Thursday, January 15, 2009

Indirect Communication in China

Above: DiYiCheng Culture Park. For Chinese, dragon means power. Two dragons playing with pearl are called Er Long Xi Du. Photo gallery below.

Indirect Communication - Who is Smart Now!

For foreigners, communication is one of the key challenges in China. Projects and business situations go wrong if communication between people don't happen, or if messages are misunderstood. Chinese read between the lines, make assumptions which might lead into confusion or problems.

Sometimes it's not lack of information. Reason for failure might be interpretation of Chinese indirect way of communication.

When Chinese communicate with each other, it's often a kind of competition, who is smart in here now? To be indirect requires the discussion partner to focus, and then construct conclusion out of a proverb or a saying, in a situation. This method is intelligent and softens confrontation with imagination.

Don't disturb me - Na er Liang Kuai, Na er Xie Zhe Qu
= Find a cool place where you go to rest (slang)
= Not now, don't disturb me, this is none of your business

Wrong task for me - Nei Hu Bu Kai, Ti Nei Hu
= The heater boiler not boiled, was picked (slang)
= You pointed to the one thing I am not good at, find someone else

You have done a good job - Gou Nien Jaza, Kvaa Kvaa Xiao
= Dog chasing a duck, kvaa-kvaa
= Fantastic! Say GouNienJaza and listeners know the second part and may respond, say it loud together. At least Chinese say it in their minds and feel happy, united.

Idea is clear - Xiao Chun Ban Doufu, Yi Qing Er Bai
= Spring onion mixed with tofu, clear green and white
= Clear, no problem with this! This proverb was used by former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. He also said
- When you are drinking the water, don't forget who dug the well

Snake: Overdo - Hua She Tian Zu
= Paint a snake by adding the feet
= First to draw a nice snake, people praise it. Then adding feet onto the snake to make it even better, and it becomes exaggeration. Snake is not right anymore and nobody likes it.

Man: Unnecessary wasted effort - Tuo KuZi Fang Pi
= Taking off trousers and fart
= Making things far too complicated with extra procedures

Cat: Purpose - HeiMao, BaiMao, ZhuaZhu LaoZhu Jiu Zhi HaoMao
= Black cat, white cat, as long as catches the mice is a good cat
= Purpose gets served. Party Secretary General Deng XiaoPing used it when China begun transition towards market economy. He also said
- When opening windows, also some mosquitoes come in

Egg: Anyway you are wrong - JiDan Li Tiao KuTou
= Picking the bones from inside the egg
= Trying to find a mistake which was never done

Tiger: Celebrate when you can - HuTou ShiWei
= Starts with a Tiger's head, ends with a Snake's tail
= Project, have a big celebration in the beginning, project kick-off, as result is unknown. May be there will be no second chance to celebrate.

Tiger: Climbing onto a Tiger - QiHu NanXia
= Once riding on a Tiger it’s hard to get off

Duck: Lost but not giving up - Zhu Shu De Ya Zi, Zui Hai Ying
= Cooked duck, soft meat but hard mouth
= Somebody has lost the debate but still defends on his opinion

Pig: Thick skin, nothing matters - Si Zhu Bu Pa Kai Shui Tang
= Dead pig is not afraid of boiling water
= Knows himself as wrong or failure but doesn't care about it

Chicken: Warning by example - Sha Ji Gei Hou Kan
= To strain a chicken to show Monkey
= To give a warning, to make an example but target may be you

Crows: People same everywhere - Tian Xia WuYa Yi Ban Hei
= All crows under the sun are black
= People are same everywhere (negative)

Frog: Don't have narrow view - Jing Di Zhi Wa
= Frog in the bottom of the well
= Don't be like a frog in bottom of the well, sees only small part of sky

Confucian teachings - San Ren Xing, Bi You Wo Shi
= Among the three fellows walking together, one must be my teacher

Joking with friends - Shuo Ni Pang, Ni Jiu Chuang
= When I say you are fat, you right away start heavy breathing

Foreigners might see perfectionism as boring. But Chinese respect perfectionism. They find the needed balance by using proverbs and sayings to make parodies of incomplete ideas without directly mentioning them.

Chinese mind enjoys to challenge others to make quick creative association. Indirect communication is Chinese word art. It is used in families, workplaces, during meetings and even in negotiations where attitude and tone also have strong roles. New catching sayings are invented daily.

In negotiations, If Chinese hold strong position, they can feel confident and be direct instead of being indirect.

FOREIGNERS often find Chinese indirect communication frustrating, inefficient, and as means of avoiding responsibility.

