Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Am I a cheap bastard?

Last night a young, sweet, Chinese girl came over to our place to give me a trial private Mandarin lesson. Yeah, for those of you who do not know; I am (desperately) trying to speed up my process of learning Chinese. After 7 months of university language studies, I feel I sill make too many primal mistakes (like saying “I am a size 25” instead of “I am 25 years old” and telling the taxi driver “it doesn’t matter!!” when he asks me “should I take left or right at the crossing?” Yup. Quite inconvenient, I know!) and now I want to get better, fast!

With HSC level 6 as my current, far-fetched dream (yeah right) I was deeply motivated for yesterday’s lesson, which unfortunately didn’t work out quite the way I thought it would.

I had already specified how much I was willing to pay (50 kuai/hour), so imagine my surprise when the tutor (who had no previous teaching experience. I suppose I shouldn’t even call her a tutor) suddenly expressed her wish for me to pay her 150 kuai/hour.

“Ehum, but… well… I sort of already said I would pay 50!” I tried.


I had to quickly shove her to my door so that her time wouldn’t add up to an outrageous quota.
But in the end I still paid her 50 kuai. Don’t call me ruthless! Even my ‘Chinese-tutor-wanted’-add said that price! I have no idea where she got 150 from?

Anyways. So now I’m at the lookout again. I know that 50 kuai/hour isn’t considered to be a too low rate. I’ve already asked around and all my Chinese friends believe it is a decent time pay, especially for someone who doesn’t have any previous teaching experience. A friend of mine is paying her tutor 30 kuai/hour, and that’s also considered to be a totally okay price.

But then again. Why do I get this feeling that when the tutor sees my blonde hair, 50 kuai suddenly becomes ‘waaaaaaaaay toooooo loooooooooow’ and I turn into this stingy bastard in front of her yes? Should Westeners have to pay more because they are Westeners? Like, really?

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