Do's and Don'ts in China

Here are some dos and don'ts in China. I hope these will be beneficial for those that have plans to travel, study, or work in China. If you're from the Javanese ethnic group, These tips will be easy for you to follow.

1. If you don't like something, say it indirectly. Chinese people are very polite so when they don't like something, they won't say it directly. Like Javanese people in Indonesia, they won't say "you're bad" or "this is bad", they will use other words like "let's do other things" or "I think it's better if...", "let's ask other people's opinion?", or they will be just silent. They do it to save your face.

2. Don't be proud. Most Chinese people have this humble value so it's normal to see some classmates that said he/she is not good, turn out to be brilliant. Hence, the norm here is: When someone praises you (beauty, brain, behavior), you should answer it by: "哪里,哪里 ”(“nali nali", or "where? where? (No I don't see it in me)." But if you are from western countries and reply to the praises with: "thanks", that is also acceptable.

3. Don't fight. China is one of the safest countries so the chance to see people fighting or having big arguments on the street is nearly 0. When people start to yell at them, they will just say "mei banfa" or in Javanese is like "yoweslah..". This means they won't accept the fighting invitation and just let it go. Yet, just like the Javanese, actually, they don't forget the people's names that harm them.

4. Don't take pictures of women and old people without their permission. This is a little bit hard for Javanese or Indonesian people as a whole, as we love taking pictures of people. If you go to Indonesia, and you ask to take pictures with our women and old people, they will happily accept the offer. We do love the camera. But in China, you should ask her permission if you want to take her pictures. 

5. Bring your phone everywhere and install WeChat and waimai. Your phone is the most important wallet. Inside are your money, your we-pay, your Alipay, your food, your book, your bike, your bus, your train, your files, your classes, your baidu map, your tickets, and even your friends.

6. Don't write your name in red ink. The Chinese people love the red color and they believe it brings good luck except for writing our names. Some still believe that writing our names with red ink brings bad luck.

7. Learn the Chinese language (Mandarin) at least until HSK 3 and you'll find many sincere, funny, hospitable, and true friends there. As well as high payment of jobs and business opportunities.

8. Respect old people and older people. Old people are highly respected in China. That's why they get a monthly fee and free transportation from the government. When speaking with people older than you or who have higher education with you, actively listen to them and don't talk too much.

9. Exercise. The people that live in China are expected to do daily exercise and the stated facilitate it. You can do it freely in the park as there are many public sports tools there. 

10. Respect the rule. China is a socialist country. The citizen and foreigners are expected to respect the rule to maintain social harmony. You can start understanding it by buying this book “中华人民共和国宪法” or Constitution of the People's Republic of China. There, you'd be amazed that what you hear about China regarding the minority groups or religious activity in media, contradicts the constitution in China which is very protective regarding the minority groups and or their languages.

11. What about religious activity?. So, you heard it's hard to do it in China. Well, avoid doing it (praying) on the road. Cars will hit you while you concentrate on prayer 😄. In the constitution of the People's Republic of China, it is stated that people are free to believe or not to believe in any religion. About religious activity, you need to do it in a private space. So when you're in the park and you need to pray, do it in a place that does not disrupt public activity. You can do it in a place where no one is walking in front of you. If a lot of people pass by and your praying time is almost up, you can politely ask permission from the community. No one will arrest you just for praying, that's why there are many mosques in China. But if you use religion as a political tool for disrupting public order or for separatism, get ready to face strict legal sanctions.

12. Avoid smoking. You'll be lonely if smoking here as only a few people smoke. Besides, there are many signs of "no smoking" on almost every corner.

13. Don't drink alcohol in the dormitory or in the university. It's strictly forbidden.

14. Don't bring narcotics and consume them or you will be faced with the law. China especially Guangdong province has a traumatic history regarding opium and drugs. That's why the consequence for bringing narcotics even if it's small, is big here.

15. Be serious about doing the job. If the Japanese are famous for their hard-working, the Chinese are more hard-working and more serious. Many of them can work almost 24 hours a day. That's why they can build buildings and fast trains at a fast pace. They are famous for their fast and efficient work. Yet, they have tolerance towards foreigners. So long we're serious and have results, we don't need to work too many hours like them. 

Actually, there are still many but I think these are the most important things. Maybe I will add more in the future.