Life is punctuated by a series of enlightening, unexpected, and occasionally puzzling before-and-after moments.
Browsing: Chinese Culture
Here is the paradox with Chinese food—it’s not as weird as you think and it’s probably not what you imagine.
Western parents rely on science- and psychology-based books. Chinese parents occasionally glance at the memo stuck on the rice cooker—“whatever your child does, just state it’s not good enough.”
As the official head of the parental communication team, I was fully prepared to help Mark read the fine print of life in society.
We aren’t a stereotypical family. It’s cool. I can deal with a pause, a curious look, some assumptions.
Like many immigrant families all over the country, Feng and I blended our respective cultures at home—Chinese, French and Canadian in our case. Do you want to see our Chinese side? Follow me!
Mandarin is much more than a somewhat exotic-looking language—it’s the key to Chinese culture. Can you say anything in Mandarin? “Nǐ hǎo”, maybe? “Xièxie “? “Chop suey”?
Lunar worshipers, grab a bite of mooncake, chew it, then repeat after me: “中秋节快乐!”
I wanted to please. I wanted my in-laws to like me. They are Feng’s only family and the only familiar faces I knew in Canada. It made sense to get on well, to stick together like grains of rice.
You can find pretty much anything in Chinatown if you can read a language other than English or French.
Today is the National Day of the People’s Republic of China ( 国庆节). So in honour of the Chinese members of the family (namely Feng and… half of Mark?), here are five things you probably didn’t know about Chinese culture!
Stereotypes can be used because it’s so damn convenient when unpredictable human beings fit into little boxes, properly labelled. They are broad generalizations, and they are sometime true. But as long as you don’t treat stereotypes as iron-clad laws that apply to every single person, I don’t see why we should pretend they don’t exist.
Coming from the West, China offers a unique experience. It’s quite a culture shock, really—even for me (this was my 6th trip to China) and even for Feng, to a certain extent. You live, you learn… well, these are 11 things I learned during our trip to China.
Chinese like to treat guests as royalty and it can be embarrassingly overwhelming. There is an entire informal code of politeness, the art of being 客气 (keqi), that I quite don’t master. I understand it but it drives me crazy as a Westerner.
Chinese like to warn me, the stupid Westerner, about two things: how spicy the food…
Chinese don’t sit, they squat. I guess there are more people than seats in China,…
It’s funny how sometime you say one thing while thinking another. Like when Feng announced that his parents had invited us to RandomDistantRelative’s fiftieth’s birthday party. “Why would I want to spend Saturday evening with your parents and people I barely know?” I thought. But somehow, I heard myself replying “yeah, sure.”
Feng was born in China and came to Canada when he was in his early teens. I was born and raised in Nantes, France, and came to Canada in 2004. So, what are our Chinese, Canadian and French sides?
Today is Chinese New Year, and our multicultural house is celebrating the beginning of spring (not quite there yet in Canada!) and the beginning of the year of the Snake.
Sometimes, when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I’m almost surprised to see that, indeed, I have a big nose and dark eyes that are much too wide to be mistaken for most Asians’ almond-shaped eyes. I’m almost about twenty inches too tall and forty pounds too heavy to be your average Asian woman. I guess I’m not Chinese.
I was introduced to massage by my former boss in Hong Kong, Ning. Now don’t imagine inappropriate work incentives: Ning may have paid me a ridiculous wage and asked me to work on weekends too often, but he wasn’t this kind of man.
Something has been bothering me for a while now. Maybe it’s the one-sided view of the problem. Maybe it’s because I feel we’re witch-hunting. Maybe it’s because I can’t take hypocrisy very well. or maybe I’ve just been brainwashed my the Chinese as my friends like to joke.
His platform what somewhat unclear but included the “No Child Left Behind Act” (“Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?”, he wondered), no nation building (“I don’t think our troops should be used for what’s called nation building” as said in 2000), making rich people richer (“This is an impressive crowd. The haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base”, he declared).
But she surprised me. Instead of mentioning my laziness (because she clearly remember that when she visited Paris, French were less efficient than Japanese, therefore they were lazy – some kind of genetic problem that I must have had inherited because I was very French indeed – are you following me ?) , she blamed my English.