Courtesy and good manners

I am currently spending a lot of time over in China (Shenzhen) and am surprized how courteous people are here… on the MTR over the weekend an old bloke got on (not really that old no more than 60) and 3 people jumped up and offered there seats.

Earlier in the weekend I was carrying my daughter and was also offered a seat. Anyway I found it really refreshing… I’ve spent a couple years in Hong Kong and many many in Taiwan… neither place have I found to be so courteous.

Even when my wife was pregnant in Taiwan she didn’t like traveling on public transport as she would more often than not, not be offered a seat.

What drives society to be courteous or not ? Originally I put it down to lots of people in a small space, wife says it’s Taiwan being a young democracy and people not understanding what is means “it’s my human right attitude” :loco: I now think it is a lack education and community values…

I think you’ve been very lucky! I have always found Taiwanese people far more courteous than their counterparts on the mainland. (Another sweeping generalisation I know - I’ve met a lot of salt-of-the-earth types too in China, but even as a six-foot-tall 100kg grown man I am terrified of the Shanghai underground(!))

[quote=“Connel”]I am currently spending a lot of time over in China (Shenzhen) and am surprized how courteous people are here… on the MTR over the weekend an old bloke got on (not really that old no more than 60) and 3 people jumped up and offered there seats.

Earlier in the weekend I was carrying my daughter and was also offered a seat. Anyway I found it really refreshing… I’ve spent a couple years in Hong Kong and many many in Taiwan… neither place have I found to be so courteous.

Even when my wife was pregnant in Taiwan she didn’t like traveling on public transport as she would more often than not, not be offered a seat.

What drives society to be courteous or not ? Originally I put it down to lots of people in a small space, wife says it’s Taiwan being a young democracy and people not understanding what is means “it’s my human right attitude” :loco: I now think it is a lack education and community values…[/quote]

I rely on public trans a lot, and have had many people offer me a seat when I was pregnant or just had a child (or more) with me… MRT, bus. Not always, but more often than not.

After 1 and a half years I’m still am delighted (and somewhat embarassed) by the frequency of MRT adults who cheerfully give up their seats for my kids, wife and I. My regular bus rides are characterised by the young adults regularly giving up seats to the elderly and to expectant mothers with or without children. Can’t comment on the mainland but I rember HK as pretty inconsiderate.

I’ve noticed that people on mainland underground systems are fairly polite, too. I’ve also noticed that the common mainlander on the street is nowhere near as polite as the ones you bump into on the underground or Taiwanese and Hong Kong people in general. I think the reason why mainlanders who ride the underground are pretty nice is because most of them could be called “middle class.” Hardly any working class or country bumpkin types ride the underground on the mainland. It’s too expensive for them. If you want to find out how polite (or impolite) most mainlanders are, then take the bus. :wink:

Strange how different people’s perceptions can be. I’ve generally found Chinese peasants (what do you call them!? “Xiangxiaren”) to be very friendly. Certainly I’ve noticed in Shanghai that Shanghainese in the service industry are very abrupt, but the waidiren (not from SHA) on bugger all an hour and probably no hukou (Shanghai residence papers) to be a lot nicer. Perhaps it’s as simple as they’re happy to have a job, and the Shanghainese have a superiority complex?

But then my experience of the mainland consists of five-star hotels, office blocks, and western pubs, punctuated by trips to the absolute middle of nowhere. Have to say I preferred the absolute middle of nowhere to the cities. And peasant girls are cute. Oops. :blush:

From what I heard from my parents (who lived in China for about a year), the subway/underground is not for the common population in China. If you really want to experience China, you should take the bus like Jive Turkey said, or take the train.

Not necessarily. There are at least two Chinas, in a socio-economic sense. There are plenty of people in China who don’t take the bus or ride a bicycle. They still experience China, albeit the coastal city, middle class China. On the other hand, they don’t experience impoverished peasant China.