During a conversation with an informant during an early stage of research for this book, we mentioned an admiration for the famous Chinese idiom, “Once a promise is made, even a wagon drawn by the four fastest horses cannot catch up to it and take it back.” In other words, a person cannot take back what he has promised. Upon hearing this, the informant burst into uncontrollable laughter and told us that we had been away from China for too long. She explained that today, a promise does not mean much and can be taken back at any time. In other words, now “even a dead horse can catch up to a promise made.” She advised that one should not take what other people say too seriously; otherwise, it will cause awkwardness and misunderstanding on both sides. In fact, it is highly likely that a person who makes a promise never expects the other party to take him seriously. We relayed this story to many informants in many contexts (interviews, focus groups, lectures, etc.), and never once did anyone object to the perspective of the first informant.