Beijing’S Identity 北京人的身份
A: Are you a Beijinger?
B: Not really. I was born in Shandong, but was raised in Hubei. I came to Beijing when I was ten and have lived here ever since. So, you tell me if I qualify as a Beijinger?
A: No, you are not a real Beijinger.
B: It’s no hard to find a family that has lived in Beijing for more than three generations.
A: Some people say that Beijing is very generous and open-minded. Do you agree?
B: Generous, maybe. A friend of mine had a small accident once. Her car got stuck in a ditch. Four young men, all non-Beijingers, happened to pass by. They refused to help. Then an old man came over. He was a Beijinger. Without any hesitation, he helped my friend pull the car out. He also told her to drive carefully.
A: That’s a typical Beijinger. Such a person is always ready to help when someone is in need.
B: I guess this has something to do with the fact that Beijing has been a capital city for several dynasties. People living here always feel obligated by a sense of honor. Also, face is very important for a Beijinger. When doing business, especially with a friend, a Beijinger doesn’t want to appear too fussy about the contract or making concessions. He cares more about friendship and esteem.
A: Tolerant may not be the right word to describe a Beijinger. About twenty years ago, Beijing residence usually looked down upon non-Beijingers, believing them to be rustic and ignorant.
B: That’s true. Beijing has used to look down upon outsiders. In the past, due to strict residential permit requirement, it was extremely difficult to become a Beijing resident. There’s more mobility now, and anyone can find a job in Beijing. Pick someone in the street a most likely that person isn’t a real Beijinger. True Beijingers do not have a feeling of superiority, and that may be why they appear to be more tolerant nowadays.
A: This is quite similar to New York. There are fewer and fewer real Americans there. Some say New York is no longer a city of Americans. I think the same is true with Beijing.