Sunday, February 15, 2009

What are you looking at?

Having spent more than a few months in China I can tell you I’m already past the romantic stage of our relationship and on to complaining about who’s going to do the dishes next, no I’m not talking about my dearest Yakun I’m talking about my romantic view of China as it was, but it’s not completely faded.

You've probably noticed that you’re being stared at, and you’re told it’s the curious nature of Chinese people, it shouldn't bother you… But it does, at least when they stare for longer than a period of five minutes while your trying to slurp down that hot bowl of 面条 (miàn tiáo) flour noodles.

Being an uncommon sight it doesn’t help that I also have a local girlfriend, which can promote angry stares from what I presume to be lonely men. I guess it can’t be helped but I want to make the situation more enjoyable for the both of us by poking fun at it, so today I learned a few words to do just that.

What are you looking at?


kàn nǐ gè tóu?

Why are you staring? Is there a flower on my face?


kàn shén me kàn, wǒ liǎn shàng yǒu huār á?

The English translation may sound cute, but saying this to a stranger is rude, depending on your tone of voice you could get away with this one but I wouldn’t 除非你有种 (chú fēi nǐ yǒu zhǒng ) unless you have the balls.

I finally settled on using this one-liner so I could get back to my meal with out feeling like a jerk.

Can I help you? -or- Do you need something?


yǒu shì ma?

saying this with a kind and humorous demeanor should get you back to a peaceful meal.

Just to cover my self, don't go around using the first two of these carelessly. There, I'm covered!

Bon Appetite.


  1. after a few months you've passed the romantic stage in China??? Just wait till you broach a year... then 2nd year...then 3rd year...then an actual full year...

  2. I've actually been here a few other times and in different areas, so I should say I've been here for roughly 6 months. I'm an optimist, at least I try to be. Is your experience bad Magnus?

  3. This is a good idea. Until now I've been fairly good at ignoring the stares. Another thing that often happens is that Chinese people will say "Hello" (in English) to you on the middle of the street. It seems that especially young men think they are funny or cool if the greet a foreigner like this. Do you just ignore that or do you have a good reply?

  4. I had a young guy say Hello to me when I was with my Chinese friend last month, I never reply or bother looking at them when its obvious they are trying to look cool in front of friends (in which case he was). Ignoring it is the best solution I think, because you are just passing by. Although, I did tell my friend at the time I was going to say "wo bu renshi ni" to the next person that blurted out "hello". He just laughed, knowing I wasn't serious.

  5. I prefer the 你是什么东西 "ni shi shenme dongxi" phrase when confronted with embarrassing moments. ;)