In the last week, I've learned quite a few things about chinese culture, stuff that I know I had never heard before:
1. After a blind date (set up by professional matchmakers), a chinese man will show a girl that he wishes to continue seeing her by giving a monetary token, usually 200 renmimbi (approximately P1400), placed in a red envelope. It is taken as an insult if the man only gives 100 rmb or less (sort of like a slap in the face). Why give any money at all if they don't want to see the girl, I guess is what the standards require.
2. Seems like there are a lot of "witches", healers, among the older society. Some of the students have told me that their mothers took them to white witches when they were younger, typically after some medical mystery that the doctors couldn't figure out. Only one student told me of a male witch. And a good number of the students seem to believe in superstition, or at least had unexplained experiences.
3. I discovered that I had been accosted by a nun! On one of the first days of my stay in this town, I was walking around near the train station and an older woman grabbed my arm saying she wanted to give me something. Fearing for the safety of my belongings, I managed to wriggle out of her grasp. A few days ago, I was trying to explain the difference between a monk and a nun, and I was told that there are a lot of nuns who make you pay for something triffling, something they foist on you demanding money but at the same time saying it is a good luck charm. Hmmm. The nuns in Xiamen never tried stuff like that on us before!
On a slightly disgruntled note, my office's nice clean girls toilet is under repair, it seems to be taking a long time for them to tinker with whatever needs fixing, and I have to either wait till I get home or submit to the squat toilet. Aiyiiiii!