Thursday, May 15, 2008

Man Man Chi - Eat Slowly

"Zhe li you ren zuo ma?" (Anyone sitting here?) - a fair Chinese lady asked while I was at the hawker's centre.

I nodded. Along came her friend, a more tanned Chinese lady. As they had so many bags, I offered them to put them on the chair beside mine. The fair lady straight away gave me the stuff and before long she went to order her food, leaving her friend to wait for her. There were no thanks or anything.

"Ma man chi ah..." (eat slowly) she said. She must have seen me 'gulping' down my food. It wasn't that I wanted to get out of the table quickly, but more because I was hungry (or was the food good?).

Her statement got me a lil surprised - no one has really mentioned that to me, apart from close relatives or friends. But here, a girl I offered a seat is telling that to me (of course in a nice way).

We started some conversation on where she came from. Because she was slightly tanned, I wasn't too sure of her roots - she could be Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian or from mainland China. Honestly, she looked local to me - maybe above average with her big bambi eyes like. But her earlier gesture made me wasn't too sure - I had a feeling she might just be from China.

True enough, she was from Shanghai. We continued the conversation on China-Singapore and her being here. She was really friendly sharing modestly about Shanghai. In between her friend came back with her food. Plonked her plate. And if I was gulping my food, she was one step more. She did join in the conversation a lil - actually just one sentence before the food was back to her main attention.

I left shortly after. But with some questions.. 2 people from the same country, yet so different. One so friendly and nice - similar to those that I've been mentioning on Ni Hao... while the other is the one many people see and have different thoughts - the swift, no-nonsense, I-come-first behaviour/ attitude.

Have you had any encounters with the mainland Chinese - either in China or back home? Or you yourself from mainland Chinese? What do you say? :)


  1. reg this topic, i think i've got a lot to say :)

    while studying overseas, the encounter with some chinese (from china) friends was "okay", coz most of those able to go overseas are rich. however, u could still feel their stinginess. sometimes when being generous to offer them something, they will then really take a lot than you expected. however, this is still fine. i just opened my eyes larger and realized the fact.

    while traveling to china last year and been there for weeks, a lot of times, a question popped up in my mind. i started to wonder if i'm really proud being a Chinese, coz from my point of view, the behaviour and attitude of the chinese i met in china, were really bad. sometimes u really can't understand why they could have done so - reckless, dirty, greedy, full of lies etc.

    now, when i'm here in msia, i read the weekly articles in Sin Chew, written by a Malaysian who is doing charity in China. this week's article is about -

    she offered temporarily shelter to her friend's 2 relatives. but, it ended up 5 ppl went to her house. ok, since they were finding job and accommodation, she offered them shelter and food (she's not rich also coz is doing charity only, not having full time job). when on their own, they ate very simple food, to save money. while the bill was on her, they ate like nobody's business. the worst thing was, when they left her house, they took away her food and things also, without permission, of course. this left her a very bad impression.

    in another article previously, she said she traveled with a chinese guy. everytime, after meal, the guy would put a cockroach into the bowl, then asked the boss come. then asked for free meal (or more) due to the "self-created" cockroach.

    last time i felt so eager to go china to take a look. now, if u ask me, i think i won't go, unless there is a very special purpose.

  2. hi haan

    thanks for giving some insights on yr personal experience & yr friend's. now that uve mentioned, i remember about some other experiences as well.

    there must be a reason why prcs are like that im sure. seems weird huh. its sad that many have a bad impression on them - so even the good ones like ive encountered cant change that perception.

    maybe time will change em :)

  3. It's "man man", the same words appear consecutively, which means "slowly". :)

  4. Hi, thanks for dropping by my site and I do like your story telling style!

    My experience with mainland Chinese is mainly at work (as I don't know how to speak Mandarin, striking a conversation with them on the street like you is close to impossible). And my experience is also two extreme. One (a man) is very layback and one (a woman who has her daughter with her in Singapore but her husband is still in China) is very ambitious, very driven.

    All I can say is ... "one rice feed many peoples".


  5. hehe.. i dun know how to describe, but i just know how to differentiate them (SG, MLY, INDO, CHN).. ;)

  6. I suppose life in China must be tough generally to cause people to behave so competitively. But the gesture of the lady who asked you to man-man-chi-ah was nice. I would too if my table-mate were to be someone who looks like Ekin Cheng. lol

    Have a great w/e, QC.

  7. regardless of what group of people, there is always the good n the bad... teacher, students, police, fireman, doctors, nurse, businessman, malaysians, singaporeans, americans, britons.. blah blah blah...

    if u bump into a nice n frenly good one, then u will be happy, n lucky...

    but if u bump into the opposite, then eerrr... a little bu shuang lor... heheheh

  8. every person have different characteristics. somehow people from different countries have a certain distinct behavior. due to environment and culture gua

  9. hi apple

    thanks for pointing it out :)

  10. hi wilfrid

    my mandarin is so-so, but i do try to speak to them in mandarin... till it gets too deep, then i speak with english... and some of them actually can :)

    agree with you - the many faces of chinese - tho i think the driven one is very apparent haha

  11. hi ben

    hey thats good. tho act sometimes i find hard to distinguish. in fact, i myself have been hard to be distinguished. ive been labelled from msia, spore, indon, thai, vietnam, hk, china, korea, japan. lol

  12. hi happysurfer

    totally agree, i too had that thot that their hard lifes make them to treat life like that.

    on ekin, haha, honoured i am :)

  13. heya teddy,

    yes, totally agree. thats why i wrote this post - to show the both sides. some ppl seem to just look at them negatively (esp if you read the comments on my post Ni Hao... or on some other bloggers posts who seem to dont quite like them).

  14. slowcatchupkuan

    ya agree. i read a book by a msian author on the diff chinese in asia - (titled A Diff Chinese). really gave an insight of the many diff ppl :)

  15. i thought u met with china aunties who sell pirated CD,DVD and other stuffs (some offer extra service too) at every where...haha

    their cd & DVD are damn cheap compare to those pirated sold in cd shops.

  16. hi amei79

    ive not seen those selling dvds/ cds - tho ive seen the other ones uve mentioned in red light district of geylang. :)

  17. i'm a malaysian chinese n proud of who i am.

    unfortunate to say, i had some very bad experience with the chinese from china. they looked down on us, saying that we are nothing but the "non-malays n non-chinese". trying to make the point that we are the unwanted or exile or something. i guess they have their reason to despise us. but never a reason for us to belittle ourselves just because others does. ;)

    by the way, would you be interested in exchanging links ?? :)

  18. wow levian

    that is the first time i heard ppl say that about us msians... i guess its similar to how some msians belittle the ABCs (american born chinese or for that matter from australia too).

    i guess one is to where he is born (eg. if we chinese are born in msia, we have a msian identity - mba?) hehe

  19. Man man chi means "Enjoy your meal!" or "Bon appetit!"...


Oh hey, thank you for commenting! :)