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Cultural differences? Or am I being a bigot?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I can't help but notice around at uni that when I'm in a queue, international students from a certain part of the asian continent push in! If in lectures, they talk in a normal talking tone, have their phones on, play on their ipods / iphones etc. I feel quite subconcious because I don't want to become prejudiced against a particular ethnicity but I'm finding again and again it is Chinese students. Now, I have seminars with many and they're all fine so it's by no means all Chinese students, nowhere near. So it's not as such a generalisation of 'All Chinese students push in / talk in lectures', it's a generalisation of 'Most students who push in / talk in lectures are Chinese'.

It's still not defensible by any means :( I feel bad about feeling this way but it's really getting my back up. Is it just that being in an environment with much more of an international mix, there is a clash of cultures? I know certainly from travelling to other countries the concept of queuing (like in Thailand) is alien to them, it's push to the front and/or shout. There's nothing wrong with this, it's just a cultural difference. Even the CIA world fact book and many tourist guides describes the UK as a 'nation of queue-ers'.

Of course, even contemplating the concept that a group of students from one geographical region may not conform as well to our standards of 'politeness' is bordering on racism itself (or at least is categorised as such). Is this just something I'm making up in my head to justify some hidden bigotry (though I've never realised it before - one of my life ambitions is to travel to China!), or do cultural differences really come to the forefront at University when so many different cultures are thrown together, each being significant enough to not absorb into the other immediately (approx 30-40% of my class are from mainland China! I think about the same from UK, and the rest made up from mainly Europe and some India etc.).

There's been a massive push by our department to 'anglicize' these international students, I get e-mails near daily about a new workshop / seminar / lecture / social for them to mix and get to know each other. Maybe in a place not only of learning academically but where different cultures do mix, there should be also emphasis on teaching us who have lived in the UK what the norms / social expectations are of other cultures who are coming here. (Especially since there are about equal Chinese to UK students, I'd say Chinese culture was especially significant).

:o

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you're thinking too much about it, you get bell-ends in any race not just these chinese ones you talk about. Chinese people are not generally like that at all i have many many chinese friends all who are perfectly mannered and wouldnt think about doing anything you've mentioned.

    as you say, queuing is britains favourite pass time, but im guessing these ones pushing in are just are bit stupid.

    ETA: your thoughts aint racist, try to not be so PC, its ruining this country. you were only expressing your thoughts.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Nope, you're not being bigoted as it's true! i am also guessing these would all be students form the mainland rather than Hong Kong or born over here as well, as BBCs and HKBC's don't tend to do that at all.

    There really isn't the whole queueing/general manners sort of culture as there is over here/a lot of them are just plain rude! Hence why there has been a publicity drive in China to increase levels of politeness and other such niceties before the Olympics games.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    having said that 99% of the chinese people i know are BBC and got beat with a feather duster as children
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    having said that 99% of the chinese people i know are BBC and got beat with a feather duster as children

    Yep, tis true :yes: :nervous:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Funny you should mention that. My mate was saying to me that he was getting served at the counter in a shop and an Asian girl put her stuff right along with his without waiting till he got served so he grabbed her milk and said "that's mine too." He said the Asian girl had a look of shock on her face when she saw her milk getting scanned for my mate, though he said he was only messing and walked away. :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe its because over there they are so densely populated that if you were polite/patient you'd never get anywhere?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yep, tis true :yes: :nervous:

    quality! did you get the duster as well?

    (im not chinese by the way, but i know thats what happened)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    quality! did you get the duster as well?

    (im not chinese by the way, but i know thats what happened)

    Yep, step out of line and *whack*
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    Maybe its because over there they are so densely populated that if you were polite/patient you'd never get anywhere?

    you do realise when they say densely populated they dont mean people literally cant move?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yea like I mentioned I have seminars with many chinese people, they're all great. I enjoy talking to them and don't feel uncomfortable, one of my best friends back home is Chinese! It's not the race that's the issue, I don't know...

    In lectures, or outside of lectures, like today at a vending machine - it does tend to be Chinese students. In my experience so far, almost invariably! People tend to listen to the lecturer and show a bit of respect, obviously people have a quiet whisper but sometimes there will be a group of 4 or 5 students sat together having a full blown conversation in normal talking tone (maybe they don't understand the work?) and it really irks me off. And again, it's always groups who I assume to be from mainland China. I may be wrong, but our lecturer did make a point that we've got a good proportion of Chinese students.

