In China, the term ’honesty’ has a whole different meaning than back home.
In China, you don’t sugar coat your comments. You don’t try and hide the truth. In China, you say as you think and if you happen to hurt the other person, well, then that’s just the truth that hurts, rather than your words.
Therefore, I cannot utter any personal defend to the following thing that happened to a friend of mine.
She was in a small, Chinese clothing shop when she decided to try on a dress. The mirror was outside the fitting room, so when she went out to have a look, she overheard the Chinese shop assistants offering their point of view:
-Look at that girl. Incredible how big asses those westerners have!
-I know! Big asses, and big hips. Looks stupid.
Now all this was said in Chinese so what can you do? Well, if it would have been me I probably would have yelled something nasty back (in Chinese) but my friend was quite shell-shocked and simply left the shop without saying a word (and no, she didn’t buy the dress).
Some weeks later, I was in another clothing shop and just about to pay for a dress when the two smiling shop assistants behind the counter started talking to each other in Chinese:
Girl 1: -Do you think she’s beautiful?
Girl 2: -Beautiful?
Girl 1: -Yeah, the Western girl.
Girl 2: -I don’t know, her nose is quite big…
Instantly, the memory of my humiliated friend’s sob story sprung to my mind. No way I was going to have this happen to me too?!
Me (in Chinese): -Why are you asking her if she thinks I am beautiful, how would you feel if I talked about you like that?!
Ahhhhh… I wish you would have seen the faces of Girl 1 & Girl 2. Priceless!!!
Well, they didn’t say anything else while I was standing there, but when I walked away I heard them burst into a hysterical laughter. Well, I suppose we all need our dose of daily fun?
And well, I guess compared to their tiny-non-existent-hips-and-bums and their pert little noses, us Westerners do look rather big. But that’s not something we need to be told, is it??
Yup, I guess my nose is the bigger kind.