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China: Just Talking – No, They Are Not All the Same

Published: 30.1.2016
The day had finally come. The day of T’s and P’s departure. The girls were preparing for the departure. Me and B had still some time before we left China. The best moments of our one year stay in China were running in our minds and we also give a thought on T and P. They would surely face many questions regarding China.

The most common one when getting back from China usually is: „How do you recognize one from another?” Of course I do. Everybody does. Chinese are not ulice v Číně all monozygotic twins. On the other hand, many Chinese think “white men are all the same” They say we all have “large noses, eyes, and fair hair.” Only slowly some stereotypes are getting obsolete …

Another question on anyone who claims he/she learns (or even knows) to speak Chinese is a classic one: “So you understand that ping pong?” or “Can you draw even sprinkled tea?” Only seldome I manage to answer before the challenge of “Say us something!” Even though it may seem strange, Chinese is much of a language as another language – so why not to learn it? It is really different from Czech. But this is what makes it so interesting and entertaining. And the script – symbols belong to the Chinese language as much as the Latin script to the Czech language. Some Chinese are striving to learn the Latin script. When you happen to write some letters in cursive then you give your Chinese friends a mystery they would debate whole afternoon. Chinese symbols consists of certain parts and these parts of certain strokes. The whole system requires you to invest considerable amount of time and also enthusiasm. However, one soon comes into realization , while studying Chinese, spilled tea and even those unintelligible sounds make perfect sense.

„And can you eat with those chopsticks?“ Yes. One can learn pretty quickly to eat with them. And it is much faster when you realized you would be otherwise hungry. It is not true Chinese don’t use anything else to eat their meals. In many restaurants they bring you spoon. And you need a spoon for many meals.

you can eat almost anything with chopsticks after some while

Another question is related to food: “Can you cook gongbao?” My friends in China couldn’t understand how people in Europe can even like chicken gongbao. Chinese prefere pig ears, viscera, and really fatty pork.

 Chinese delicacies

This was only a small list of all kinds of questions I am asked almost permanently. But this is a quite good thing. It means that people are interested in China. And it is even better if they want to listen to my story. Then they maybe realize that it is a whole different world from what they imagined.

However, I have to node that even Chinese are not a nation that wouldn’t have their own prejudices of other natures. But this we explore in the next article.

No. I don’t have slant eyes even after so much time I have spent there.

Text and photo: Hana Bašová



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