Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

Observational question

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Why is it — or at least, why does it seem — that most of the male expats in Shanghai are significantly taller than I (2 inches or more) and outmass me by, at a guess, 1.2 to 1 or more? I’m not short — between 6 foot 2 inches and 6’3″ in my socks — and, while I do run toward skinny, I’m no waif — if I’ve enjoyed fried food too much and morning runs not enough, I can hit 200 pounds.

But most of the Americans and Euros I encounter are built like linemen or soldiers, and the Euros tend to be only slightly less substantial.

In my more cynical moods, based on my limited observations of other expats in the wild, I’m tempted to write it off as a psychological need for either domination or to bew the center of attention (or both).

But if it isn’t that, I don’t know what it is. Unless I went from being “tallish” to “average” overnight.

(This pointedly excludes tourists, who tend to be quite open and considerate, and also the [rapidly shrinking] population of sensitive student hippies, who think China is better because it’s commie — I can only imagine how quickly Shanghai’s market-obsessed, money-obsessed culture takes the mickey out of them.)


Written by [IMH]

28 December 2005 at 9:01 am

Posted in Shanghai Stories

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  1. It seems that if there is good, plentiful food, after a few generations people just become taller. I was born in 1965. At school, I was among the tallest (6 ft.). But compared with today´s young – including girls – I am barely average.

    It is said that at Gallipoli, the British working-class soldiers turned out to be considerably smaller than their farming and meat-eating Australian counterparts (and their upper-class officers). My dutch colleagues are ALL of them tall and strong-looking, and I always thought it was because they had a prosperous bourgeois society earlier than almost anyone else.

    That is just my theory. But I would not be surprised to hear that younger Japanese and even Chinese are much taller than earlier generations. Long legs and all that.


    28 December 2005 at 4:48 pm

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