    Today, you know when there's a queue to chat to the lecturer, well 3 guys just walked straight up, interrupted the lecturer who was talking to someone and were just shoving papers under his nose. And it just irks me.

    I do feel bad about associating what I would class as 'bad manners' with students from a certain area - but my experience so far (of this year) has correlated perfectly. I don't assume it's got anything to do with being of the Chinese race, but perhaps of the cultural norms of international students who aren't used to being painfully polite. Not that they're rude if you talk to them, it's generally only small things like the lecturer example and the having conversations example.

    Worst was when the guy in front of me got his new iPhone, he was testing ringtones on it. :| I mean for me who is used to classrooms where you get sent out for talking and your phone confiscated if it was so much as visible, it was just shocking. Obviously University is slightly more relaxed but still...

    I do feel really guilty about it tho :( but like I said, I've had seminars with plenty of chinese guys (since there's a lot of them :)) and they're no different in manners or anything at all (bit shy at public speaking but that's natural if English isn't your first language) and I would never argue there's any racial inferiority or racial rudeness. But in situations where things I would class as rudeness does occur...

    I dunno, think back to primary school. You wouldn't say 'all boys are naughty' because that's a bit sexist. But if there were people being naughty... almost invariably at least at my primary school it was boys. I blame it on lesser attention span or something :p (I was kind of a non-boy, I hung around with the girls and thought the boys were 'naughty' lol, they bullied me :()
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you do realise when they say densely populated they dont mean people literally cant move?

    lol sorry that just made me laugh.

    In towns such as shanghai I believe (my brother travels there quite often, I'm not old enough to have the 'freedom' [in money & time terms] to go with him yet) there are big 'shanty-towns' where it's basically slums. Of course the Chinese public authorities don't advertise that, they spend loads of money on the nice tourist attractions, but he told me if you spend time there you can't help but see the disparity between rich (tourists) and poor. However, it is becoming a much more affluent nation so times are changing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There is also the fact that a lot of children now coming form the mainland are all incredibly spoilt, seeing as they are almost all invariably single children, and the ones coming over to study here generally are from well off families to eb even able to afford the school fees.
    I don't see why you feel guilty over it if it's true the vast majority of the time just because it's race rather than some other common characturistic. e.g. if i'd be more worried about walking past a group of pissed up guys wearing rockports and ben shermans than i would be waslking past a group of people who ahd just stumbled out of gatecrasher.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I find it to be Asians on my course. There's this guy in my seminars who drives me insane. He's so arrogant and he will happily talk over you, for example one woman was explaining her point to our tutor and he decided his point was better and whilst she was still talking began talking over her. He also listens to his iPod in lectures and ALWAYS sits at the end of the row so you have to ask him to stand up and climb over him to get to the other seats !!

    There are also about 4 Asians who sit at the back every lecture and they have their own conversation. Luckily we have one lecturer who will not accept it and is happy to point out their rudeness to everyone and ask them to stay behind.

    As for the Chinese I haven't noticed any problems and anyway at times the English can be just as bad.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I only mentioned Chinese since I know that about 40% of the people on my course are from mainland China, and the people who talk fit that general description. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

    Also, it's almost invariably boys too. :chin: (just noticed that thinking about the above). And as for the spoilt point - the makes sense at least the guy with his iPhone. It was a 2 hour lecture with it going off every few seconds or making some noise. Doesn't it have a silent mode? I could have murdered him! (I'm too timid to even say keep it down, I just grumble...)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you do realise when they say densely populated they dont mean people literally cant move?

    :rolleyes: I don't mean physically not being able to move, I mean by being served/getting things done because its so busy.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    :rolleyes: I don't mean physically not being able to move, I mean by being served/getting things done because its so busy.

    No different from any other big city. The UK is as densely populated as anywhere in the world.

    Anyway, I lived with a couple of Chinese students and the only thing I noticed was a rather odd way of knocking on the door. They wouldn't knock and wait. They would knock until the person answered the door. A sign of impatience? :p That, and the fact that they seemed to think the hob had two settings: off and full power, meaning everything boiled over.

