May Chinese girls hug

Everyday tips for foreigners

Speaking of going out: you eat and you go again - the food plays the main role, there is apparently no further reason to sit in a Chinese restaurant after you have finished eating. And there is no reason not to drink alcohol as a man - unless you are really allergic to it. Otherwise, toast everyone happily with a glass of Shaoxing wine with a loud 'Ganbei' (literally: dry the cup!), After the 5th glass it becomes easier and easier. But don't hold the glass higher than that of the oldest person at the table.

In the end, only one person pays. Paying for everyone together is an honor. Which one has to fight for! Even if you think that you really don't want to win this fight and you already paid last time: whip out your wallet. Understanding table neighbors will make you lose sometimes.

On road
It is very possible that curious people will come to you to practice their English on you. Be polite - you didn't learn your Chinese while you slept either. But it could also be that you are approached by a 'student' who wants to offer you a city tour - including a tea ceremony and, of course, incredibly cheap. In this case, if you really don't want to find out how much all the fun will cost you, it would make more sense to end the conversation soon.

Otherwise, it is advisable to always remain polite. Smile Behave yourself. Aggression is not welcome - especially not with the authorities. So, stay calm and maintain your composure - this is the only way you and the other person can save face. But talk to other people - this is still the easiest way to get to know the country and its people.

When you are out and about, please do not disturb pedestrians watching the film. Even if Shanghai, Beijing or elsewhere have a lot to offer, the Chinese are much more interested in their soaps or American series. And since there are so many of them, none should be missed. Therefore, all the time in the world has to be used to watch every single series, be it on the way to work, in the metro or on the way home.

If you feel hungry along the way, head for a street food stall. Namely the one with the most guests at the front (see also 'Restaurants'). If you crave western food, go to KFC - not MacDonalds. The reason is trivial: the Chinese know more about the preparation of chickens than they do with cattle. There are also small street stallholders who are very famous and very rich. What is the most beautiful temple compared to Ms. Wang's famous noodle soup? If you go to the country and ask a Chinese person about sights, he may tell you where the best spring rolls are. You can't eat monuments! And did you know that Chop Suey (in Mandarin Za sui), the epitome of Chinese cuisine in the western world, means something like 'all sorts'? So it is a kind of 'compact weekly review' and would NEVER be offered to guests in China.

The widespread belief that people in Shanghai take to the streets in pajamas cannot be entirely dismissed. But after the 2010 Olympic Games and a corresponding government campaign, this has become less common. Don't copy it - even if your pajamas are from Prada or Gucci.

Taxi driving
When you take a taxi, clearly show the taxi driver where you want to go. - Your stomach and wallet will thank you. Without clear instructions, you drive in circles until it costs three times as much. Because the unified taxi mafia is networked worldwide. Whether Athens, Shanghai or Detroit, Michael Schumacher’s driving style still seems to be the measure of all things. And even if you usually complain of traffic jams - it is always more comfortable than when your driver tries to break the lap times of Le Mans on the Shanghai ring road.

Don't be surprised if a taxi driver picks you up and picks up another passenger at the next corner. Because in certain cities in China, shared taxis are commonplace. And then you don't pay according to the taxi meter, but the kilometers used for your journey, which the taxi driver has calculated in a matter of seconds. Since Gert Mittring looks flat as the best mental arithmetic.

Otherwise life is actually very simple - just do what the others do; so you get to your destination and don't attract attention. Keyword attracting attention: Do not take drugs, no matter how much homesickness you feel. Your ambassador has other things to do, he won't box you out if you get caught.

Interpersonal
You will soon learn that the Chinese language has some unfamiliar formulations in store. If, for example, you invite a Chinese person to karaoke who has absolutely no desire to do it (as unlikely as this may be), he will answer you: 'I would like to come with you, I just don't know if I have the time'. Seen in this way, what someone says is not so important, but what he means. And there can be worlds in between. Another example? A Chinese colleague will visit you, but you live a bit outside and the way from the metro station is not that easy to find. So you suggest he pick him up from the metro station. His answer will probably be something like: ’It’s nice if you want to pick me up, but that’s definitely not necessary. Surely it won't be a problem for me at all to find my way on my own ’. The Chinese then clearly know what is meant and are on time at the metro station. So you never express wishes so directly. As a foreigner you have a certain bonus - you will be neglected if you are not so proficient in the art of hinting.

