David Phillipson

Honestly, it’s a minefield here. Even after several years I still do things that people laugh at.

Basically, just being foreign is enough for many. They don’t mean it in malice. But even today, foreign people in China are still quite an abnormally.

Simply saying a friendly hello to people who say it to you in public can lead to guffaws of laughter from the other party.

Using chopsticks is difficult for many foreign people here too. Much to the amusement of Chinese hosts at any one of the very many and also countless lunch or dinner invitations we get invited too. I’m glad I learned how to use them long before I came to China.

If he owns a green hat or cap of any kind, tell him not to bring it with him.

Also whenever bargaining prices on anything, avoid using the number 250 as it sounds like the word stupid when said aloud.







If anyone asks are you “SB”? Don’t say yes. It does not stand for “somebody” it means you are an “idiot”.

Best thing he can really do, is have a lot of patience, and an ability to take everything with a pinch of salt.

The people of China are extremely friendly, and very welcoming of guests into their lives and homes all the time. Sure they laugh at us from time to time, but it is a taboo if we laugh at them in return for anything.

Regardless of all that though, I absolutely love living here. It’s truly one of (if not THE) most culturally rewarding experiences of my life and I would not change it for anything in the world.

I hope your husband enjoys himself here just as much as so many of us already do.







Kevin Anderson

China is a Confucian society.

Their sense of hierarchy and who has power and authority is very finely tuned. Thus, the boss is always right.

Thus if the boss said, “Tomorrow, the new arrangement is ABDGF, and it rains it will be ABDGM. What do you think, foreign colleague 1.”

FC1: “Yes, I think that that is good, but what about ABDGN, just in case transport is difficult?”

Deathly silence.

In all my many years in China, never once at a meeting did a (local) colleague propose anything substantive.

Me, I answered each question to the best of my ability.








Try, if you and your family have time, to learn Chinese writing. For me, it is where art gallery meets ink meets paper or signboard in daily life.

Every character has meaning and usually a long history. Truly a visual, artistic, meaningful symbol/syllable.

The Chinese language has historically internally compounded to create new words.

English often internally compounds eg. highway, eggplant. But almost all fine eating words are French and all scientific words are Ancient Greek with a garnish of Latin.

In Chinese, tonsil is “flat peach part”. This new word is indelibly imprinted because when I was in China an adult daughter had a sudden and severe attack of tonsillitis.






 译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/p/50774.html 译者:Joyceliu


John Chow

I’m an Australian Asian living in Hong Kong. Plenty of good answers about what to do and what not do. Chinese don’t really expect non Chinese to do Chinese things, and many things will be laughed off.

One important consideration is team work and conflict resolution in the work place. Chinese people are very big on Face.

Western cultures tend to teach people to be be open to criticism and feedback. Chinese culture is very much the opposite. People will take offense to being corrected in front of their peers, and will be very embarrassed if called out. You won’t know they are offended, but they will keep it to themselves and get back at you later on when you aren’t expecting it.




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