Friday, 17 May 2013

How to be Good Tourists 101

Vice Premier Wang Yang wants Chinese tourists to behave
Finally! A senior Chinese official has said it -- mainland Chinese have "uncivilized behaviour" when they travel abroad.

Vice Premier Wang Yang has said these people are harming the country's image, and blamed it on their poor "quality and breeding", he told People's Daily.

In particular he deplored "talking loudly in public places, jay-walking, spitting and willfully carving characters on items in scenic zones".

We wish he included squatting, relieving themselves in public areas and being rude, but he's made a good start.

Wang said such "uncivilized behaviours" were "often criticized by the media and have damaged the image of Chinese people and caused vicious impact".

Can we add a few more incidents?

Tonight on the bus home, a precocious boy around four or five years old was drinking milk from a small carton from a straw. He didn't know how to use a straw because he had milk droplets forming on his chin and his frazzled mother tried to get some wet tissues out to wipe his face. While she was doing that he pulled the straw out of the carton, which flicked milk drops onto people sitting opposite them.

Did the mother notice anything? The couple who was sprayed on tried to show their wet trousers, and that an apology was in order, but she was too busy going through her purse to notice while her son placed his hands all over the handrail and then started sucking his thumb...

When the wet couple left, the father sat down in their seat and what did he do? Pull out his smart phone and started playing games, completely ignoring the fact that his son was talking loudly and should be disciplined immediately. The mother looked stressed out and tired (and overweight), probably due to the fact that she had to look after two boys, not one.

Then we heard about an investors seminar my cousin attended a few weeks ago. It was held in a hotel ballroom and he noticed the mainlanders wore sharp suits, but the white socks gave them away.

They were also quite aggressive in meeting people, immediately asking what they did, what company they worked for, which turned people off. Did we mention they talked loudly too?

During the seminar, some of them sat at the back of the ballroom. One guy in a nice suit took one of the brochures, spread it out on his lap and then bent his head and started running his hands through his hair and let's just say he was able to create a snowstorm.

After he was done with that, he just flicked the pile of dandruff on the carpet for the staff to clean up...

And former director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Lu Ping tells Hong Kong people to "consider the feelings of mainlanders... There is no need to voice degrading comments publicly, such as calling mainlanders locusts. This will only hurt the feelings of each other. Hong Kongers should not be utilitarian. After all, the individual visit scheme has done a lot to help the economy."

Lu obviously has not seen the day-to-day happenings in Hong Kong when locals are confronted with the behaviour of mainlanders. They are shocked and appalled and most of the time Hong Kong people have no choice but to quietly complain amongst themselves.

It's when push comes to shove do they let out their frustrations and with good reason.

In the meantime we are relieved Wang has taken the first step in admitting Chinese citizens are not good exporters of China's soft power.

So far the immediate reaction to Wang's observation is mixed, including some mainland Chinese who don't care to listen to a senior official criticize their behaviour.

We shall see if the rest of the government officials agree with him and what will be done about it.

"Improving the civilized quality of the citizens and building a good image of Chinese tourists are the obligations of governments at all levels and relevant agencies and companies," Wang said, a former party chief of Guangdong province.

He believes authorities should "guide tourists to conscientiously abide by public order and social ethics, respect local religious beliefs and customs, mind their speech and behaviour... and protect the environment."



  1. Finally indeed!

    More re "willfully carving characters on items in scenic zones": While visiting Beijing a few yaers back, I saw a Mainlander graffitiing on the wall of the Temple of Heaven in full view of a guard who made no move to stop his countryman from doing so.

    Honestly, if they think nothing of doing that in their own cultural heritage site... :S

  2. That's shocking but even more shocking the guard not doing anything about it! The Forbidden City and Summer Palace are like that too -- too big a place and not enough surveillance to stop people from defacing or destroying things... blame it on the emperors for making such big complexes!

  3. Re the Summer Palace: or, rather, the Old Summer Palace (i.e., Yuan Ming Yuan) -- given its history, I was expecting where I went there for it to be a place filled with great sadness. Instead, I saw lots of Mainlanders frolicking happily and picnicking there.

    It was strange: I discerned a major disconnect between "the locals" and those place's histories. OTOH, it was quite nice -- a la my experiences at Versailles -- to see "the masses" now being able to enjoy themselves at the Summer Palace proper. ;b

  4. Picnicking??? What were they eating?

  5. Buns, cold cucumbers, etc.! :S

  6. Hahahaha typical! And they probably left a mess afterwards too...