This blog covers our wait, travel, and adjustment to our 4 year old adopted Chinese daughter Sarah Shui Qing from Nanjing. There are over 1000 posts. I have moved my blog to Catching Butterflies 2. I hope you will enjoy reading this blog. It has alot of information on Special needs adoption. Follow us to our new address Catching Butterflies 2! Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Here are some do's and don'ts in China...

The order of Chinese names is family name first, then given name.
Among some 440 family names, the 100 most common ones account for 90%
of the total population. Brides in China do not adopt their husband's
Among Chinese, a popular way to address each other, regardless of
gender, is to add an age-related term of honor before the family
name. These include : lao (honorable old one), xiao (honorable young
one) or occasionally da (honorable middle-aged one).

Unlike the Japanese, Chinese do not commonly bow as a form of
greeting. Instead, a brief handshake is usual. While meeting elders
or senior officials, your handshake should be even more gentle and
accompanied by a slight nod. Sometimes, as an expression of warmth, a
Chinese will cover the nomal handshake with his left hand. As a sign
of respect, Chinese usually lower their eyes slightly when they meet

Moreover, embracing or kissing when greeting or saying good-bye is
highly unusual. Generally, Chinese do not show their emotions and
feelings in public. Consequently, it is better not to behave in too
carefree a manner in public. Too, it is advisable to be fairly
cautious in political discussions.

Chinese do not usually accept a gift, invitation or favor when it is
first presented. Politely refusing two or three times is thought to
reflect modesty and humility. Accepting something in haste makes a
person look aggressive and greedy, as does opening it in front of the
giver. Traditionally the monetary value of a gift indicated the
importance of a relationship, but due to increasing contact with
foreigners in recent years, the symbolic nature of gifts has taken

Present your gifts with both hands. And when wrapping, be aware that
the Chinese ascribe much importance to color. Red is lucky, pink and
yellow represent happiness and prosperity; white, grey and black are
funeral colors.
The popular items include cigarette lighters, stamps (stamp
collecting is a popular hobby), T-shirt, the exotic coins make a good
gift to Chinese.
And the following gifts should be avoided:

1.White or yellow flowers (especially chrysanthemums), which are used
for funerals.

2.Pears. The word for Pear in Chinese sounds the same as separate and
is considered bad luck.

3.Red ink for writing cards or letters. It symbolizes the end of a

4.Clocks of any kind. The word clock in Chinese sound like the
expression the end of life.

China is one of those wonderful countries where tipping is not
practiced and almost no one asks for tips. The same thing goes even
in Hong Kong and Macao, except in some luxurious hotels.

Traditionally speaking, there are many taboos at Chinese tables, but
these days not many people pay attention to them. However, there are
a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are a guest at a
private home.

1. Don't stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl. Instead, lay
them on your dish. The reason for this is that when somebody dies,
the shrine to them contains a bowl of sand or rice with two sticks of
incense stuck upright in it. So if you stick your chopsticks in the
rice bowl, it looks like this shrine and is equivalent to wishing
death upon person at the table!

2. Make sure the spout of the teapot is not facing anyone. It is
impolite to set the teapot down where the spout is facing towards
somebody. The spout should always be directed to where nobody is
sitting, usually just outward from the table.

3. Don't tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. Beggars tap on their
bowls, so this is not polite. Also, in a restaurant, if the food is
coming too slow people will tap their bowls. If you are in someone's
home, it is like insulting the cook.