6 offensive things in Asia discovered on my own

I was travelling in Asia few years for work and I was sometimes acting like a white ignorant. I have done mistakes that cost me money and business. If you travel to Asia be different than I was, be very open minded as we see same thing with opposite backgrounds of education culture religion and traditions. Be very understanding, be humble, quit prejudges.

I have discovered some things that were very very offensive for them and some for me:

  1. in China don’t you ever make them “lose face” in business or other situation involving hierarchy either in family or institutions. Be polite even if they have done a mistake, not superior or judgmental, not even condescending.  It is of the highest importance in any kind of relation to maintain their reputation.
  2. But there is also a thing that makes business hard, they can’t say NO, so you can’t be sure if they understand or not. It happened to me in China and in India.
  3. in Thailand it is offensive to  mock on their smiling attitude when confronting with them. I was explained by one of our Thai employees that they are taught to smile especially in this situation to lower the tension and find an agreement within harmony. Personally I like it a lot, but first I was an ignorant.
  4. for me was very offensive the Indian cast system, that I was still observing when auditing factories. Nothing to make remarks about but still disturbing.
  5. also in China I found very disturbing the fact that they spit and they burp. I know it is a state policy to learn them not to.
  6.  i was also instructed that in Buddhist countries not to touch the head as it is the most spiritual part of the body. Well I wasn’t in any situation of this kind.

But the most bizarre was that chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. Anyway just be respectful, polite and if you have a doubt simply ask. They are pleased to see you care.




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