Be a good listener. Don't jump into conclusions. Don't try to change everything in China. If you make a question, try and learn to listen what is not said but left out. Have patience, wait for the answer to come out. Due to Guanxi, relations which is much more than networking, connections, or social media, and which is private, it is difficult for Chinese to be exact, when asked to estimate the status of a project, probability of a sales win, schedules.

-- BeijingMan


DiYiCheng Culture Park

We escaped from Beijing and drove 70km (45miles) highway East to Xiang He, “Fragrant River”, which belongs to Hebei province. In an hour we arrived and found the main gate of DiYiCheng "Grand Epoch City". Meeting of Group of 20, G20 was held there a some years ago.

It is a large tourism and movie-making park, surrounded by 5 km of walls. It has 22 palaces and halls, a lake, water channels, parks and a red 5-star hotel. A lot to see and perfect place to go for photo safari into Chinese traditional culture. DiYiCheng has scale!

Above-1: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Main gate to is in front of parking place.

Above-2: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
This red building is a 5-star hotel inside DiYiCheng.

Above-3: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
For Chinese Qilin is about imagination and luck. Qi = male, Lin = female.

Qilin is Chinese legendary animal which "has dragon head, deer horn, lion eyes, tigers back, bear waist, snake skin, horse feet and pig tail. Female Qilin often has one horn. Qilin is always kind. It's a symbol of good luck which pushes away disasters. Qilin comes only when times are peaceful, and when a great man is born".

You can find lots of Qilin in Beijing where they compete with door lions. You can see Qilins and lions in pairs in front of banks and office buildings, usually smaller than these two Qilins in DiYiCheng.

Above-4: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
In real life these bridges look even sweeter than in these pictures.

Above-5: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Duck boats. Big red building is 5-star hotel.

Above-6: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Corridors built on water, surrounded by lotus flowers. It was a sunny day and walking in the shadow of corridors was convenient.

Above-7: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Red and green.

Above-8: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Another good luck Chinese Qilin. No horn, maybe a male.

Above-9: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
At red hotel's yard the main elements are water and fountains.

Above-10: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Red hotel.

Above-11: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Noisy acrobatic show.

Above-12: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Watch shows, walk around, get surprised.

Above-13: DiYiCheng Culture Park views.

Above-14: DiYiCheng Culture Park has a lot to walk.

Above-15: DiYiCheng Culture Park views.

Above-16: DiYiCheng Culture Park walls are 5 km long.

Above-17: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
BeijingMan riding on Qilin!
- But on Dragon daily!

=== === === === === ===

VISITED DiYiCheng Culture Park again (my third time).

Above-18: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Both big Qilins (picture-3 above) had been vandalized. Both had two holes, 5-10 cm in diameter, in front and in the back of the body, through the body. Like sticks punched through.

This second visit was not as smooth as the first visit. We took rooms at big red 5-star hotel (picture-10). Suites were ok, had even own saunas. Problems came with services, too much "provincial mentality".

Firstly, lunch at DiYiCheng Culture Park's food street was not convincing. Some kitchens in restaurants were in bad shape and had cooks smoking while preparing dishes. Flies. It was an another world, while just one hour drive from Beijing.

Secondly, dinner at restaurant in the red 5-star hotel was not successful. I tried hard but it was quite "rural" in spite of high price level. In the bill there was two extra dishes which I never saw, an incompetent try, corrected, no pay for no-show dishes.

Above-19: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Long roads around golf garden.

Above-20: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Hotel apartments around golf garden. Two 2-floor apartments in this building.

Above-21: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Don't jump! Bed is hard as a stone. Adjust yourself.

Above-22: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Golf garden.

Above-23: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Roads around golf garden.

Above-24: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Going around by a golf cart.

Above-25: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Golf cart was hmm... fixed.

Above-26: DiYiCheng Culture Park views.

Above-27: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Red hotel.

Above-28: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Red hotel looks impressive. Stayed at up-floor suites which have two rooms, sauna and a wide balcony with view over the culture park.

Above-29: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Meeting hall.

Above-30: DiYiCheng Culture Park.

Above-31: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Dragon fountain, my favorite. Chinese folklore story about dragons and immortality, symbolizing mutual respect, humility and tolerance.

Above-32: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Dragon fountain, my favorite.

Above-33: DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Dragon fountain, my favorite.

Above-34: DiYiCheng Culture Park map, click to enlarge.

Above-35: Goodbye DiYiCheng Culture Park.
Highway back to Beijing, one hour drive.

Above-36: Bacon, no eggs, rolling towards Beijing.

Grand Epoch City - DiYiCheng at Xiang He
+ Not a small culture park, good target for photo safari
+ One hour drive from Beijing, not too crowded
+ Palaces, fountains, statues, shows
- Services, restaurants, maybe better make it a picnic

© BeijingMan 2022

No comments: