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Q: Was I out of line?

Was out to dinner last night and as a consequence have today been accused of being anti-Chinese.  Was I?  You tell me.

First of all my friend, whose idea it was, turned up late and with 4 hangers-on who were unknown to the rest of us, who were a mix of Chinese and expats.

Straight away I told him we all expected to split the bill and he (reluctantly, I know) agreed.  I went on about how the Chinese custom of expecting one person to pay for everything is antisocial and stupid.

Then we discover the joint doesn't sell any beer so I say this is hopeless and go out looking for a small shop to buy some.  As it's now September there's no more cold beer because they've turned all the fridges off.

I come back with a nine pack of tallies and declare that the next lot will have to be bought by someone else.

The restaurant is part of a new complex that's aimed at the high end and just opened.  The only bathroom is about a 100m walk down the path (still part of the new complex) and it's putrid, as only Chinese bathrooms can be.

I start to go on about no beer, hot beer, filthy toilets and how China really does give me the shits.

As there's many amongst us who don't know each other we decide to go around the table with a short intro.  Fair enough.

After that the bloke whose idea it was to go to this restaurant says that now we'll go around the table with a series of toasts.  I tell him that that's a stupid idea and just so so Chinese.  

(I'm sure you know how it goes...."You are my very bestest friend and so beautiful/handsome and I wish you happy every day!"  This repeated over and over ad nauseam followed with ganbei ganbei.....)

I tell him that doing that is such a pain in the arse and basically pointless.  Better for us just to engage in conversation as normal people would do, as after all, we all, bar two, speak English.

The man goes sullen and very early today sends me a long message telling me I've caused him a massive loss of face and basically accusing me of being an anti-Chinese, evil, foreign devil.

 

I've reflected on my behaviour and realise I was somewhat abrupt and testy.

Do you think this indicates that I should consider bringing forward my departure from China?  I used to be polite and non confrontational but now find myself exhibiting Chinese frustration at every corner.

Even getting extremely annoyed at how Chinese people so lack any vision or common sense at all.

 

 

 

 

 

6 years 29 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
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I am proud of u. good for u.  I'm so tired of hearing turn a blind-eye to these things here. fk 'em. I tell them everyday exactly what I think and tuff shit. 

 

party misery has happened to me more than once too, 'invited' after I'm already in the car thinking being driven home from a meeting to some restaurant that they think is hi-end/special only to sit there 2 hours listening to them yell at each other, eat communal shit-food, smoke 1,880 cigarettes, offer me (non-smoker) a cig every few seconds, and offer a ganbei every few seconds.   I'll usually do the first ganbei and take a sip (mmm, warm beer Tongue ), I never chug it down like the morons say is manners. after that I pretty much ignore them all and wait in Purgatory until they break it up.  Their idea of a good time just absolutely is at odds with mine, and I dare say is at odds with most other non-sino peoples.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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  Sounds like you were a tad insensitive to his predictably fragile sense of self importance. Also sounds like you said pretty much exactly what i'd have said myself. 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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To be honest it probably wasn't the best way to handle things and probably did bring a downer on everything. Not saying anything you said was wrong, I agree. Thankfully I've never had that "let's all go around and make a toast", that does sound stupid and so fake, but hey, that's China.  Maybe don't hang around with them and make some new friends.  Or leave earlier lol. China's getting to me too. 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Play smart, don't openly criticize China but don't ever praise their stupid habits and beliefs. Remaining neutral and insensitive (as of "blank face" and not rude) is the best thing to do in this country.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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If you wanted to hangout with Chinese friends, yes you were out of line.  Calling their customs stupid in front of their friends and work mates is just plain rude.  You're living in China and hanging out with Chinese people.  Insulting them will gain you no sympathy.  If you have a problem enjoying recreation the Chinese way, don't go out with them.  Just hang out with fellow expats.  The good news is you know what to expect from the Chinese.  Next time, just say no to an invitation.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Drining alone has some social advantages !

