China Speciality

One of us Cantonese dubbed all things inexplicable, ridiculous, and behaviours beyond belief to be called simply as ‘China Specialty’. After all, ladies all dressed up with spiky heels are still spitting at a train platform, offering cigarettes as a matter of conducting business is still the norm, and making dangerously fake food (fake eggs! fake cooking oil!) are in the everyday life of the Chinese. Pretty much, nothing is off limits.

That’s why we have to do so much leg work, to get to know the places and the people who make our tea, to know whether they are good hearted, ethical people with pride in their skill and heritage, or merely tea farmers in cohorts with unethical merchants. We do not buy low elevation tea, nor from places we can count on for being polluted. Many of the wealthier, subsidized farms are welcoming the EU inspectors to get their EU standardized certificates; some local governments even pay for the organic certifications. USDA certified is still far below par, as the U.S. market is minimal compared to even say, the Ukraine, or Russia, or any little Eastern European country where they take tea drinking much more seriously. 

I introduced the concept of ‘Chinglish’ to my Cantonese relatives to supplement the term ‘China Specialty’ in the lexicon to more fully describe the many absurd faces of China lurching forward at warp speed and fearing not too many consequences.

Winnie Yu
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