Archive for June, 2008, “Stork”

June 29, 2008

Duo Shao Qian

June 29, 2008

Colin Goh, on the Chinese practice of asking “duo shao qian” in place of “how are you” in greeting people:

“It’s crazy,” said our friend. “Just the other day, I saw a guy walking his dog, when a Chinese woman stopped him, pointed to the dog and asked, “duo shao qian?”, because she wanted to buy a similar breed for her kid.”

No less than the New York Times corroborated our experiences, in an article last week about the city’s growing number of mainland Chinese tourists. According to Jane Soong, a guide who leads tours of Manhattan in Mandarin, Chinese tourists are often curious about the values of the real estate they see. Said Ms Soong, “They’ll ask, ‘How much would that building cost?’ And when I give them an estimate, sometimes they say, ‘That’s not so expensive.’ ”

Some of our American friends think this inquisitiveness about monetary value is intrusive and gauche, but I’m more ambivalent. To me, it’s less offensive than those Singaporeans we occasionally meet at gatherings in New York, who invariably ask, “So back home, what district you live in?” or “what secondary school you went to?” Because when the Chinese ask “duo shao qian?”, it’s just gathering information to help them make a financial decision, and not to assess where you are in the social hierarchy.

How we greet people can say a lot about who we are, but then, so can how we choose to interpret it. Being asked ‘how much’ all the time seems a bit too much, but when you think about it, it’s much ado about nothing.

Chinese extras

June 7, 2008

It must be fashionable to have ethnic Chinese in your movies these days.  First it was the casting call for Asian extras with military backgrounds in Transformers 2,  and now even Woody Allen is in the act:

Woody Allen Feature Film Seeks older chinese extras (nyc)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-05-18, 9:59PM EDT

Seeking chinese extras for a scene in the movie shooting the week of May 19th in NYC. Seeking chinese men and women 40- 75 years old. Movie is union picture but pay is union wage. Must have social security number, picture ID and proof of us citizenship or green card. Must not have already worked on the movie.

Please send photo, age, and daytime phone number.