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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My local friends, as well as Ch. friends back home country, would probably consider this stupid and fake as well. I dunno it sounds about as stupid as some of the frat boy customs people did in university, "I'm insecure and 21-years-old, Daddy bought me a GMC and this is the first time I have been away from Mommy, so I'm going to blast loud (c)rap music while driving off to buy a keg so we can throttle s****y beer while another of our homosocialite friends holds us upside down by the ankles", if some foreigner came to my country and made fun of that idiotic custom, I would agree. OP should find better friends. Or just enjoy your own company and savour friends when they come along.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Was that your first time out eating with Chinese people? You should know they do this everytime. You should just go with the flow. At least you didn't have to drink baijiu.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I am proud of u. good for u.  I'm so tired of hearing turn a blind-eye to these things here. fk 'em. I tell them everyday exactly what I think and tuff shit. 

 

party misery has happened to me more than once too, 'invited' after I'm already in the car thinking being driven home from a meeting to some restaurant that they think is hi-end/special only to sit there 2 hours listening to them yell at each other, eat communal shit-food, smoke 1,880 cigarettes, offer me (non-smoker) a cig every few seconds, and offer a ganbei every few seconds.   I'll usually do the first ganbei and take a sip (mmm, warm beer Tongue ), I never chug it down like the morons say is manners. after that I pretty much ignore them all and wait in Purgatory until they break it up.  Their idea of a good time just absolutely is at odds with mine, and I dare say is at odds with most other non-sino peoples.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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In a vacuum, yes, it was insensitive. But considering the situation, i think appropriate.

I like you have become so sick and tired of rude chinese people in general that I couldnt bear to spend an ounce of effort making them feel good about themselves. In fact i take a little pleasure in cutting them down.

Do you like China?

Nope

Why? The pollution?

Nah thats ok.

The weather?

Nah, the weather is fine.

So why?

I dont like chinese people. I saw a bird on tv last night that was literally smarter than 80% of you.

So why are you here??

Oh, i like taking the women and making more money than you. Have a good day!

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I don't quite get it? Your buddy invited everyone so he would be expected to pay... correct? But you wanted everyone to split it? 

 

In this case, you made him lose face on a few counts as he was most likely going to pay for the dinner and drinks and Chinese hate discussing who is going to pay. Also, you know how they like to toast... that's how they break the ice... you calling his idea stupid in front of new company is kind of cutting his leg out from under him. I would have countered with something like, "let's just all do one quick toast to new and old friends and be done with it, then drink normally."

 

I agree with you that a lot of Chinese stuff is dumb as hell but you handled it without tact and finesse. If he isn't really a friend you care about, then no big deal but if he is a good friend you went over the line. 

 

I give very little to no attention or effort to please Chinese people that hold no value to me. Most Chinese honestly don't even want to be friends with foreigners, they just want to show us off to gain themselves face. All that toasting, that yelling and smoking is boring horse shit...

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I believe it's because of the Fall time. It's by this time when the whether turns colder or so cold that you miss the Summer time and longer daylight. By this time you start to realize that you have so much frustration in your heart and you don't know why anything you coped with you can't manage it any longer. Patience it's not your virtue anymore and only  to clean off your mind of residual frustrations you start here and there, under certain circumstances that ask you for more efforts to put in, to give up and be yourself.

 

It feels good to be yourself... although at the expense of your social relations.

 

What I see is that this incident underlines the superficiality of the friendship in China with the foreigners and how ready you would be "disciplinary punished" for inappropriate behavior and worst for anti China attitude.

Prudence in China is never enough and the best is to never hang out at night. By this time, people are very basic, when fatigue takes control over your mind and makes you the foreigner be yourself, speaking up your mind, especially if you are drunk.

 

I had the bless to hang out with people who were very much respectfully with me and very subtly at such late hours in the night, when I felt I can be myself, I would suggest what I don't like about China. But I would never insist on the stupidity I had to face on a daily basis in China.

 

Next time choose to enjoy hanging out alone if you feel you are not sociable enough. Don't let your weakness be served so easily.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Since you wanted honesty... I'd say yeah, it was out of line. Making the beer such a big issue probably wasn't that necessary. Even if you really like it, it's more a matter of personal taste. Not having beer (let alone specifically cold beer) isn't objectively wrong. It would be like a Chinese guy getting pissed off that an American restaurant lacked green tea. 

 

Also, while you might disagree on the bill splitting, your friend already planned it out, so might as well bite the bullet that time, and mention to him after that you'd like to split the bill next time. 

