’ll get water in your nose.

If you’re interested in competitive boxing, then at a certain point you’ll get knocked out. That’s just how it is my friend.

And complaining and whining about “it shouldn’t be happening because we laid down a few hundred RMB’s” doesn’t do much except point out how damned STUPID you are.

It doesn’t work that way — at least not in the real world. You’re paying for the PRIVILEGE of learning — not the other way around!

Back to the Wechat nuts then we go.

Once you say you don’t want to teach them English (and in my case I won’t even if they pay me) , they’ll go on and on about how “Ill teach you Chinese for free, and you can teach me English for free”.

Um, thanks, but no thanks I tell them (at this point most expats get conned into thinking they’re getting a good deal, but they ain’t).

Ah, the fun of it all . . .

And why?

Ah. That was the central point of the article, hehe.

Because #1, my job doesn’t require it. Period.

#2, I can get by just fine with the limited Chinese I know.

#3, I ain’t planning on living there the rest of my life.

#4, because NO, learning Chinese is NOT the holy grail most liberals and tom tommers make it out to be. No, China is NOT the next super power and never was for obvious reasons, and even in it’s heyday, I never wanted to learn Chinese because guess what — a) I don’t want to — and b) it don’t benefit me none.

No why, as the Chinese themselves like to say, and when it’s accompanied by a freebie seeking piss and moan sort of conversation, then there are honestly few things that irritate me more which is why I bring it up.

No, ladies. Just because you have a pretty face doesn’t mean you get to rip me off for FREE. I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again (and no I ain’t implying all ladies are that way — but in mainland China, well . . . )

And why do I bring this up?

Well, first off, because I get pestered with this sort of thing daily.

Second, to point out that not all expats in China are as stupid as the Chinese seem to think they are.

Most are, but NOT everyone.

My cantankerous ass in full flow — and if ever this was warranted, it is NOW.

And third, and most importantly . . . it’s a rant on TIME WASTERS, and those that want the entire world for FREE.

And of course, those that think anything remotely Chinese is golddust and manna from Heaven. . .

I cannot for the life of me imagine why I “have” to be learning Chinese — simply so the other person can get a free ride learning English?

I cannot imagine why for the life of me I can’t say that “no, I don’t want to learn Chinese” when I honestly don’t and be badgered up and down about it. I mean, there’s plenty of native speakers of other languages in the world, and we don’t go to them and pester them to learn our language, so why is it fine if the reverse happens?

Furthermore, if Chinese was truly that important to learn, wouldn’t it be the other way around where English speakers are hankering after the mainlanders to teach them Chinese?

I think yes my friend and yet that aint what you see happening for the most part, is it?

The other reason of course is freebie seekers and time wasters, and the associated and massive (mega) energy drain they create in your life. I’ve written about that before, so won’t get into it in this piece, but you get my drift!

And last, but not least — expats in china — grow a set of cajones for Christ’s sake.

You get the SAME requests directed at you daily, but I’ve not seen one person call it out for the bullshit it is.

If anything, these people turn around and attack yours truly for being the one to call it out.

“How can I say anything against the Chinese”.

Uh, because it’s true? Maybe because they aren’t as pure as the driven snow as they’re made out to be?

And so forth.

And while it’s fine if you want to pull out the “I’m in China so I don’t want to say anything against them” (that’s your business), when you start to attack ME is when I say something back.

Sorry if that pisses you off, but that’s just how it is.

And if you think it’s NOT? Think I’m full of shit? Think it doesn’t happen daily?

Well, I’m here to tell you it DOES.

And it happens ONLY on my wechat.

IT doesn’t happen when I talk to my Vietnamese suppliers, for one. Never ONCE have I got the “you teach me English I teach you Vietnamese” demand from then.

It doesn’t happen in India. It doesn’t happen in France. It doesn’t happen in the Middle East. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world I’ve been.

Yes, my dear pissed off reader (if you are) it happens . . . ONLY in China.

As a Bollywood song goes, it happens “only in India”. Replace India with China, and you get the drift.

If there ever was a country that I could label “materialism at any cost, human or otherwise, right or wrong, legal or not, moral be damned, and so forth” — — it is . . . well, the PRC. Sorry again to say it, but its TRUE, and you, the dear reader KNOWS IT.

And on that note sanguine (not) note — I’m off.

Oh, almost forgot.

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And no, I ain’t gonna molly coddle you or hand hold. I’ll tell you what to do, and you’ll have to DO it.

Sorry, but it’s just that simple. I realize that probably disqualifies the vast majority of people reading this, but so be it. I’d rather cater to the small percentage of people out there that is actually SERIOUS about their health and fitness levels as opposed to “cast a wide net and see who gets reeled in”.

And on that note, I’m (finally) out.

Thanks for reading what may on the surface seem to be a “rant” and nothing else, but if you look between the lines (if you CAN) — you KNOW what I BE yelling about, my friend.

Oh yes — you DO!


Rahul Mookerjee

P.S. — And no, before you start jumping up and down about it it ain’t about “hating China” or any other nation. It’s about calling a spade for a spade, and saying it like it is. Far too many people (especially those in mainland China) are scared to “upset the apple cart” and that’s fine, but I don’t fall into that category. China has good points and bad points just like any other nation does, and I will CONTINUE to call it out as I see fit when the occasion demans.

P.S #2 — Oh, and please do NOT get back with the equally insane and ridiculous “epidemic is getting worse in the U.S.” phish’n’bait line (which seems to be what many people use these days in place of “can you teach me English for free”?)

First thing you know, no, it ain’t. Second, at least the U.S. reports accurately, honestly and truthfully. The U.S. for one isn’t a country which at the time of writing this is mostly under lockdown (read Harbin and Northern China) and where the second wave has resurged with a vengeances (read Wuhan for those interested) and one which claims to have “solved the problem like no other nation did”.

The Chinese created this problem, and allowed the darn virus to spread to the rest of the world when they could have FULLY WELL controlled it, and that’s just a fact my friend.

P.P.S. — Anyway, this is not about the COVID, so I’ll stop there. For more in hard hitting fitness products that (again) flat out WORK and come straight from the HEART — here you go — 0 Excuses Fitness products.



Rahul Mookerjee

Writer, fitness fanatic and entrepreneur. Sign up for FREE email tips on fitness and life HERE — https://0excusesfitness.com/free-newsletter/