Could "beginner's luck", or its variant, apply to newcomers in a city?
And, would such luck diminish progressively with each passing month? Stated differently, do people stop noticing, or take for granted, positives about the place where they work and live after a while? Or, do they fall out of love with the perceived positives and begin to discern the not-so-pleasant aspects?
Such questions fill my mind every time I read or hear accounts of my new colleagues and acquaintances in Beijing. For answers, I haven't attempted to ransack sociology, urban studies or psychology bookshelves in any library yet. (I suspect there must be some tomes on the subject out there, possibly by disgruntled 34-year-old PhD types in a desperate hurry to finish their theses so they can start their adult life as deputy assistant associate professors, or some such grand-sounding positions, and work their academic way up the university ladder.)
Anyway, the Great 21st-Century Smog notwithstanding, almost every one of my new colleagues and acquaintances from other countries appears to have something nice to say about Beijing, which has been my home since September 2015.
I certainly know where they are coming from - I was there not so long ago. Done that too. I still do. But ...
But - there, the word has to butt in, you see - truth be told, some things could be better in Beijing.
Since the Year of the Rooster is almost upon us, how about making some Chinese New Year resolutions (for others, that is) to make Beijing a better capital city?
You shall not disregard traffic signals: Beijing must be the only capital city on this planet where motorists ignore red signals and charge at pedestrians crossing intersections on green lights.
You shall not bare your potbelly outdoors during summer: Gentlemen, please note. Agree Beijing gets a bit hot between May and July, but to roll up singlets and T-shirts up to your moobs and walk around outside your home is taking things a bit too far (or up).
You shall not underestimate your own ability to communicate in English: "Sorry, I can't speak English. I know only a little. You go straight and take the first right. Then, walk for about 150 meters and turn left at the signal. There, right opposite the defunct telephone booth..." Oh yes, you can speak English well. Very well.
You shall not park rented bicycles at deserted, undesignated spots: Mobike and Ofo are such wonderful, helpful services for city folk. But inconsiderate consumers could sound the death knell for the startups with their thoughtlessness.
You shall not fleece cinemagoers: What's the net benefit for patrons if you, the film exhibitor, offer attractive discount on tickets booked via websites or apps, but sell a 500ml bottle of water for 33 yuan ($5) at your refreshments stall?
You shall not walk away without cleaning up your pet's mess on the sidewalk: Carry a pooper-scooper, please.
Happy New Year.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
(China Daily 01/23/2017 page2)