Body-language and nonverbal communication

Foreigner? Who is the foreigner?

Foreigner? Who is the foreigner?


A good friend of mine who knowsChinavery well, told me two little stories, which I want to share with you. Maybe as a Chinese you know about this and maybe as a Westerner you’ll revitalize your stereotype thinking about Chinese:

  • He once worked together with Chinese in a French      company inParis.      He once was sitting together with Chinese colleagues when two French      colleagues entered the room. Just in that moment the Chinese said to each      other: “Well, there are two foreigners coming.”
  • My friend went to ………….a Chinese restaurant with some      German colleagues when some Chinese entered the restaurant. They looked      around, looking for a table to sit down. They looked to the table of my friend’s      colleagues and turned around to the other side of the restaurant with the      words: (of course in Chinese) “Let’s sit over there and not beside those      foreigners”.


It is interesting insofar that the Chinese call the French colleagues inFranceforeigners and the German colleagues of my friend when entering the Chinese restaurant in Germany with the words “foreigners”. Of course, French and Germans are foreign people to Chinese, but if I imagine me inChinaentering a restaurant or talking to some colleagues I would never name or address or talk about them as foreigners. Because I am the foreigner. J

Being in such a situation means that I’m the foreigner or the Chinese colleagues were the foreigners and not the French or the Germans.

These two little stories of course made me think about the self-identification of Chinese as a group, as a group in another country or culture. This of course reminds me of many conversations with friends from western countries but also from China. Almost always it was said that Chinese wherever they are, they join other Chinese, join a Chinese group and stay in this Chinese group or among other Chinese. They are friendly to the other people around, but usually will never let the others enter the Chinese group or become a member of the Chinese group.

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