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.

Monday, January 01, 2007

"Eat this!"

I think I should actually point out a few good things about Chinese culture, as up until know I've focused on mainly the negative things. China does have a lot of good points, obviously, as if it didn't there would be no reason for me to be here.

Firstly it has to be said that, by and large, the Chinese are a particularly friendly culture. They are so curious about foreigners that they will find any chance to talk to them. I've never known any other countries people so happy when you actually speak their language. All you have to say is 'ni hao' meaning 'how are you?'(lit. you good)and they will tell you your Chinese is really good, you don't have to be able to say anything else, your language skill must be superb if you can say 'ni hao'!

Also the Chinese will often give you random glasses of alcohol when your in a bar and toast you, but this does mean you have to 'down the glass' as they do, otherwise it's rude.

Other aspects include people who will be happy to help you do anything from helping you do your shopping to unblocking your toilet, although it would be most unfair to ask anyone to do the latter, unless you really don't like them of course.

At other times Chinese people will be more than happy to share any of the food they have with you, practically forcing you to eat even when you don't want to, this is particularly true in the north of China, where they are considered to be more generous than their southern counterparts, of course it's the northern Chinese that say so, I'm sure the southerns would be inclined to disagree.

All in all, you will find the general Chinese person to be friendly, affable and helpful. But you can completely reverse these three characteristics if they are your boss or in the service industry, bizarrly the 'service industry' in China means anything but service. The general ethos seeming to be 'treat the customer poorly, and then perhaps they will all go away and leave us alone so we can go to lunch'.


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