However, courtesy is more of a relatively limited scope. So to known people, relatives, business partners. In the case of completely unknown people, this is not so important. Even a gentleman will calmly watch as someone maneuvers the heavy suitcase into the train with a groan and a groan - he doesn't know the person and he doesn't have to worry about that. This is never meant maliciously, it is simply indifference. If that was you with the suitcases: Now you have at least done something to entertain the gentleman: Kan rinao, "watching a lively (literally: hot and loud) scene" is the name given to the indifferent watching in which the People's Republicans are masters. But here, too, you have an advantage as a foreigner: Chinese are more curious about strangers and therefore more helpful. There are Chinese who really develop protective instincts for strangers, who stand around helplessly in the Chinese landscape and do not know what is going on around them. Enjoy the cliché of the somewhat clumsy foreigner - they don't expect much more from you:

Child: Mom, is that a man or a woman?
Mother; This is not a man or a woman, this is a foreigner.

Get to know the Chinese
As a foreigner, it is relatively easy to get to know the Chinese. Don't be surprised if the Chinese asks you about your salary very soon. It can also happen that you are spontaneously asked if you are married. Don't hold this question against anyone. And if you are over 30 and single, the only correct answer is yes. Otherwise you will be pityed. Also don't be offended if the Chinese are delighted with your big nose or try to make it clear to you with their broken English in a friendly and laughing manner that you are a bit fat and need to lose something, or you are very tall or thin, or small and thick. This is where the open opinion is lived out.

Queuing and getting on and off
Westerners of this earth appreciate discretion and distance. The Chinese shy away from queuing (pai dui) like the devil the holy water. No matter where, in the metro, at the bus stop, in front of the counters, the Chinese just don't like to queue. Do not be frightened and be understanding if you are suddenly interrupted by a Chinese while buying a train ticket, because at that moment he wants to know from the clerk when his next train is leaving.

What you should never do while queuing: keep too far distance from the person in front. The Chinese regard this as free space and think that you are “standing” here, but not “standing in line”. Therefore, catch up with the person in front of you, so that there really are no misunderstandings.

In the metro as well as in the bus, there is sometimes a battle for a seat. Speedy Gonzales would look pale there, because the Chinese are unbeatably fast and have refined the speedy boarding like no other nation in the world. The one-one principle applies: You get in and out at the same time. That saves time and money.

Space
What is there more than enough in China? Chinese. This is not meant badly, but the Chinese make up a fifth of the world's population and only have 6% of the world's arable land. Seen in this light, the one-child policy was very forward-looking, if not crowned with much success: In 2010, around 1.35 billion people live in China, and 1.5 billion are expected by the middle of the century. So privacy in public space is not a big issue in big cities. Many foreigners find it very picturesque when people sit outside, play cards, take a nap, eat or exercise. With 40 square meters of urban space and 6 square meters of living space per person in downtown Shanghai, that's understandable.

freetime and sports
Leisure time means 'time after service (yeyu shiijian)'. There is no strict separation between work and leisure. This is the best time to spend 'renao', that is, with a lot of activity. Perhaps it is something like the equivalent of the Europeans 'having their peace'. Only with a different effect. The renao on the street doesn't need any further planning - it never gets boring anyway. As a foreigner, you will probably perceive renao as a permanent fair. It is everyday life. There is also a lot going on in the parks on weekends. The child, often the only one, wants to be entertained. Without a child, some people are drawn to a karaoke bar.

Sport does not play a prominent role in China. In their own opinion, this is how the Chinese invented the soccer game, but that does not mean that it still has to be practiced today. Table tennis and badminton, on the other hand, are quite popular. Perhaps it is also due to Confucius, who said 'the common man moves his hand, the noble one only his mouth'. Water sports are sporty: although many people in China cannot swim, the Chinese athletes at the Olympic Games are hard to beat in some water disciplines.