 

Yeah, the toasts probably were fake, but like the bill splitting, it's something to mention afterwards. The Chinese friend probably thought it was a good idea, and in his mind, it probably was. I would suggest after the dinner (not right after, but maybe a few days), you can mention your annoyance on the fake, overly saccharine, displays of friendship.

 

The main thing is just the tack you take. I've criticized/vented a lot regarding China to Chinese friends, and most of them, if not all, have been understanding, even agreeing and adding their own frustrations, but the way I put such criticism was important. When you say something is stupid, and also very much Chinese, you're pretty much stating that stupidity is equivalent to Chineseness.

 

There's a difference between "Scooter and ebike riders rarely wear helmets in China, which causes a lot of unnecessary deaths (especially bad for children, since their parents make the decision for them), and these riders very often are too aggressive, and run red lights"

 

And "Chinese people are so stupid for not wearing helmets, and total assholes for letting their kids die in preventable accidents, but I guess you people have no concept of the value of human lives. And don't get me started on how you people always run red lights, like you're too dumb to even recognize the difference between red and green."

Put the first way, you probably would get agreements (I know I have). Put the second way, Chinese will get (justifiably) defensive, and tell you to fuck off. 

To your friend, it probably sounded like all you wanted to do was show that your culture, country, and race (Chinese are brought up to think that race/ethnicity and nationality are the same. It makes it easy to pull the race card whenever Western media talks about Chinese corruption, and call it discrimination when Chinese middle aged women are told to not take over public throroughfares with their dancing) were superior. If you focus on the individual behaviors/customs, and make it clear you're not taking a swipe at Chinese people as a whole, and that it's not racial, there's a better chance Chinese people will listen. Also, you really won't get anywhere during a dinner or social setting.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I agree with those who say you went overboard. There's a time and place for everything... and what you expressed was at the wrong time and place.

 

Firstly, was the person who 'chose' the restaurant also the person who did the inviting? Was this person also the one who had said he'd do the paying? It seems a bit odd that you'd point out to the new-comers about how the bill was going down, unless it was decided that YOU would pay the bill. (of, if your friend might have been expecting you to pay). It reminds me of times when I thought I was going on a date with a girl, and she decides to invite someone else to come along - RUDE!!! However, paying for others is NOT "antisocial and stupid". I've done it myself, and I've been on the receiving end! There is, however, the expectation that it is appreciated, and perhaps returned. (like the beers - next round's on you!)

 

The beer - I don't see a great problem with what you did there - you wanted beer - they didn't have any. Options: deal with it, or go get some. Fair enough!

 

The toilet: yeah, bitch about it! LOUDLY!!! The restaurant needs to know. If it's "high end", then it's totally shit! making it nice and loud might get the managers to realise they're going to lose money by people not coming back! (same with the beer).

 

Toasting: tact could have been used - or just use the 'ignorant foreigner' idea. So, you could toast the host for the invite - fair enough? After that, accept them, but don't return them. Be blunt - "I don't know you, so there's not a lot I can really say".

 

And then, yes, you tell this guy what you think later!

 

Q: was he a friend, work colleague, acquaintance? If he was a friend, I doubt he will be any more. If either of the other 2, I think you may find yourself ostracised a little! (If he was a 'friend - with Chinese characteristics' - then no great loss)

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Yes you were out of line... are you really surprised at that reaction? You were really rude. This behaviour is also unacceptable in other countries, so I don't know why you think it would be different here. 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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you wanted genuine fun with a group of equals, your friend wanted planned "fun" of the kind only chinese schools can teach. "i, your host, declare to you that the having of fun may commence after this round of congratulatory toasts!"

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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After 5 years you should have known better

This weekend stay at home and watch the footy grand finals and drink cold beer

or better still ask your faceless mate over and tell him to buy the beer as per our customs wink

but tell him what Beer to buy or you will end up with recycled urine

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Welcome back Royceh.

 

Just blame jetlag.  Works for mewink.

 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I would have been even more out of line if they started doing that toasting bullshit that they do. I would have probably asked the guy why he didn't just whip out a pair of tweezers and start stroking his friend instead.

 

It's probably why so many of them have a disproportionate sense of their own worth.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Just BCD combined with late hours, waiting, some alcohol level in blood, and ... Just at it was. I would probably do the same when in same situation. He may come 5 minutes earlier and nothing of that happen. or ... or ...

 

 Do not worry too much.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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