Despite the fact that we had a great time with our Chinese Buddies in Salzburg, I still had some prejudices about China before moving here. For my overhasty stereotypes I would like to blame Disney’s Mulan, Chinatowns and the media, but in reality I can only blame myself for not having tried to convince myself from the opposite. Now, after living two and a half months in Shanghai I would like to share my experiences about Chinese behaviour patterns with you and try to answer some typical questions about China:
1) Is it true that China is a tea-drinking nation?
Oh yes it is! That is not only shown by endless tea-shops along the streets of Shanghai, but also by the high prices for coffee. For one package of coffee such as Nestlé Instant Coffee (500g) you have to pay nearly 10,00€. Next it is almost impossible to get one Cappuccino for less than about 4,00€. In contrast you can buy green tea or the like for about 14 Yuan, which is ca. 2,00€.
2) Is it true that Chinese people eat extraordinary food?
Yes and no! Next to “normal” food like rice or noodles served with vegetables, beef, pork, fish, chicken and so on they do have some extraordinary ingredients such as cured duck-feet, roasted insects, moulded eggs, and, as you can see in the picture, dried skin of “pork-faces”.
Next, it is certain that the myth “Chinese restaurants cook cats and dogs” is untrue even Chinese have different food habits.
3) Is it true that Chinese people look exactly the same?
In my opinion European people look incredibly different from one another. They have different hair and eye colours, very unequal body types and individual facial structures. First, when I looked at someone who is Asian I always thought: “Hey, all Asians look so similar!” But this is not true: Especially since I am here I have learned, that I was just looking for the wrong differences. Nowadays I am convinced: Chinese people don’t look the same! If you really start looking you can see, that all of them have different eye shapes, individual shades of skin and diverse hairstyles as well.
4) Is it true that Chinese people are always quiet?
No – that is definitively a myst! I think Chinese people love to yell out answers as loud as they can and it seems so that they laugh at the top of their lungs. Most of the time I am confused whether they are friendly or fighting especially in the metro, where mass of people are answering their phones loudly and playing smartphone games with ear-battering sounds.