Not For All The Tea In China

A blog describing the idiosyncracies of working and teaching in China and life on a day to day basis. With stories of unbelievable stupidity and outright ripping off of foreigners.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Annoying 'Hello's'

Being English and being in China it''s natuaral to try to be polite. The thing is Chinese people arn't exactly known for their manners. The Chinese themselves will tell you it's a shame because in their history of five thousand years(it's not really 5 thousand years)there was a time when manners were of the utmost importance. Still, anything is possible with five thousand years history.

The common annoyance which is experienced by most foreigners in mainland China(I don't mean Hong Kong) is the daily staring as soon as you walk out the door. This happenes to a greater or lesser extent depending on which part of China you are staying in. In Beijing or Shanghai it's minimal but in more remote locations it's constant, and when I say remote I dont mean only in the countryside but in more developed cities also.

But by far the most annoying thing is the constant stream of people saying "hello!", now this would be nice, and was a novelty, for the first month or so, except for the fact that they are doing it for their own amusement. If you do respond with the like, they will laugh and giggle with their friends, not so bad you might say, but you try having that twenty times a day! Always the same word and the same reaction. Sometimes I feel like a combination of a trained monkey and Miner bird. If your just not in the mood and don't respond the hello''s will just get louder and louder until you do.

The other morning when leaving my apartment I was shocked when a guy from the building said "good morning" to me in English, it was so uncommon that it threw me and for a brief moment I had no idea how to respond, I almost said "hello". Perhaps 'good morning' will now become the fashionable phrase to say to foreigners. I for one will welcome the change!


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