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Our readers write from Chicago

(Editor's note: Allison Lewis sent the stories below. They were written by students at the Pui Tak Center in Chicago.)

Differences between Malaysia and the U.S.A.

by Phooi Wan Ling

There are many differences between Malaysia and the United States. First is the weather. Malaysia is a tropical country. It's a warm and friendly country in southeast Asia. Malaysia does not have four seasons, but it has sunny days and rainy days throughout the year. But in the United States, most of the states have four seasons, and the winter in Chicago is very cold.

Second, the population of Malaysia has three main ethnic groups-Malays, Chinese, and Indian-so a lot of languages are spoken daily in Malaysia. The major language of Malaysia is called Bahasa Malaysia. The Malays and Indians need to learn Bahasa Malaysia and English in school. For the Chinese population, besides Bahasa Malaysia and English, they also need to learn Mandarin. So the Malaysian people are at least bilingual. The Chinese population speaks in Mandarin and Cantonese, and the Indian population speaks Tamil. But in the United States, the major language in school is English.

Third, the official religion in Malaysia is Islam. By law, all Malays are Muslim, but Malaysia is a country that has freedom of religion. So the Chinese are usually Buddhist, and the Indians' religion is Hinduism. But in the United States, most Americans are Christian.

Fourth, Americans and Malaysians are very different in their greetings. Americans are friendly-they hug each other and give kisses on the cheek when they meet. But in Malaysia, Malay women cannot shake hands with men. They can only can shake hands with women. And when an older and younger person meet, the older person must speak first before the younger person speaks.

There are a lot of other differences between the United States and Malaysia. For example, the squat toilet is still very common in Malaysia. And there are more different types of food in Malaysia. Also, the Malays of Malaysia always wear their traditional outfits, called baju kurung, with a headscarf on. But in the United States, people usually wear casual clothes. Although all the countries of the world have many differences, like different cultures, politics, skin color, etc., one thing that remains constant is that we aren't so different. We are all people, and we are all equal.

Differences between America and China

by Huiting Wu

I am from southern China. When I first came to Chicago, I was not used to the weather. Southern China is very hot, there's no snow, and it's humid. It's very different in Chicago.

In China, medical insurance is different from America. In China, most people don't have medical insurance, and almost all people use their own money to pay for medical costs. If they don't have money, it's a big problem.

The food is another big difference. In Guangdong, China, the food is mostly light and steamed. But in the U.S.A., the food is almost always heavy. Sometimes I like to eat American food.

Differences between the U.S. and my home country

by Ping

There are many differences between China and America. First, in China, you have to pay before you see a doctor. And people usually don't like to make an appointment. But in the U.S., we do the opposite.

Second, in China, younger people like to live with their parents or grandparents. But in the U.S., most children don't like to live with parents or seniors.

Third, in China, people retire earlier. Women retire at about age 50 to 55. Men retire at about age 60 to 65. But in the U.S., most people are about 65 years old when they retire.

Differences between China and the U.S.A.

by Yue Chen

There are some differences between China and the U.S. In China, by law, people have the responsibility to take care of their parents forever and always. But the U.S.A. doesn't have this law. The government can provide an in-home caretaker for old people.

In China, people usually drink hot or warm water, but in the U.S.A., people almost always drink ice water. In China, many people cook at home and eat rice noodles every day, but in the U.S.A., people like to eat at fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King.

Differences between China and United States

by Zhijian He

There are many differences between China and United States. First is the language. Chinese people speak Mandarin. Different places have their own dialects, but they use the same written language throughout the country. But Americans speak English. The English word order is different from Chinese.

Another difference is the culture. Chinese people believe that they must obey the elders in the family. But Americans advocate free development. American parents want their children to be independent. Holidays are another difference. Spring Festival is the traditional Chinese New Year, and it is a big holiday in China. But Christmas is the biggest holiday for Americans.

The third major difference is the eating habits. Chinese food is diversified. People like to sit together around one table and share many kinds of food. But American food is relatively simple. Americans like to enjoy their favorite food by themselves. Although the habits are different, both are nutritious and both types of food taste good. The two countries each have their own advantages.

Differences between America and China

by Jenny

In China, we have a lot of different kinds of food from different provinces and areas. People can't try every type of food, even over their whole lives. But in the U.S., food is very simple. There are only several kinds, and most of them are meat between bread.

Another difference between the two countries is the way we write our names. In China, it is traditional to put the family name first, but in the U.S., the family names are placed at the end of people's names.

The third difference is medical treatment. In China, patients have to pay first before seeing doctors at hospitals. But in the U.S., the patients are checked by the doctor first, and they pay later or make monthly payments.

The last difference is that in China, when eating at restaurants, people don't pay tips. But it's the opposite in the U.S.

Differences between the U.S. and China

by Bruce Ding

Chinese people work hard day and night. They work like they will die tomorrow, and they must do everything today. I don't know too much about the U.S., but I think they often don't work too hard. Sometimes they look as if their job is just to wait out the day.

Chinese people are often separated from their family members because of work. They sometimes need to move to a different city to work, and they stay there for months or sometimes for years. But people in the U.S. don't do this. If they need to, they usually change to a different job so they can have more time with their family.

Differences between the U.S.A. and China

by Minkang

There are many differences between the U.S.A. and China. First, when Americans receive a gift, they like to open it on the spot, whereas most Chinese people think it is impolite to open a gift right away, so they don't do that.

Another difference is the residence. When Americans are over 18 years old, they like to live without their parents. I think it's because they attach importance to independence. But in China, many people over age 18 like to live with their parents. It's common for people to live with their parents until they get married. That way, the parents and children can help each other often.

The third difference is the school system. In China, grades 1-9 are free. But in America, grades 1-12 are free.

There are many differences. Therefore, I need to learn more about American customs to help me adjust to life in the U.S.A.