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The American should be thankful, instead she barked at me [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2006-5-29 11:47:04 |Display all floors
Eg. 1: "I was in a restaurant one day and saw an American struggling to hold a conversation with the waiter about her order. She spoke horrible Mandarin. The waiter didn't speak English and was straining to grasp what she said. I was really worried about her speed. So I helped out as I could discern from her distorted tone what she wanted. I was trying to be kind, but she told me something like "I am fine. I don't need your help". That hurts."


Eg. 2: "This American was trying to eat with a pair of chopsticks. At the rate she was going, it would be breakfast time by the time she finished her dinner. I asked for a spoon for her. Not only did she not thank me, she kept on using chopsticks and said "I could manage."

Eg. 3: "This American friend didn't know what was good. I helped her with the ordering. And she kept saying "no, I don't like shark's fin soup" even thought I kept explaining to her how nutritious and good shark's fin soup is, that she should appreciate my advice. I was quite willing to pay for her to enjoy a good meal. But she said I made her look like a child."


Why is my kindness returned with hostility?

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Post time 2006-5-29 12:10:38 |Display all floors
In #1 & 2 I would at least have said thank you, even if I didn't want the help. It sounds like she is trying very hard (maybe too hard) to fit in and do things for herself. In the US, many people are embarassed if they can't do something for themselves (maybe like losing face). Even some handicapped/disabled people want to do as much as they can on their own and get offended when someone tries to help.
Haha... maybe next time, imagine in your mind that she is disabled (in a way she is, not speaking the language!) and when she refuses your help or isn't thankful, just know that she is having trouble in her mind accepting her position and may be confused.

#3 - Maybe next time you could ask what her favorite meat is, and say "oh good, I like chicken (or whatever) too, this place has good  "___chicken whatever___", do you mind if I order it for us?" or something like that. If she is not yet used to China, shark's fin soup is a VERY weird thing. I don't eat meat, but even when I did, I would have been turned off by the thought of that. Better to stick with chicken, pork, or beef (unless they're vegetarian, then get them tofu, not mushrooms). Or maybe she already tried shark's fin soup and knew she didn't like it, or she knew she doesn't care for seafood in general.

Don't worry, I can see you were trying to be nice. And I don't think the person is a jerk on purpose, I just think she is nervous and trying too hard to fit in, and may be feeling "disabled". (but she still should have said thank you, in my opinion)

[ Last edited by freakyqi at 2006-5-29 12:12 PM ]

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Post time 2006-5-29 12:15:48 |Display all floors

no means no!

Sometimes in CHina people can be seen as being too pushy when trying to convince us to eat something that we really dont want too.  If she says no and you continue to try to tell her that she should do it its pretty rude.  Kinda like peer pressure!
Thankyou for treating us laowai politely but please remember we like to make our own choices!

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Post time 2006-5-29 12:23:36 |Display all floors
Ok being an American and having been in those exact same situations I can relate to her! Ok one thing about Americans that you need to remember is that we like to feel self sufficient and occasionally we don't like to accept help in any form. Your intentions were honorable though and she should've at least tried to remember that but I've been in her shoes before.

I don't know why, but chinese like to push ideas on people when it comes to food. I tell my mother in law everyday that I do not like this really fatty pork she uses in the majority of her dishes and yet every day I am still eating it :) I am thankful she cooks for me! But with a baby that is eating off of me, I also need to have a specific menu of a variety of foods so that my son can stay healthy such as alot of meat, less fats, and vegetables. Ok well it gets more specific then that but she always pushes things on me saying "oh this is good for you eat it". Everywhere I go people tell me this and I feel that they must really think I'm unhealthy or something and unable to make up my own mind about what is good for me and what is not. Do you see it from the other side a little yet?

Our parents really push us to not need their help and get out of their house by age of 18 whereas alot of chinese parents generally like to advise their own children throughout their whole lives as well as have them live in the same home until they are older as well (I know sooo many married couples that live with their parents). Same thing with the chopsticks too though, I remember in America that I'd feel kinda insulted if I went to a chinese restaurant with ten other chinese people and they would just naturally assume I would want silverware as opposed to chopsticks. But being that she is learning, and apparently working hard at it, perhaps it would've been better to show her an easier way to use her chopsticks. We feel it's better to look stupid but try like there's no tomorrow until we get it right then just give up and look rude....if that really makes any sense. I mean, after all she did come to China and I'm sure it wasn't to use the silverware.

I really hate it that my husband still has to even read the menu for me (chinese writing is proving to be the most difficult thing for me right now) and sometimtes if we don't find anything quickly I just order the same thing I know they have at every restaurant because I hate having people to stand there and wait on me (Btw, what is the deal with the waitresses just standing there? It really drives me crazy I want to yell at them and tell them to go away until I'm ready! I feel so rushed!), it's sad.

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Post time 2006-5-29 12:39:28 |Display all floors
All of those posts by the Americans above are rather arrogant don't you think? I know for a fact we are very self-sufficient and independent. Mind you being independent doesn't mean to close off friendly advice and ties with the people of culture you are involved with at the moment. How about we drop our pride of all that and realize that we are in China. When in whatever country, speak that countries language...pretty much means try to integrate with the culture that you are in at the moment. The whole 'my way or the highway' needs to stop and be less punctual to enjoy the hospitality of people here. There is not that many opportunities to be overly indulged in life anymore so grab this chance and enjoy it. There are of course pushy people in all cultures but so as long as they are not shoving it into your face...it has all the reasons to be rationale.

Drop your pride and drop your guard...just enjoy it while you're here~

[ Last edited by eyeofstorm at 2006-5-29 12:42 PM ]
((EyeOfStorm))
~All that which glitters is not gold~

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Post time 2006-5-29 13:28:28 |Display all floors
Originally posted by eyeofstorm at 2006-5-29 12:39
All of those posts by the Americans above are rather arrogant don't you think? ...


No, I don't think mine was arrogant at all. Could you please tell me how it might sound that way, because I certainly didn't mean any arrogance. Wait - did you mean me, phoenix & hidenseek, or the 3 american responses all in the first post?

Eating is a very personal thing. Most people, even children, can predict if they might like a new food or not. If a Chinese person visited me here in the US, I would not push some stinky ol' cheese on them if they didn't seem interested. (I'm not saying that's what you were doing, hooiluangoh, I'm just inventing a situation) Maybe she already knew she didn't like that soup, or didn't like seafood very much. It's no big deal. I agreed the woman should've said thank you, and I gave suggestions for if it happens again.

[ Last edited by freakyqi at 2006-5-29 01:41 PM ]

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Post time 2006-5-29 13:51:06 |Display all floors
I think the foreigner should do in Rome as Rome doesd when in China. Being independent doesn't mean to close off friendly advice.

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