In China, A House is not Always a House

Posted on August 22, 2009

It would seem that in Henan Province, China, appearances really are deceiving.

At a glance, you might see some new two story buildings with freshly painted walls near the road, but, alas, nothing is, as it seems.

This building is only about 1.5 meters deep, which meets the minimum specifications of “new rural development” for new house construction. Many of the local peasants and farmers who do not have the funds to build “real buildings” settle for the illusion of one!

When the time arrives for inspection, the view is always from a passing car and there is no way for those inspectors to know that behind the shining walls lie deteriorating adobe homes. (Whether or not they would care or not if they knew the truth is another issue.)

A town regulation demands that all adobe and brick homes facing the highway must be painted either white or light blue and that includes the latrine/outhouse. The problem is that just that side of the house is painted so that important passersby can see how good things seem to look.

Keeping up appearances often comes at a terrible price. This ordinance is vainglorious and obviously only a band-aid solution to the growing problem of urban decay and neglect. In addition and even more insulting to the local populace, this ordinance is a non-remedy sponsored by wasting taxpayers’ money.

How much better could these funds have served the local peasants and farmers who need financial aid so badly?

Are the people in power the ones with intelligence or merely the ones with power?

If they are the intelligentsia, so to speak, citizenry should pity the ignorant.

How can such expenditures possibly be justified in the name of human betterment and improvement?

What do YOU think about this?




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.
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7 thoughts on “In China, A House is not Always a House

  1. Ash

    China is so varying from place to place. I'm sure that the policies made aren't as bad as this example makes it seem. Or i at least hope!

  2. Ava White

    I originally said funny at first but reading fully and understanding some of the cultural tradition I can see why the appearance would be so very important. I can only hope that a better solution to a widespread problem not only in China but everywhere can be found.


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