If sports, then shopping. A very popular pastime, especially among women. Shadow boxing, called “taiji quan”, can also be assigned more to the therapeutic area. If you look at seniors doing exercises and smooth movements in the park in the morning, you may doubt your own physical constitution.

Speaking of health, if you are a smoker, China is paradise. At least for the men. Only about 2 percent of women smoke in China, but the men do their best to support the state monopoly with their smoke. As recently as 2009, there were reports about a decree from the government agency in Hubei, which certified smoking efficiency at work and more thinking skills. Nobody yet seems to associate the increase in lung disease with it. But don't worry, even as a non-smoker you are not an outsider. More and more restaurants and bars have non-smoking areas.

The language
Probably one of the reasons you are in China. And we recommend: Practice whenever you can. If you address a Chinese in the most beautiful Mandarin, they may not understand you at first. He expects you to speak English. But you will soon find out that it is very much appreciated. Just like the Chinese are generally very proud of everything Chinese.

Stack deep when your Chinese language skills lead to compliments. Even if you can only speak “Nihao” (hello), the Chinese will appreciate it very much and give you a big complement about how well you can speak Chinese. Just say 'Nali, nali'. This means something like 'Oh, where from, I still have so much to learn ...'. Understatement gets you further. Nobody takes it seriously. At least Chinese people with no experience abroad.

Spoken irony is not provided - the Chinese are alien to caustic or bitter nuances in humor, they prefer a lustfully exaggerated sense of humor.

Even if you speak Chinese, never interfere when two Chinese are arguing. You won't find out what it is about anyway, and meddling would be rude.

The best way to make something known is to pass it on 'in confidence'. The Chinese have amazing network-like communication structures. Most of the time everyone talks to everyone about everyone. Only the internet is faster in general.

WeChat and QQ
Before entering China, you should install “WeChat” or QQ on your smartphone. Because without WeChat or QQ you are only half a person in China and simply not socially acceptable. About 80% of the Chinese use these apps to communicate with each other, to meet up with friends, to make love affairs, to make (or to revoke) marriage proposals, or simply, as the Chinese say so beautifully, "liao liao" which means as much as let's just chat a little and, as mentioned, chat about everything. The Chinese are world champions in multitasking, and working and chatting must be learned at the same time.

Banking
If you need to do banking, you need a little patience until the 20 people waiting in front of you have done your business. But the wait doesn't have to be boring, because discourse is not yet fully anchored in the Chinese vocabulary. Some of the microphones at the counters are set so loud that anyone with a hearing impairment can follow the instructions of the counter employee even without a hearing aid. As a result, even as a person waiting in the counter hall, you do not have to contribute much to find out who has to do what in the bank and who has how much money in the account.

Driving vs. pedestrians
Driving a car yourself can be very exciting, even if you first have to take a theory test. Honking the horn is good form and is understood as an alert that "I" am coming now. Zipper systems are not known in China and are not taught in driving schools. In return, however, the instruction is given that one should "honk" the pedestrian in order to politely draw his attention to the fact that a car driver is approaching the pedestrian crossing. Wait on the sidewalk until the traffic lights turn green before crossing the street. But don't feel safe just because it's green! As important as colors are in everyday life, traffic light colors in themselves are viewed as negligible. You can also cross the street when it is red. No motorist will hold that against you, on the contrary, the motorist will drive around you calmly and skillfully. And always look to the left when you cross the street. Because drivers can turn right even at a red light and have full right of way, even if the law says that pedestrians always have right of way.

Conclusion
Now that you know what to look for, you will certainly get used to it quickly. Don't worry, it's not that difficult. Here are a few more signs that you are almost Chinese yourself if you:

  • speak louder than necessary
  • standing in front of a zebra in the zoo and wondering how it tastes
  • answer the question about a visit to the park: is it possible to shop there?
  • no longer enter a house with shoes on
  • jostle
  • read about smog in the newspaper and ask yourself: "What kind of smog"?
  • go to the bakery in the morning in pajamas
  • have to send the business card collection home as cargo
  • get a seat in every bus or metro.
  • enjoy the big noses of foreigners.

With this in mind: Welcome to China!

Author: Daniele Bardaro