    I think Malajusted probably hit the nail on the head. Any non-EU student studying in a UK university is likely to be one of two things. Either really talented, or a spoilt little rich kid (not to stereotype too much).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In the work environment, I think the Asians (as in Indian/Pakistanis) I deal with can be more abrupt and do talk over me a lot more than John Smith from London does.

    But by the same measure, I find Oriental people are quite easily pleased and rarely get arsey even if there's been a cock-up.

    Maybe it's just me like.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6351667.stm
    BBC wrote:
    China has launched a campaign to try to eradicate queue-jumping in the capital ahead of the Olympic games in Beijing next year.

    No, its not just you!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MrG wrote: »

    That's a really odd article.

    I think my idea of two-way cultural awareness is a good one though. I might bring it up with a lecturer whose pretty keen on the whole globalisation thing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Given how painfully politically correct the mods are here, I'm amazed that this thread hasn't been given a huge edit. But no, I don't think ShyBoy's being politically incorrect/a bigot/whatever.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »
    Given how painfully politically correct the mods are here, I'm amazed that this thread hasn't been given a huge edit. But no, I don't think ShyBoy's being politically incorrect/a bigot/whatever.

    You have such a big chip on your shoulder I really would like to take an angle grinder to it. I mean, in the past 2 or 3 weeks you've mentioned upteen times 'oh but with the people here' 'oh you know how it would be' 'people would just pick on one person'.

    I think the mods let nearly anything go, certainly more on other forums. Some forums if you so much as mention you have a copy of a game / cd / music, you get banned. But anyway, this thread isn't about that. But you need to stop feeling like some sort of victim of 'thesite clique conspiracy', it doesn't exist. If people got annoyed at you, well it was because you were annoying.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's all bloody true though! Being chinese with quite a few chinese mates i think i'd prob be in a better position than most on here to agree with it or not!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy you're not being bigotted at all... (and I'm not even gonna mention 'racism' because I don't want to devalue that word more than it already is).

    You merely made an observation. An observation which you summed up very well over here:
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    So it's not as such a generalisation of 'All Chinese students push in / talk in lectures', it's a generalisation of 'Most students who push in / talk in lectures are Chinese'.
    Cultural differences do exist. I've been Pakistan loads of times and I know that they hardly say 'please' or 'thank you' over there, and no ones offended by this. It's just the way it is. Even if you help a stranger in the street, don't be surprised if they don't thank you. I haven't been there in a few years though so maybe its changed.

    But of course any of my relatives living in Britain are all accustomed to saying 'sorry', 'thank you', 'please' etc.

    Maybe the Chinese aren't very fond of queuing. :confused:
    If I had a Chinese mate then I'd certainly bring the issue up with him/her during general banter.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Of course, even contemplating the concept that a group of students from one geographical region may not conform as well to our standards of 'politeness' is bordering on racism itself (or at least is categorised as such).
    Nah, it's not really racism, unless you think all Chinese people do it and they do it because they're Chinery. Understanding that different cultures have different ettiquette is not racist. If you think about it, a lot of Chinese people would have been raised in a different culture to our own... So there will be differences in how they're brought up. So long as you don't use it to create nasty stereotypes (doubt you would for a second).
    or do cultural differences really come to the forefront at University when so many different cultures are thrown together, each being significant enough to not absorb into the other immediately (approx 30-40% of my class are from mainland China! I think about the same from UK, and the rest made up from mainly Europe and some India etc.).
    Maybe because you're not used to something, it seems more obvious?
    There's been a massive push by our department to 'anglicize' these international students, I get e-mails near daily about a new workshop / seminar / lecture / social for them to mix and get to know each other.
    Though this is is a good thing...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    sanitize wrote: »
    Cultural differences do exist. I've been Pakistan loads of times and I know that they hardly say 'please' or 'thank you' over there, and no ones offended by this. It's just the way it is. Even if you help a stranger in the street, don't be surprised if they don't thank you. I haven't been there in a few years though so maybe its changed.

    Yeah, in Nepal, people very rarely say thankyou... Unless it's for something big.
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