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    How are your wives settling in?

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    Chris Seaborn
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    How are your wives settling in?

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 20/09/11, 09:49 pm

    We read how good our wives are at learning English, it's a passion, I don't think it's just due to having to pass an examination to stay in a country, in Australia they don't have to pass a set English test to gain permanent residency. To obtain citizenship may be another matter. Yet, that passion to learn is still there.

    My question is this... It's all very well learning the language but how many wives are accepting or are realising the 'values' of your western culture, and actually assimilate into your societies? I don't mean just knowing what they can get out of the system, more your everyday living culture, what is accepted say, if you go to a friend's place for dinner...do you take a bottle of wine or offer to bring the dessert? Do they thank their host as they leave? The little nuances that are so important. Are you as husbands showing/teaching your wives what is polite in your country? This can differ so much from the Chinese culture.

    These are our responsibilities, we can't expect all our wives to understand the differences and if these are ignored, what would be the repercussions?

    Cheers,
    Chris.


    Last edited by Chris Seaborn on 20/09/11, 09:55 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Additional text)
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    makem
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by makem on 21/09/11, 09:21 am

    Chris Seaborn wrote:
    more your everyday living culture, what is accepted say, if you go to a friend's place for dinner...do you take a bottle of wine or offer to bring the dessert? Do they thank their host as they leave? The little nuances that are so important.
    Chris.

    Hi Chris.

    I find that the Chinese culture in respect of the things you mention translates exactly into the UK culture. In fact my wife goes overboard a little. Typical is "we must take a gift". And yes, she does thank the host, greet and offer to help with cooking and clearing up.

    My extended family maybe lacking lol. I find Han is better at these things than they are!

    In fact I am the one who has to learn in China, although I find that easy as people are so relaxed (or appear to be) in my presence.

    CPRSCC
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by CPRSCC on 21/09/11, 01:00 pm

    Chris, I think that the Chinese concept of "manners" goes far beyond that which we consider acceptable. There are differences, of course. Li would be the first person in the bus to offer her seat to an older person and just cannot understand the way my children treat me. She certainly has difficulty with people who treat their job as a right, rather than a privilege and gets quite angry when I tell her, at day's end, some of the things my employees do. She chides me when I get upset over what some ratbag does on the road - road rage just isn't in her vocabulary.

    Frankly, I have much more to learn from her about fitting in than she would ever have to learn from me.
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by handyal on 21/09/11, 08:07 pm

    I'll agree with all the above comments. Chinese women are much better mannered than English women. Gifts 'to' and gifts 'from' are a normal sign of their hospitality.
    At meal times they also ensure 'you' have had your fill before they finish any leftovers. They are very considerate towards family.

    One problem I have had is their acceptance that 'favours' for friends isn't rewarded by cash. Outside the family circle every favour is 'chargeable' in their eyes.

    Even on the forum she cannot understand why we freely give help and advise to each other. It's something she is coming to terms with that not every good dead is rewarded by cash in western civilisation.

    Job application forms are another culture shock to her. Knocking on doors and starting work tomorrow without so much as even knowing the boss's name doesn't work in the west. I spent 2 nights compiling a CV for her to use for job applications and another 2 nights filing in another application form for her.

    As yet, no replies...........at least in China they get a 'yes' or 'no' knocking on doors. It's disheartening spending so much time completing forms, without reply.
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    Chris Seaborn
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 21/09/11, 09:55 pm

    Yes, these are the replies I was expecting. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is table manners, there is a distinct difference between 'here and there', for instance, I love my food and won't leave a scrap on my plate...in China that would be a sign that your host has not provided enough. I explain to Ying that her cooking is so good that I can't bear to leave a bit! LOL. And of course every country has it's own areas of politeness. I remember as if it were yesterday, in my early days in Australia, a cool 18, I picked this girl up for a date one night, on opening the car door for her she said,'Wha'are yer, a poof?', yeah, we had a good night! LOL.

    Chris.

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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by CPRSCC on 22/09/11, 12:22 am

    Interesting your comment about table manners, Chris. If I leave a single grain of rice in my bowl Li tut tuts and says "You are like children".

