Monday night I had to fend dinner for myself. I went to a café about half way between my old and new residences.

Over the years I’ve probably been there 10-15 times, so they know me at some level.

I ordered a plate of fried rice and a beer. The bill was 26 RMB. When I went to the counter to pay, I opened my wallet and didn’t have the red Mao I thought I had. I only had a few small bills, not enough to pay even half of the tab. I immediately remembered spending the 100 RMB note the night before at La Casa.

I was embarrassed and offered to leave my watch and jade bracelet as security while I went to the ATM to get some cash.

The manager said no need. I should just pay the next time I came by. He didn’t even expect me to pay the bill that day.

I went to the ATM, got some money, and returned to pay my tab. They rounded it off to 25 from 26. I thought that was very nice.

If the manager had been a jerk he could have taken my jewelry and then said, “What watch?” when I returned to redeem it. I’m sure the police would have been no help in that situation.

The reason I’m posting this is I’m tired of people saying Chinese are all dishonest and venal. The fact is there are asshole Chinese just as there are assholes among every people. The percentage is probably about the same in every population.

I’ve lived here six years and the number of good experiences I‘ve had with Chinese greatly outnumbers the bad. Same as people everywhere.

If you have a good, happy, uncritical, attitude, people will respond in kind. If you are sour, negative, unhappy, and superior, people will also respond in kind.