Good morning, YouTube! It's Bahâr here and you're watching Bahâr Says, and today we're going to be talking about my country a little bit! Now, at the end of the last video, for those of you that were tuned in, I asked you to leave a comment about your impression or opinion of Loulanese people based on what you've heard or what stereotypes you've encountered and boy, did we get some crazy answers!
So, obviously, there were a lot of comments, and thank you all so much for those! Unfortunately, I can't go through every single one of them, but I've picked out some of the more repetitive ones and one or two that caught my eye as either particularly outlandish or extremely spot-on, so without further ado: Loulanese stereotypes! Let's see what you guys came up with.
Stereotype №1: Aren't you Chinese?
- This stereotype probably arises from the fact that Loulan was until 1992 an autonomous province of the People's Republic of China, and prior to that was part of the Chinese Republic and further back the Chinese Empire. Hundreds of years of Chinese political and cultural rule have shaped our modern culture, and, like many newly-independent countries, many people simply haven't heard of us or are accustomed to old maps without an independent Loulan.
But no we're not Chinese (though many of us have significant Chinese ancestry (myself included), and many people even speak Chinese daily!).
Stereotype №2: All Loulanis are vegetarians.
- So, this one took me by surprise because vegetarianism isn't actually all that common in Loulan, but a lot of Loulanis are Buddhists and especially Mahayana Buddhists, and Mahayana monks generally don't eat meat. That said, the vast majority of Loulanis are not monks, and a lot of our pretty common dishes contain lamb and I mean we eat a lot of lamb!
Stereotype №3: Loulanis drink a lot of tea!
- So, Loulanese people are often stereotyped as a tea-drinking people, and I can 100% confirm this one to be true, guys. Tea isn't just a drink here it's a lifestyle. Having friends over? Serve them tea. Unexpected guests arrive? Offer them tea. Afternoon break time? You guessed it: tea. And let me tell you, guys: Loulanis are very particular about their tea. Like, "it's tea! How can you get so specific about your tea?" Trust me on this one every little region has their own very particular set of rules about how tea should be served, what can be added to the tea and how much, and even things like which order the members of a party should be served their tea. Tea is serious business in Loulan!
Stereotype №4: Loulanis aren't very talkative.
- This one's going to be a "yes-and-no" answer from me. Loulanese people are usually pretty reserved when it comes to outsiders, but if you're with friends or family in a more private setting then the conversations carry on and on and on, and volume control is a lost cause. We have a kind of self-stereotype about this: if your houseguests are leaving, they'll linger in the door and chat for at least an hour before they actually go!
Stereotype №5: Riding camels!
- So, I hear this one from a lot of my friends in China and I guess it's somewhat justified camels are kept as livestock in the rural areas of the south. On the other hand, I've lived in Turpan all my life and am a city girl through and through, so you can bet I've never actually seen a camel in real life. If I saw a camel in my district I'd probably be in shock!
Stereotype №6: Loulanis are pre-modern, backwards people.
- So, once again, this one kind of took me by surprise as well. So, I guess we're not the most developed country in the world, but neither are we the most underdeveloped. Many of us have plenty of modern amenities and services. I'd even venture to say that most people my age have a smartphone, at least in more built up areas! And of course if you're watching this channel, you know of at least one Loulani girl with internet access!
Stereotype №7: Loulanis can't speak English very well.
- I have to admit, this one's pretty true. Although I'd like to think my English is pretty good (or, at least I hope it is, since my video diaries are all in English), most people I know don't really speak English all that well or even at all. Now, that being said, many of them do speak Chinese and Russian, and knowing German isn't all that uncommon either. So, we're not entirely cut off from the world we're just connected through different ports.
Stereotype №8: All Loulanese families have lots of children!
- This used to be the case. My grandparents all had a lot of siblings, and my mother had four brothers. Talk about a full house! I myself have a sister and five brothers, and my boyfriend has three sisters, but people my age are having fewer children than ever. I think it's getting harder for young people to settle down and have families since society has changed so much in the past few decades, and I know a lot of people are waiting longer and longer to have children. So, this one's kind of a "yes, but it's changing."
Stereotype №9: Loulanese girls don't shave.
- This one's kind of true. I think shaving your legs and underarms is kind of an American thing, and most Loulanis just don't get the hype about it. Some girls do it here, but it's seen as a very "western" trend and some people consider it to be kind of weird to remove a natural part of your body anatomy.
Stereotype №10: Loulanis are sexist!
- So, once again, I think this is more of a historical truth than a modern one, although there's definitely still some sexism in Loulan today. Before the communist era, women were restricted to traditional roles and were expected to be subservient to their husbands. After the Revolution, the State worked a lot to ensure women's social and economic equality, and in today's modern Loulan women have a lot of individual economic independence, personal freedom, and sexual agency.
So, that's all we've got for today, guys! I hope you enjoyed this video! Let me know down in the comments if there's anything you think I missed that's worth mentioning, and as always, hit that like button and subscribe to receive notifications whenever I upload new content. Thank you so much, and I'll see you next time on Bahâr Says!