I think i have mentioned before about how I will try to take on other peoples cuture quickly as long as they dont cause a massive clash with my own. Over the past two months out here in Southeast Asia there has always been one type of tourist that I always notice not really paying attention to the culture around them. Yes I know it’s wrong of me to judge a whole nation of people on what my western standards are but as I said this is not a judgement, purely observation.
Chinese tourists are a sometimes odd bunch. Out of all the tourists I have seen it’s always Chinese that I find not observing what I would deem normal or respectful behaviour. For instance, today I went around the temple on the top of Doi Sutep, it’s your above average temple with the usual rules of applying. Use your voice in quiet tones, don’t take pictures of the monks without asking etc etc. I walked past these three incredibly noisy Chinese tourists who were talking to each other to take photos either oblivious or they didn’t care that people near them were silent in prayer and all around there were signs to say please be quiet. On top of that the minute they see a monk the cameras are out and go crazy.
Another example has happened over the past few nights in Chiang Mai I found a great little place to eat called Mr Kai’, the service is great, the food is cheap and super tasty. While sitting here here at Mr Kai’ again I find the Chinese tourists being odd. They come in and really demand service, they really hassle the servers who by my standards are incredibly patient and attentive. The restaurant is prepared to alter any dish to cater for a non-spicy or in the Chinese tourist case cut out any extra sugar added. I admit I sometimes have an issue with the amount of sugar that the Thai people put in food but the Chinese tourists like to really drill this point home by shouting several times “no sugar”. At one point they challenged the server about the sugar in a Phad Thai, the trouble with that is Phad Thai has Tamarind paste in it which is itself slightly sweet and sugary.
The thing is I will never get used to Chinese tourists. By western standards they have no concept of personal space (although this can be said about all asian countries I have visited so far) they are inherently loud, sheeplike (they just follow each other in huge groups) and not really having an individual thought or moment of silence among them. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t hate them, I just find their behaviour somewhat disturbing to me as a person. I wonder how they might feel if I as a tourist visited their places and just broke all their rules?