Simple, and I was taught that saying these three words is an important part of being polite and considerate.
A new expat friend recently asked me what the Chinese word is for please. It is pronounced “ching” (pinyin=qing), but I told her she won’t hear it very often, and there doesn’t seem to be an expectation to use it.
In an effort to improve my comprehension of spoken Mandarin I spend a lot of time eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. I never hear please.
I asked my Chinese teacher and she told me the time when it would be expected is when I want to ask someone a question. “Ching wan” translates to “please (may I) ask” …and then the actual question.
It felt weird to me also when I first arrived to not be using please as liberally as I would at home, or even in other countries. I always try to learn three phrases in the local language when I am traveling:
Please. Por favor. S’il vous plait.
Thanks. Gracias. Merci.
Where is the bathroom?
My friend seems determined to use the word now that she knows it, but like me, she may eventually give up after a while.
I am still trying to give up smiling because Chinese people don’t really do that either. #culturaldifferences
One of my struggles with living in the most populated city on the planet is my American belief that living here for everyone would be better if we showed each other more kindness, but I recognize that perhaps my version of it may not be the best for this culture.
(Images from Google image search)