In March, the e-commerce site Living Social found that Chinese tourists were the second-worst in the world, behind only Americans. While these surveys are usually hopelessly flawed — does any country produce good tourists? — China Daily ran a cover story yesterday on this subject, specifically how various organizations are trying to “instill better behavior among Chinese tourists.” It’s a fine Sunday read, serving to highlight major differences between Chinese and non-Chinese culture. (“Jaywalking is the rule, rather than the exception. Drivers are prone to speeding and swerving. Cars park in bike lanes,” etc. Okay, a few more: “During rush hour, commuters jostle their way onto buses or subway carriages. Screaming matches between bus drivers and passengers are common. Orderly, single-file lines are a rarity.”)
The best part, however, is undoubtedly the illustration accompanying the article — laid out above and below the fold on the front page — featuring 15 rules for proper behavior. It’s an excellent, if not perfect, list for a scavenger hunt. How many instances of, for instance, littering in public places or not flushing the toilet after use can you find? A tougher one is “polish[ing] your shoes with bed linen or hotel towels,” so maybe a bonus point for teams that find that one. If you organize this scavenger hunt, remember that you heard the idea here first — and let us know! The complete list:
- Don’t litter in public places
- Don’t spit in public
- Take your turn in line
- Don’t take pictures when a sign says “no photography”
- Don’t talk too loud
- Contain your temper and don’t curse
- Don’t smoke in non-smoking areas
- Don’t force foreigners to pose for pictures
- Wear proper attire
- Eat quietly
- Don’t polish your shoes with bed linen or hotel towels
- Observe the “ladies first” rule
- (Uncaptioned, but it appears to have something to do with pole dancing in the subway)
- Flush the toilet after use
- Don’t remove shoes and socks in public
Feel free to play this game in foreign tourist hotspots as well. You have months — nay, years — as it doesn’t seem like we’ll see change anytime soon. China Daily’s conclusion:
Ultimately, the person we are at home is the person we bring to foreign lands. And in 2006, when the tourist manuals were issued, experts did say it may take several generations to nurture the correct behavior and create a positive image of Chinese tourists.
(H/T Tom Lasseter)
In answer to DM I just got re: whether those pics were “for real.” Yes. twitter.com/TomLasseter/st…
— Tom Lasseter (@TomLasseter) November 19, 2012
They missed the ‘don’t clip your finger nails in public’ one.
One the writers themselves seem not to have followed is ‘don’t refer to the native citizens of the country you’re visiting as “foreigners”‘.
You don’t shout out ‘laowai!’ to Chinese people when you visit your home country?
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: the first thing that marks any holiday back to the motherland is standing up as the plane taxis into the gate and shouting “Holy shit, look at all the foreigners! Niiiiiiiiiiii Haaaoaoaoaoaoaooooo!”
The dirty looks I get from the Chinese passengers is priceless and the high-fives from my compatriots are just the cherry on top.
I intend to do exactly the same next time.
I think that idea would actually cause a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. In my experience ‘Laowai’ doesn’t really mean ‘foreigner’, it means ‘non-Chinese person’. I’ve never really heard it used to mean anything else (e.g. expats in another country), and I’ve certainly never heard Chinese people calling themselves either laowai or waiguoren.
Americans the worst? Come on! I protest!
“In March, the e-commerce site Living Social found that Chinese tourists were the second-worst in the world, behind only Americans.”
USA! USA! USA!
Get in line yanks… Us Brits have been going to other countries and pissing off the locals for years.
The one without a caption says (according to the newspaper in the picture): “Don’t snatch seats on transport”. Reminds me how every time I go to the metro in Beijing, all the people run to the seats like some kind of crazed bulls…