Friday, 1 May 2009

Only in China (or maybe Beijing)

- People in the subways of Beijing will give up their seats to children (some who are almost on the threshold of their teens), but they rarely offer their seats to the aged.
P.S. A little correction here. They may not offer their seats to the Chinese elders, but they almost always offer their seat to elderly foreigners (June 3, 2009)

- Parents will often make a measured slit in their children's pants, strategically placed between the two buns of their bottoms. The Chinese find it convenient for their children to answer nature's second call and to clean up thereafter.

- Saying 'NO' is disrespectful.

- Wearing pyjamas and night suits to go out is considered a sign of wealth and prosperity. In the olden days, the only people who could afford to wear pyjamas and night suits were the rich, and people in China still subscribe to that mentality.

- Vendors at shopping hot spots quote a price 10 times of what they will eventually give it to you at, if you have the good sense and acute skill to bargain.

- Japanese Anime dressing is the perennial style. Everything is worn with stockings, everything is cute to the point of being nauseating and everything has super kiddish designs and motifs. This is especially true of the youngsters.

- People are very friendly and polite. So much so that they are polite to a fault. They will never directly tell you that they have a problem. It will usually be through your friend or a colleague you share a good rapport with. Like they say, "Too much of a good thing is good for nothing".

- You will be stopped by a random stranger on the road (especially if you look like a Westerner), who will offer to take you to coffee or tea, in exchange for helping them practice English.

- Do they have the concept of desserts that are 'steaming hot'. (Actually they probably share this with other Asian countries like Japan and Korea).

- While having a meal with several Chinese people, you eat more entrees, than rice (something that is quite the opposite in India). If you ask for rice at the beginning of the meal or mid-meal, it is considered disrespectful to your hosts. Apparently, only the poor ate rice in ancient China.

- If you look Indian or especially Pakistani, people will hound you for pictures with them.

- A normal conversation, to a foreigner's ear, will sound like a cock fight. It's not the people, it's just the way the language is spoken.

- After first use, you realise that a brand new non-stick wok is everything but 'non-stick'. The wok itself will get burned after 5 minutes on the stove, you will have to use oil like you are deep frying yourself and everything that can possibly get stuck to it (read oil and food) will do just that.
Check out the picture of the KangShuangChuJu non-stick Wok, after one use and overnight soaking in soap water. Now that's what I call 'Made in China'!!!

- After just a week of using the soap cake, you wake up one morning to see that it is split wide open like a sea shell robbed of its oyster. I don't know if it's the water or the soap itself that caused this...but whatever it is, it doesn't speak much for locally made soap cakes!

- If you want plain cold or room temperature water, you will be served steaming hot water and given ice to cool it down. Yes, it's crazy but true!

- Telling a person that they are younger than they really are is considered an insult. Age here is associated with wealth, wisdom and experience.

- The male of a couple will have his girlfriend's handbag casually slung over his shoulder. They do this unhindered and without feeling any embarrassment. I guess it's an essential part of wooing and courtship.

- A boyfriend and girlfriend will wear design-colour coordinated t-shirts. Thankfully, manufacturers take the pains to make the tees boyish (usual baggy style) and girlish (shorter, more shapely and more fitted). Oh! They also wear colour coordinated crocs!

This list is not comprehensive and will be added to as and when I come across more such quirks. Any contributions are welcome. Thanks in advance!


  1. dude! u need a pic for the second one. they don't say, a picture is worth a thousand words for nothing!

  2. Mors, you know how desperately I have been trying to get a pic of the slit open pants ;) But alas! So far my efforts have been useless ;) But, meri koshish jaari rahegi!!! :)

  3. Mors, I hope you are happy! Now...there;s a pic of what you wanted ;););) Enjoy!

  4. Babe couldn't you get a more discreet pic of a baby.. maybe just a bum shot.. this baby is gonna grow up and sue you

  5. Haaahahahaa...well he can't...Is liye toh I cropped his face off...besides, I sought his mother's he has to sue her ;)

  6. Great post! Will link to this from Blogbharti.

  7. wow..this is cool.Came here from Blogbharti..was worth it!!!

  8. ursjina: Thanks for your comment. Glad you are enjoying the blog. Keep reading :)

  9. Jyoti: Thanks for all your comments. Yeah, you must visit China...It's interesting despite it's quirks ;)