Here are some annoying questions Chinese people are tired of hearing from foreigners. Let's talk about that today.
1. (You are Chinese,) You must be good at…
(Nǐ huì gōngfu ba?)
You know kungfu, right?
(Nǐ huì dǎ pīngpāngqiú ma?)
You know how to play Ping-Pong, right?
(Nǐ shùxué hěn hǎo ba!)
You must be good at math.
No, no, not at all. Hollywood may show us a fake America, but it also inaccurately exoticizes other countries, especially China. Even in China, Kung-fu is a mysterious art. There are people who practice and master it, but they are few in the grand scheme of things. Please stop asking me to perform Kungfu and Fan Dancing!
2. Do you eat dog meat? Where can I find it if I want to try?
(Nǐ chī gǒuròu ma?)
Do you eat dog meat?
(Nǎli kěyǐ chī dào gǒuròu?)
Where can you eat dog meat?
It's true that some people eat dog meat or other foods you would consider strange, but it depends on where they live. Increasingly many people in China raise dogs as pets. Of course these such people wouldn't consider Fido for food. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you rarely find a standard restaurant selling dog meat anymore.
3. How do you learn English?
(Nǐ zěnme xué yīng yǔ de?)
How do you learn English?
(Nǐ wèishénme yào xué yīngyǔ?)
Why do you want to learn English?
Perhaps due to underdeveloped language education programs in the U.S., this kind of question is usually from my American friends. In most East Asian countries, English is a required class at school. The classes usually start from elementary school and continue on through college, with college students needing to pass a special English language test to graduate. So no matter whether I like it or not, I have to learn. It's just like you being required to learn math in school.
4. One-child-policy questions.
(Nǐ xiǎng yào xiōng dì jiě mèi ma?)
Do you want a brother or sister?
(Rúguǒ huái le shuāng bāo tāi, zhèngfǔ huì bàozǒu yī gè ma?)
If you have twins, will the government take one of them?
I understand the now-defunct "One Child Policy" seems weird to outsiders. Everyone is curious about it; I get it, but it's really annoying to answer these questions again and again. Most of us are used to one child families. As a policy, of course, some people are against it and some for it, but it's not weird or important in our everyday lives. And if you have twins, then you have them. No one will take one away. We're not barbarians! (As a side note, the policy was recently amended. Now we can have two children.)
Thinking about these top things Chinese people are tired of hearing from our foreign friends, it's clear to me that the most important thing is getting rid of stereotypes. Americans don't only eat hamburgers, and not all Chinese people eat dog meat. We are all citizens of the same planet!