Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don't Ask, Pray Tell

This just in from Beijing:

The 'eight don't asks' of the Olympics

Posted by Tim Johnson

Tue Jul 22, 5:46 AM ET

Posters are appearing around Beijing guiding locals about how to interact with the (few) foreigners coming for the Summer Games.

The posters instruct residents on the “eight don’t asks” when chatting with foreign guests. Here’s a rough translation, courtesy of the Peaceful Rise blog:

Don’t ask about income or expenses, don’t ask about age, don’t ask about love life or marriage, don’t ask about health, don’t ask about someone’s home or address, don’t ask about personal experience, don’t ask about religious beliefs or political views, don’t ask what someone does.

So what is one to ask? Maybe the relative merits of fencing versus marathon swimming?

Now, for the foreigners out there, here’s the No. 1 dud question to ask a Chinese person. It’s a question that will draw a blank, non-comprehending stare:

“Hey, pal, tell me about your president. Is he doing a good job?”

Hey, everything these days says MADE IN CHINA. Maybe that's what should be stamped on a little card with these questions and hand the card to visitors to the Olympics.

As for asking that question about the president: ask it in the U.S.A. and who knows, you might find your travel plans are hindered, or when you go to vote your registraton is all of a sudden invalid.

Carry on. Laugh. Or...



Ralph said...

If you go to the Olympics in Beijing, is it a mannerly faux pas should you wear a mask or a Scott Air Pack to keep your lungs functioning in their foul air?

Does China have a 'Great Leader' or a 'Dearest Leader'?

Patti said...

Ralphie, I think it's called a "Mighty Potentate."

Pawlie, I won't be attending, so I have no worries.
I'll be in Connecticut with my cats (horrors!) and my computer.
And my family.