Me vs China: What the H*ll is a BCD?

Me vs China: What the H*ll is a BCD?
May 02, 2009 By Andrea Hunt ,

What an exciting time to be in China. Whether you live in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Shenzhen, you can be sure that historically this is a piece of China’s history like no other. It’s fascinating to be a part of and witness this momentous transformation, and no one knows it better than us laowai who have been here for a few years already. I cannot even fathom those who have been here over 4 years. But for all of us who call China our home, there is a downside and at times severely disgruntled attitude that shows its ugly face from time to time. This article will have several parts and explanations. The first pertains to BCD, the second refers to TIC.

Now most of you living here in China no matter what the city, should all be familiar with the BCD. The Bad China Day. For those of you wondering, this is the acronym to use when everything in China is “eleventy million” times more complicated than it would be in your own country. This is usually a result of a few factors, the first and most obvious is that you probably don’t speak Chinese and therefore cannot ask for what you want. The second results from a sometimes-nonsensical logic that tends to be applied to some daily practices in China. This represents usually a lack of cultural understanding on our part and a sometimes lack of an efficient system on the part of China. Sometimes this is due to a need to create jobs and therefore the old saying-“too many cooks spoil the broth” is glaringly relevant.

Photo: Lanuiop

For anyone unfamiliar with the “Bad China Day,” let’s look at the classic features that it entails. There are immeasurable variations but let’s start with a classic example that ends in a snowball effect. Let’s say your day started off with the common sledgehammer outside your window. The workers got a fresh start at 4:30 am and interrupted your slumber with deafening shaking vibrations that jolted you out of your bed. You went back to sleep, except that you did not wake up on time for work because you didn’t put money on your electricity card and now you have no power. Obviously, your alarm didn’t go off and you are forced to shower naked and cold in the dark. At lunch, they refuse to serve the dish you order every single day of the week because they assure you that it doesn’t exist. This item, while not being on the menu, is only made up of two ingredients: beef and peppers-both of which are in 50% of the other dishes.

After work, you are running late and in a hurry because you were stuck in someone’s sweaty armpit on the subway for 40 minutes because you waited for a taxi for 45 minutes only to have it stolen away by 5 different sets of people. In addition, you managed to simultaneously get splashed by a mud puddle by a 90-year-old lady on a dirt bike with 80 kilos of celery tied to the back. Notably, you have to meet people for dinner because it’s someone’s birthday (it really is always someone’s birthday in China). You realize that you have no shampoo because you bought some mysterious kind by accident that turns your hair into stringy broom bristles and it oddly enough won’t completely wash out.

You try to run into the supermarket to buy shampoo and frantically run through the store to the shampoo aisle. One of the shampoo aisle ladies (there are four), comes over to help you and you try to ask what the shampoos are for since the time before the stringy broom bristle incident you made yourself look like Janis Joplin on crack. She explains to you several different things none of which you understand and you wonder why you even bothered. You elect to buy the brand you know, Pantene, even though it could be for soft and smooth, extra volume, dandruff controlled. It doesn't matter because you can’t explain it anyway and it’s your own fault. You try to rush up to the check out where three ladies rush up to you and tell you that you must go back to the shampoo area to pay for the shampoo.

As fast as you can you rush back to the shampoo aisle lady where she grabs your arm and shows you to a counter where the lady takes your shampoo, and fills out a pink, blue, and green receipt. She points to the other end of the toiletry area and you shuffle over to the next counter, receipts in hand. The lady at the other counter then takes your blue receipt and after you give her the money, she stamps it, pointing you in yet another direction. You take the stamped blue receipt and give it to another woman who then stamps your pink sheet and returns you to the original woman so you can get your shampoo! At this point you are exasperated and whiny and are only annoyed at the two ladies waiting at checkout to quadruple check your receipts.

As a result of all this, you are late to dinner and also the birthday cake and song. You now feel like a jerk and are cursing the powers that be in futility wondering why this day happened. All in all, we love living here. But with China comes contrasts; we would probably be bored anywhere else and irritated with stagnant cities that are not in constant motion and chaotic. In the end, we are here, and I, like many expats feel that “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

Related Links
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no such thing as a good China day...

Dec 08, 2015 12:32 Report Abuse



Go home, if you can find a janitor job at home

Feb 11, 2012 15:40 Report Abuse