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Why are Chinese so fond of scrambling?

(People's Daily Online)

13:13, October 25, 2012


Chinese people will scramble to get on a bus immediately after it arrives, stand in lines to buy national debt at banks or discounted goods at supermarkets before dawn, and buy certain goods in panic after hearing rumors of goods shortages. Two instances are the panic buying of vinegar when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis broke out and of salt after Japan's nuclear accident. Chinese would even queue to snap up luxury goods in foreign countries. It seems that scrambling for things has become a common habit of the Chinese people.

It is rare to see people of other countries to scramble for things. Why is it so common in China? What are the underlying reasons for this phenomenon?

Firstly, China has a huge population, and many resources are relatively scarce. Sometimes, Chinese people have to scramble to meet their rigid demands. For example, if they do not scramble for tickets for home, they may miss the chance to spend the Spring Festival with their families. Furthermore, they have to act quickly to snap up a cheap and good house. Over time, scrambling for things becomes a national habit. When seeing others scramble for something, a Chinese may be stimulated and impulsively join the crowd regardless whether it is essential.

Secondly, China endured many internal and external problems in the past two hundred years. In the past half century, the Great Famine, large number of people being "laid off" and other not so distant memories make people feel anxious and insecure even in the situation of social and economic stabilities. A small sign of trouble will arouse mass anxiety leading people to use the "scrambling" manner to strive for a sense of security.

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Source:Life Times, author: Yu Shujun.
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