Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to spot the PRC tourist.

'Interesting' article I found on the people's daily online.

People's Daily Online: 10 "silly" questions often asked by Chinese traveling abroad

Over the past decade, a growing number of Chinese citizens have visited developed countries for leisure or business. It is understandable that Chinese citizens have some questions when they stay in foreign countries.

However, a question that seems casual may reveal a "cultural difference." Although there are a lot of different questions, they may simply be summarized as following 10 questions.

1: Is there boiled water? (The most asked question)

Having checked into a hotel, a Chinese citizen tends to first ask whether there is a kettle in the guest room. However, the fact is that kettles are seldom available in foreign hotels other than one or two large international hotel chains. Westerners love drinking cool water except for coffee and even like to drink iced mineral water that is also served at breakfast.

2: Are there non-China made products?

Chinese people usually buy something for relatives and friends when they go abroad. Unfortunately, China-made products excluding foods such as meat, eggs and milk are seen here and there in foreign countries, and even famous-brand products are marked with "Made in China." It seems shameful to buy Chinese made products from abroad. This neglects two points. Firstly, the quality of brand products is the same wherever they are made. Secondly, what is wrong with "made in China?" Even if foreigners look down upon China-made products, they are still consuming them, right? Why do Chinese people look down upon themselves? When the "made-in-China" brand becomes popular, it would be unnecessary for Chinese people to buy products abroad.

3: "Why is the hotel so shabby?" (This can be easily misunderstood)

In fact, this is a big misunderstanding. In developed countries, a big gap exists between ordinary and luxury hotels and luxurious 5-star hotels are rare and expensive. For the average wage earner, a clean and comfortable hotel is ok, and that’s all. Furthermore, the majority of hotels in developed countries were built in line with very low standards before the Second World War (except in Germany). On the other hand however, most hotels in China are constructed in accordance with the latest international standards during the past 20 to 30 years. Therefore, 4-star hotels in foreign countries are not as good as China’s 3-star hotels and 3-star hotels in foreign countries are not as good as China's hostels.

4: "Will we be discriminated against?"(This will not happen)

When clients are required to have breakfast in different zones, hotels provide different foods to different clients, and unfair arrangement for seats in trains and airplanes exist, clients intend to raise such doubts.

We cannot say that there is no discrimination in developed countries. However, it is very difficult to spot any discrimination. You are lucky if you have been discriminated against in a foreign country because you can file and win a lawsuit and get compensation if you have irrefutable evidence. Some hotels provide different breakfasts to individual clients and group clients just because of the different breakfast fee standards, and you do not need to make a fuss about it. When buying a train ticket or getting a boarding pass, you can directly request what seats you are interested in. Generally speaking, your demands can be satisfied (if you are fluent in foreign languages). On the contrary, if you judge everything from an angle of "class struggle" and make a fuss about it, you will make a foolish mistake. A tourist group once complained to a Chinese embassy that all of them were arranged to sit together with blacks in a train, dumbfounding relevant diplomats.

5: "Is this genuine or fake?" (The biggest doubt when shopping)

Such a question may seem common in China, but there is no need to propose it in developed countries. There are fake goods in Europe and the U.S., but they are mainly sold in street stalls. Most often, fake products are usually sold by illegal immigrants and are mainly made in China. The western police seem not as capable as Chinese urban management officers. When they show up "slowly," vendors selling fake goods have already run away “unhurriedly,” resulting in endless fake goods. It is impossible to find fake goods in stores selling brand products.

6: "Can it be sold cheaper?" (This is a habit of Chinese)

Many foreign shop owners are very "dull" and usually seem not to understand this question.

From the perspective of honesty and integrity, a fixed price represents a symbol of business integrity. When shop owners treat all customers alike, they will cheat no one, neither the old nor the young. The rule of no bargaining can help solve this problem.

What is funny is that now many stores near foreign tourist attractions have been "trained" by Chinese citizens to adapt to bargaining. Chinese tourists can try to bargain with shop owners, but should stop before going too far. Otherwise, the shop owners may have no choice but say, "Sorry, I'm going on my lunch break."

7: "Do we need to buy tickets to enter parks?"

Probably only the people who do not understand the concept of "park" will ask such a question.

Originally, "parks" meant free gardens for the public. Since they are free gardens, of course no tickets are needed. Since domestic or local people can enter them without a ticket, so can foreigners. Therefore, all the national mountain parks or national lake parks (including churches) in foreign countries are cost-free (except a few specific ones).

8: "What if we get sick?" (It is what you should worry about least)

What should we do if we get sick in a foreign country? Go to the hospital of course! Are the medical expenses too high for us since we do not have too much dollars or euros? This is an ultimately a problem about money.

But if you know that developed countries brought forward the word "humanitarianism" first, the problem will not be a problem anymore. If you suddenly get sick or an accident suddenly occurs, you only need to dial a number. Then, an ambulance will come and you will receive treatment. When you are finished with the treatments, just leave the hospital. No one will stop you (People with medical insurance should sign an insurance bill.)

Once, a Chinese official working in India dropped a brick. Before leaving hospital, he asked a question, "Where should I pay my medical expenses?" The medical staff answered, "You do not need to pay. Our compatriot said, "I am a Chinese!" They answered, “All the people of the earth can be treated here for free." Fortunately, the conversation ended before becoming more embarrassing. The medical treatments are free even in India which is a country poorer than China. So, we can imagine the medical conditions in developed countries.

9: "Do I need to pay a deposit?" (All Chinese citizens have asked this when they check in)

After Chinese citizens get their room cards, they always ask the above-mentioned question. The receptionists at hotels have to shake heads or answer them with hands spread. If any hotel charges guests a deposit, does it not mean that the hotel speculates that the guest will not pay the bill or damage the items in the room without paying compensation?

Of course, individual hotels in some countries are not so generous, and ask guests to pay when they check in. In fact, what guests pay is the price of the room (or leave credit card numbers) rather than the deposit, because hotels show their trust in you first as an expression of their respect.

10: "It is our leader, can you offer a priority?"(There is also a similar question: Do we also need to wait in a line?)

Foreigners always respond slowly to such questions, and the more you explain, the more bewildered they will become! After they spend much time and finally know what you mean, they still answer the question by shaking heads or spread hands with bewilderment.

Luckily, such questions are becoming rarer!

-Netizen "Make Zhongguo" contributes to this article.