After visiting Korea, I thought the Koreans were the most impatient people on earth. And then I visited China. Korea is like China-lite, or China is Korea-extreme!
In China, there is no concept of queuing. It’s a common occurence to be waiting in line and have people cut in. It happened to me many times. Here are a few examples:
- I was waiting in line to check in at the airport. When my turn was up, I bent down to grab my bag. During that brief 5 second period, a man stepped over me and cut in front.
- I was waiting in line for the washroom. I was extremely tired of all the butting in at that point. So while in line, I decided to put my hands on hip and stick out my elbows as a barrier. In the corner of my eye, I saw the woman behind me stop and wait. It worked!, I thought. But then I felt my elbows be pushed, and a woman cut in front. I looked back and saw that it was not a local behind me, but a tourist which is why she waited.
The Chinese will also not wait for others to get off buses, trains and subways. This means that there is total pandemonium anywhere there is public transportation. In Shanghai, I saw a man furiously trying to get into a subway car while a mob of peope were getting off. It was an exercise in futility as the mob was too strong. But he still kept trying to get on.
The funny thing about all this is that you would think that this behaviour is a symptom of a fast-paced society. But China is actually very slow-paced. I often saw people playing cards with their friends, people staring into space, people lying down having a cigarette. Actually, I’ve never seen so many people watching, observing, thinking, staring in my life. I think it’s a wonderful facet of Chinese culture and one of my favourite things to see.
(These are generalizations and does not apply to every person in China)