Shantou Survival Guide II

    This chapter comes from my daytime students, who this week have been studying under the topic of ‘crossing cultures’. It’s quite difficult to think of things to suggest to outsiders when you’ve never been outside your area, but they are a free-thinking group and they did well. As they are almost all Chaoshan locals or descendants of such people, it’s a good idea to listen to their ideas.

    Jeans and t-shirts are ok for everyday clothes. You are expected to wear a school uniform when a school student. Wear dark colours at a funeral - no red.

    Take off your shoes when you go into a home. Don’t break anything in other people’s homes. Don’t enter the parents’ bedroom.

    Be careful on public transport, there are a lot of theives. Be prepared to give your seat to an elderly person on public transport. When on one of the short or long distance (not city) buses, tell the driver where you want to get off.

    Use two hands to give and receive gifts or anything to/from a superior. Say thank you when someone gives you a gift. Choose gifts for other people carefully.

    On photos, smile if you want. Check if it’s ok to take photos in temples first. Don’t take photos when people are sleeping. (I have a friend who has a large collection of photos of me sleeping! - I often fall alseep in his office/car.)

    Be on time for appointments. Never get angry. Don’t kiss or hug friends to greet them. Don’t say too much (?).

    Take enough money to pay for yourself when eating out but… don’t split the bill. Eat slowly, and not too much. Don’t eat and talk at the same time.

    In small shops, markets and on the street, bargain. Compare prices before buying. Don’t steal…

    Maggie Ad