    One other thing I'd forgotten about was the Chinese habit of putting scraps on the table, or even the floor. I laughed when we went back, one time, and Li put bowls for scraps/bones on the table in her parents' home. Everyone at the table looked at her like she was daft, then used them. They're now on the table for every meal. Seems her Mum likes the idea of less cleaning up. Very Happy
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    wanneroo
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by wanneroo on 22/09/11, 03:58 am

    interesting comments, Mary insists that everything we eat off, is washed prior to any food being dished up, all utensils are to be washed too, I guess there are double standards here in Australia and China, food left for long periods on a Chinese tables to gather whatever floats around is one thing. We bought some long Baguttes. two in all now these go rock hard after two days. I was going to bin them. but I was told its not economical to throw stale bread out and stuff the ducks we should eat it with warm milk I refused to do this. If my western manners are adrift in some way I cant see it, Manners maketh the Man. I have observed the Motherly aspect when food should go in your mouth not on your clothes, which can happen these things are bad manners I think by depositing food this way, bowls should be up to the mouth not below "didnt your Mother teach you anything" lol!
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by davidmckendrick on 22/09/11, 04:50 am

    Chinese table manners are probably the most difficult thing I've had to get used to. One thing that Mei finds difficult is not being offered food when visiting my relatives if we arrive while they are eating. Mei always takes food as a gift when visiting friends or relatives, although a tin of sweets seems to be acceptable. She seems to have managed to stop offering banknotes with two hands when paying for things fairly quickly. I don't think she goes to College to learn English anymore - she just treats the class as a social club....
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by gaffer on 23/09/11, 07:38 am

    I agree with all the previous comments but do find one Chinese habit quite irritating ..and that is consideration (or lack of). Yan gets phone calls at all times of the day and evening, both from customers and friends just wanting a chat (or favour). Calls before 8am and after 11.30pm are not unusual. One "friend" in particular calls after 11pm to inform Yan that she and her mother will be coming the next day for some treatment, bringing small toddler with her. The child is being toilet trained which is a completely different concept to western potty training. He wears open crotch shorts and when he pees on the floor they know he needs the toilet!! We have upholstered furniture so Yan is constantly watching where he goes. Not such a major problem you might think, but when they come they want to stay the night ....... and payment might be a meal if she is lucky or a bag of fruit if not so lucky.

    There is no such thing as an appointment system in China. Even when customers call to arrange to come for treatment there is no guarantee they will turn up or call to re-arrange.... and there is no aplogy if they don't. I find this inconsiderate but Yan says "It's Chinese way"
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by wanneroo on 23/09/11, 08:42 am

    You are spot on Gaffer wit the phone calls. talking very loudly on the phone is quite irritating, but it appears to be the normal way of having calls at 11.30pm and 12.00pm is very common in China, but loud exchanges continue, I find this a little too much and attempt to understand why it is the norm, Why do Chinese people like to talk loudly to one another in any situation? I presume its the way it is. So put up or shut up, accept that this is the way it is conducted on verbal exchanges,I have attempted to ask why. but no reasoning is ever given, Question is this, Is this bad manners or a way of life in China that we should be aware of, and to make allowances for
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    gaffer
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by gaffer on 23/09/11, 09:27 am

    I think loud conversation are the first thing that strike a foreigner in China. Raised voices don't nesessarily indicate anger despite how it sounds to us. In some instances we could probably blame the large tables found in some restaurants where one person has to speak quite loudly to be heard across the other side, then another speaks even more loudly to be heard over the first conversation and so on multiplied by all the tables. However, if ever I call Yan and she happens to be on a bus, all I can hear is everyone elses conversations. I think generally laowai are more reserved and discrete and do not like to disturb others, whereas the Chinese couldn't care less who hears their intimate exchanges. Perhaps this is another incidence of what we would call consideration for others but is in fact merely a cultural difference that we learn to accept.
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    Chris Seaborn
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 23/09/11, 11:01 am

    I've noticed that since we've bought a headset/microphone Ying tends to speak at a more normal level on Skype. Gaffer, on my first trip I thought that Ying and her sister were having a row every time they started talking to each other but the 'heated' exchanges were punctuated with peals of laughter so I guessed things were actually OK.LOL.

    Chris, I'd forgotten about the Chinese putting bones and other waste on the table during a meal, sometimes, after a large gathering at a restaurant the mess would be un-believable.Since being here,Ying always puts an empty bowl on the table for this purpose and on her visit, older sister, also did this when she laid the table for dinner. I wonder if she still does now that she's back home?

    Chris.
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by handyal on 23/09/11, 05:26 pm

    Have you been told that 'English' speak very fast ?

