Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Low Class or Clue-Less in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 8, 2010

There has been a rash of reports that people from Hong Kong are frustrated with much of what is going on with the mainlanders going there and bringing their poor etiquette and Chinese ways to Hong Kong. The incidents range from Hong Kong-ese yelling at mainlanders,l criticizing them for spitting, cutting in lines, coughing and not covering their mouths etc. The funny thing is that the people from Hong Kong are right.
I went to a Hilton in a very prestigious place in China and to be honest, the level of couth is abysmally low. For instance, a Hilton usually will have clientele who are better educated than the norm, and this typically means better manners etc. (and please understand I am not making a class judgment, I am merely saying that if you were to go to the ghettos of LA or NYC, you would find a difference in how they define manners and how someone from at least a middle class family would). Thus, this is what I am accustomed to. And remember, I have been to some of the poorest places in the Americas and have seen abject poverty.
The funny thing , and why I say that the Hong Kong-ese are right, is that in China, even at the 5 star hotels, and probably more so, their manners are horrendous. For instance, there is more pushing, spitting and rude behavior at the Hilton than used by the cabbies who frequent the street in front of my house.
I have a theory as to why this is so…
When Mao took over, his team killed and imprisoned the educated, and basically put the less intelligent and less educated in charge. Those people’s off spring are now in charge and in positions of powert. Those people probably never learend about manners and such, as in China up until 25 years ago, they still used public toilets with no doors as their houses had none.
Point 2, is that in China today, there is a massive land grab. Mao took the land from the rich and gave it to the people. The communist party is now taking that land , or enabling it to be taken back by the party members (who as I have said are less educated and come from lower stock), and sold to others, all at a nice profit.
Thus , when you come to China, it is all but impossible to distinguish one’s level of education or breeding based upon their level of social awareness and manners. In every area in China that I have lived (3 different places), I have found that those with money tend to be noveau riche who have poor manners, and those who have risen through the ranks, so to speak, are more like we are.
Thus, when you go to China, and you should, do not stay at ta 5 star hotel!!!

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