#14 CHINESE SOCIAL RITUALS
Chinese hospitality is truly one of the most welcoming in the world and its rules are very interesting. For example, let's talk about Chinese social dinner ritual: the guests must be taken to a very expensive restaurant which has to be very huge. Then, the host will order a lot of dishes of Chinese food to share. These social dinners are wasteful to the point of absurdity, all to make sure that the hosts have sufficiently provided for their guests. Quite often, about half the food is left sitting on the table.
Then, Chinese businessmen often invite their hosts to KTVs. Here, the drinking begins and an unspoken system falls into place. If the waitress is attentive, she immediately refills everyone's glass when it becomes empty. At the end of the night, just when you feel relief at seeing the last bottle emptied, the host orders five more, and then also orders them opened at once. There's no going back because you can't waste a full bottle...
But what is a KTV? Actually, this is the Chinese word for karaoke. KTVs have private rooms where you book in with your friends or colleagues for a few hours of fun.But you have to be careful and ask first what is the minimum spending, or you might have a very expensive bill you can't afford, and they probably won't be very kind if you try to negotiate prices...
KTVs are a norm in China, and if you go there you must experience it. This a place for having fun, singing, drinking, playing cubes. But we can't deny that there is a place of prostitution too; hosts can order girls as they can order some Vodka.
One night, we were twelve students partying in a Chinese nightclub, and a man obviously drunk went talk to us on the dance floor. He invited us in his private KTV, and as long as we were twelve we said yes, just to see how it was really. The private rom was very huge, with screens everywhere and jeroboam of Cognac on the table (which is very expensive in China). Our glasses were always full. The man who invited us was with three Chinese women who were obviously prostitutes.
We were surprised to play cubes just each other without never talk to the man who invited us - already too drunk and falling asleep in the sofa. We realized that actually he just didn't care of us, just wanted to invite us to allow us to have a drink in the KTV both of us. China is a long story of waste of money and bling-bling; Chinese don't care about you, they just want to be able to offer a lot of alcohol to everybody, which is the characteristic of 'successful businessman' here.
Then, the question is 'why all this drinking even with business partners?'. Actually, in China, drinking with business partners or would-be friends is a way of solidifying partnership. Finally, this experience could have been very weird but as we were 12, it was more funny than anything else!
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