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Ms. Biz -- She's Culturally Correct in China


13 - It is customary, when receiving a name card or business card from a new acquaintance, to place this card on the table in front of you (or keep it in your hand if you are standing) and refer to it a couple of times before placing it into your pocket. It is considered a slight to take a card and immediately place it into your pocket.

14 - The Chinese concept of service differs from that in Western countries, and it would be considered rude and lacking in attention for a shopkeeper to let you walk around the shop alone. Therefore you will often have a salesgirl at your elbow.

15 - Smoking is okay everywhere. Respect for non-smokers is limited.

16 - Exercise is important to Chinese people and you will see old and young alike exercising to music in public places. These exercises take place in early morning hours and after dark.

17 - Most public buildings and living residences under eight floors are walk-up.

18 - Bicycles are accepted and accommodated everywhere, but it is wise to have a good lock.

19 - Sexual harassment of foreign women is rare, but not non-existent. Do not get into the front seat of taxis when travelling alone and be mindful of where you walk after dark. An unaccompanied woman can be confused for a hooker.

20 - Never offer money to police for any reason, and it should never be required. If you do not understand a situation, insist on talking with someone from your place of employment, a friend, or someone else who speaks English and Chinese.

21 - Most Chinese dress nicely, but not in fancy attire. Observe how people dress around you for different occasions and try to follow suit.

22 - Never point your finger at someone while speaking or referring to them. This is an extremely rude gesture and can be considered offensive.

23 - When someone does something nice for you and you accept, you then have an obligation to return the gesture in some manner. You must be constantly aware of the subtleties of giving and returning favours, or you risk appearing rude. There are many things which to Westerners are simple acts of common courtesy, are considered favours in Chinese culture and require some reciprocity.

24 - Never accept things from others without first saying 'no' at least two or three times and gently pushing away whatever is presented. This is most applicable to gifts, food, and even extends to such things as payment for a private language lesson. It is considered rude and greedy to accept too quickly.

25 - Always check your restaurant bill, as they are often inaccurate. If language is a problem, you can ask a waiter to point to what you received for each charge. Know that when you dine out, things like tissue, nuts, or pickled vegetables that are brought to your table as 'complimentary' additions, are actually added to your bill. If you do not want these 'gifts' you must say so at the beginning of the meal and have them cleared from your table.

Teaching English as a second language and more...





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