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China: Just Talking – Yes, I Know How to Use Chopsticks

Published: 6.2.2016
When me and B were thinking at the airport about all prejudices our Czech friends have, we realized even our Chinese friends’ idea about our culture is not much accurate.

„What? You don’t speak English?“ If you go down a street there is a 90%Chinese dragon chance at least one person says “hello” to you and tries to engage in a conversation with you (it doesn’t last long, however, as he usually tries to say just his hello). Well, every white man/women MUST know English. In my case, when I intended to practice Chinese I said I don’t speak English. They didn’t believe me.

Another prejudice considerably supported by the behavior of Western tourists is that every white man/women is rich. It doesn’t matter if he is a businessman or a student who gets excited over slight price drops of his favorite noodles at cantina. Principle is that you pay simple more. And sometimes it is really unnecessary. Just then, you realize that while there is a class of Chinese that is much richer than us there are still people notably poorer.

„Are you an American or a Russian or German?“ is another question I just somehow accept. I am not either but still I see the faces of my Czech friends who still are in believe that anyone from Asia MUST be a Chinese. Even she was a Korean, for many Czech she would be still “Chinese”.

memories of China

„You speak Chinese?“ Yes. Even a foreigner can learn bit Chinese. Once they realize they may speak Chinese with you then you get a lecture inChinese food amazing Chinese culture and Confucius. In case you want your friends to loose their countenance then just quote Confucius.

And after Chinese culture comes Chinese food. Yes. I got used to Chinese food. Only Japanese classmates were not satisfied with it for it is usually too greasy. Yes, I don’t mind spicy (and I won’t admit first couple of weeks I usually cried above my bowl and wiped up my tears). And yes. I know how to use chop sticks – every little boy or girl in Chinese knows that. Why shouldn’t I? Sometimes it is really futile to explain that not every white man loves coffee or stores selling luxury goods.

Čína

We all are prejudiced, knowing it or not. Czech and Chinese cultures might have their similarities. But there are many things we are surprised about (and often get angry at). Almost every Czech is shocked when see somebody spitting in the streets. Our Chinese friend didn’t like our napkins. For us 13 is the unlucky number. In China there are often missing rooms or entire floors numbered 4 or fourteen. But we get into such things in the next article …

Text and photo: Hana Bašová



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