    I think the Chinese also speak fast, but with one significant difference.

    Just how many words can they speak without taking a breath of air? They also tend to speak over each other without the first finishing the sentence. It's like a pre-emptive strike. (I know what your going to say, so I'll answer before you've finished). LOL.
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by wanneroo on 24/09/11, 01:57 am

    What did you say Alan? sorry I wasn't listening to you can you speak up ? its just a matter of listening then replying. too much of an hurry sorry have to say quickly what I am saying, So I will talk loudly to you so you can hear me and reply before I have finished what I have said to you do you understand ? lol!
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    slowheel
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by slowheel on 24/09/11, 08:40 am

    As to Table manners, I found it quite strange the act of spitting ( bits of bones and food) at the dinner table some times on the table, sometimes on the flour, It seems to depend on which particular eating place or restaurant you happen to be at, but after a couple of days you just get used to it, Rolling Eyes

    slow
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by handyal on 24/09/11, 10:32 am

    CHOPSTICKS.

    I suggest the reason for spitting out small bones is because they consider putting fingers to the mouth a dirty habit. They tend to use their chopsticks to remove bones from the mouth, or spit them out if they are small and unmanageable.

    In China I try to use chopsticks to eat, but they still continue to use chopsticks in our western society. Is this a lack of respect for our culture or just simply that they find chopsticks easier to use than a knife and fork.

    I am told 'dirty' if I eat a chicken drumstick using my fingers, or biting a nail, even though my hands have been washed - meanwhile food can sit in the fridge for days after the 'use by date', or a lump of meat that spills from the wok as it's being tossed and lands on the floor, is quickly collected and put back in the 'wok'.

    "Thats dirty", I state, "No, it's food" is the reply.

    Perhaps the question should be 'How are we settling in'. LOL.

    We're on a loser lads, go with the flow, LOL.
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by slowheel on 24/09/11, 11:19 am

    Al, you are dead right ""go with the flow"" it took me a while to work it out but I realise you have a much much easier and pleasant time if you don't try to fight,
    the more love you give the more you get back, it never seamed to work that way with western women,
    I still of course have an immense amount to learn, Shocked

    slow
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    Chris Seaborn
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 24/09/11, 11:22 am

    Ying and Ting use knife and forks for all western meals even older sister did while she was here. I always use chopsticks for Chinese meals both here and China although, I must say, I don't hold them quite like they do LOL, but it all gets in my mouth LOL. Both Ying and Ting now pick up their chop bones with their fingers,just persevere lads LOL. Ting said today...'I'm getting more Australian, I eat toast and marmalade now'(with bare fingers). I still get told off if I put my fingers in my mouth, maybe,just maybe I'll catch her doing it one day.

    The first time I was at Hong Kong airport I ordered a sandwich, it arrived with no butter and with what looked like a weird shaped plastic bag, I commenced eating,the rather dry sandwich, and noticed the cafe staff all looking at me, I then realised that the plastic bag was,in actual fact, a disposable glove which I was supposed to be holding my sandwich with!

    Cheers,
    Chris.
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by MadGee on 24/09/11, 02:41 pm

    Chris mentions the use of a disposable plastic glove.
    I often frequent the fast food chicken shops that are everywhere for my lunch. A duck leg (large), smoked pork slices, vegetables and rice served on a dried lotus leaf in a bamboo bowl with a bowl of flavoured water (they call it soup), costs 10rmb, and a plastic glove is provided to hold the duck leg. The bones go on the serving tray and never put your chopsticks down .... otherwise the waitress will will think that you're finished and the tray will be gone!

    To be honest, I prefer to eat with chopsticks now. Recently I went to Origus, a western style buffet eatery that also serves a selection of Chinese dishes and asked for some chopsticks, only to be told they are not provided, they only have knives and forks! Sad
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    Re: How are your wives settling in?

    Post by gaffer on 25/09/11, 08:03 am

    At a dinner in China with friends a dish arrived with what looked like a long strudle or pie (still not sure what it was but it tasted ok). The waitress arrived armed with a knife to cut it into slices but obviously had little experience in using one. She seemed unsure how to hold the knife to provide enough downward pressure. Taking pity I offered to help and completed the job to a round of applause. She looked very embarrassed but thanked me. Much to our table's amusement she then deliverd the same dish to the next table, and after the same problems everyone on that table looked in my direction. Taking the hint and being urged on by our friends I offered my services to them too. Fame at last cheers

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