Category Archives: Understanding Chinese Cultures

Understanding Chinese Cultures

How are Chinese girls supposed to speak?

At first, many Western men might perceive Chinese girls to be rude, but their manner of speaking can actually be attributed to a difference in culture.

Chinese speech

Speaking volumes

In China, conversations out in public can seem quite loud and boisterous, especially to those who aren’t used to it. In many cases, it sounds like these people are arguing loudly.  However, when it comes down to gender roles, what is expected of Chinese girls and guys is very different. Chinese etiquette states that the ideal way for women to speak is to do so quietly with one’s head slightly bowed. Men who speak loudly are not considered to have bad manners.

Have you eaten?

There are also differences when it comes to greeting an individual. Inappropriate greetings are frowned upon. Between acquaintances and strangers as well as on formal occasions, the Mandarin greeting “Ni Hao,” which means, “You good?” is typical. In more familiar settings, a greeting that roughly translates to “Have you eaten?” is used. This is a great example of just how central food is to Chinese people.

Shaking hands

A traditional handshake involves interlocking fingers and waving the hands up and down a few times. This isn’t as widely used today as it once was, but it is still used in formal settings such as funerals and weddings. Modern Chinese people shake hands much like those in the West do.

Asian dating examined in “The Leftover Monologues”

Asian dating is very different from dating in the West. Part of this might be due to China’s One Child Policy, which was implemented in the late 1970s and has put the ratio of women to men in the country severely off kilter.

Chinese culture

Many Chinese people might consider themselves as modern in terms of today’s social views; however, when it comes to dating, parental pressure can still outweigh true love in many cases. Asian dating is often intended for families to move up the social ladder or to maintain a certain status. Some dating choices are also fueled by the fear of becoming a “leftover woman.”

In China, women who haven’t married by the age of 27 are considered “leftover.”  These are typically women who have gone to college and chosen a career rather than family life. Many of these ladies turn to online dating and men from the West because of this stigma. Now, these concerns are being laid out on the stage.

“The Leftover Monologues” is a play that was inspired by the wildly popular Broadway show, “The Vagina Monologues.”  However, this Middle Kingdom version focuses on Chinese and foreign women – and some men – and their stories of romance, love, dating, and the crippling fear of being leftover.

American journalist Roseann Lake is the brain behind “The Leftover Monologues.”  She has just finished writing a book about love in China, which drew her attention to the phenomenon of leftover women and just how different Asian dating is from American dating.

The play opened in Beijing over the summer and ran for a couple of weeks. If it opens professionally in the coming years and you are interested in Chinese culture, you might want to check it out to gain some insight into the Chinese dating scene.

A gentleman as defined by Asian women

Whether you want to believe it or not, Asian women who are interested in dating are actually looking for a gentleman who will treat them right.  Are you that guy?

Bowler hat and moustache

Even if you think of yourself a gentleman, some Asian women might not necessarily agree.  Sure, you might be polite and charming, but the definition of a “gentleman” can vary across cultures.  In fact, the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius played an integral role in defining social order and cultural bases, including how gentlemen should behave.

Let’s take a look at the four traits of a gentleman in Chinese culture and see if you stand up to the test:

  • Filial piety.  Also known as “Hsiao” in Chinese, this trait is the importance of family connections.  Confucius based much of his philosophy on filial piety, which puts an emphasis on sons paying appropriate respect to their parents, thus maintaining social order.  A gentleman will not only recognize filial piety, but will also actively fulfill his duties.
  • Benevolence.  It is known as “Jen” in Chinese, and it is what Confucius said separated men from animals.  It is also what separates a gentleman from normal men.  If filial piety is considered the bedrock of being a gentleman, benevolence is the apex.  He must be driven by a love of humanity and should strive to reach Jen throughout his life.
  • Propriety.  Known as “Li” in Chinese, propriety is another virtue all gentlemen must have.  There are certain rules and etiquette of society that gentlemen must follow; they should know and respect the social order.  A gentleman should act in accordance with overall social rules, especially when dealing with individuals based on their social status.
  • Sincerity.  Sincerity, or “Yi,” goes beyond just being honest.  A true gentleman should be sincere in all of his actions as it forms the basis of moral values and good faith.  In China, a gentleman’s actions are dictated by his love of virtue and desire to be righteous within his society.

 

How do you add up? Would Confucius approve?

 

Asian dating literature discussion: I Am China

When you’re dating someone, especially long-distance Asian dating, you’re going to want to find out a lot about each other.  What are your common interests?  Do you enjoy the same movies?  What about books? Woman

Even if you haven’t read any of the same books, literature can be a fascinating topic when dating. If you’re Asian dating, you might want to read books about China or those written by Chinese authors.  This can help you develop a true and deeper appreciation for the culture.  That’s why we’re giving you a heads up on a new book…

In Xiaolu Guo’s latest novel, I Am China, the author asks some rather potent questions, such as how far an artist should go.  As you are probably aware, China’s political environment is a lot different than most countries in the West.  In an authoritarian state like China, is art always political?  Is it always propaganda?  Guo goes even further to ask what the responsibilities of the artist actually are and where one’s individuality exists.

At the heart of the novel is Kublai Jian, an underground punk rocker living in Beijing just after the events at Tiananmen Square.  He falls in love with a young poet, Deng Mu, and a story unfolds across continents, years, and belief structures.  The reader observes their story through letters and diary entries being sorted and translated by a publisher.

As the story unfolds, the reader is ultimately immersed into the dilemma that many Chinese artists face even to this day: should they take a stand or not?  Many individuals feel the pressure to preserve family, tradition, and culture while simultaneously desiring to express their individuality and creativity.  This book is sure to inspire a lot of interesting conversations.