My reader asked what is the dos and don’ts for foreigners (or America as he is) in China. Here is my answer:
@Pedro Godoi, don’t worry, just enjoy your trip and don’t care too much about the dos and don’ts. Just follow the common sense in America. Typically, people in China, and in Shanghai of cause, are very nice to foreigners, and they tolerate a lot if you cannot use chopstick, or don’t understand many local things. It is OK to be nature as in every where in the world. Most dos and don’ts here are the same as most places in the world.
If you do ask me for one don’ts, that is, don’t always think there is only one correct way to do things. Be open in mind and don’t be too quick to judge the country.
At a second thought, I may want to add the following dos and don’ts for my friends.
- Do try new things in China. Many people come to see a world different from the world they live, so take the opportunity to try some new things, like walking out of the 5 star hotels to the street to learn what normal people do.
- Do smile. People in China are generally very kind to visiting foreigners, so be kind to them.
- Do make local friends. It is through friends that you understand the country better than wandering on the street. People in China love to make foreign friends, especially young people, since it is also a good opportunity for them to learn world outside, or at least learn English or other foreign language
- Don’t think people staring at you as hostile. Most of the straight look is out of curiosity instead of discrimination, or hate. This is especially true in inner China where people don’t see many foreigners in their life before.
- Don’t try to enforce your local rules. I saw foreigners yelling at local people claiming to send them to court, or get involved in argument based on the local rules, or laws. Show some respect, since there are other rules locally. Just try to understand it. If people cross the street at red light, give people time (in China, it means decades) instead of yelling at people.
- Don’t misbehave. This is very general, but don’t misbehave just because you are out of your home country, and you don’t feel the pressure of laws. Or you may find many local people did something, like jaywalking, and you follow. Please don’t do it, since when you don’t know something (for example, you don’t know what is Qing Dynasty, or you don’t use chopstick), it is acceptable, and often welcomed. However, if you do some bad things that local people think is bad (no matter how many break the rule), they will think very badly of you (I do). Try to stay the bar high. I understand that China is still far from a modern country, even after a successful Olympic or enjoying high grow economy, but I don’t want to lower the standard I set for myself. Many local people do the same thing, that is the reason they don’t like people behave differently from the relatively higher standard in public places.
Anything you want to add?