Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to drink in China?

A few days ago I told you about drunk China.
But I realize that I didn't explain this topic well.

How to drink in China?
This is a complex subject. I share my understanding of this topic.

Do Chinese people drink?
While I was working for a Chinese administration, you should often drink. During the new year time, about one month time, we were invited every evening at the restaurant. You had to drink most of the time strong Chinese rice alcoohol, bai-jiu. At lunch time we were sometimes invited and we had to drink.
I remember that I met some retired civil servants and most of them were addicted to alcoohol.
Once a high rank civil servant joked that in China the one who reach high positions are the one who can drink more...
But this was back a few years ago, in the Chinese administration and in central China. Thing change.

Today Chinese people drink less.
Young Chinese people prefer weaker alcoohols, wine, beer, rather than 40 degrees rice alcoohol.
They also drink less and less often. 40, 50 years old Chinese people are accustomed to drink at least one glass at each meal. Young people only drink on special occasion. According to social class Chinese people drink differently. Today workers, migrant workers drink more often.

Should you drink in China?
Can you refuse to drink in China?
Today in China you can avoid drinking. As a foreigner you can always refuse to drink.
Personnaly, I advise you to drink. In fact drinking makes it possible to socialize, create contacts, strengthen friendships.

With whom drink?
It is useless to drink with anyone.
Chinese people respect some hierarchy when they drink on official occasions. On a formal traditionnal setting you shouldn't drink with someone above you. Your superior can decide to drink with you but you can't.
As a foreigner these rules don't apply to me. You can drink with whoever you want.

Drinking a little or drinking to get drunk?
For Chinese people being drunk means being happy. According to Chinese hospitality, Chinese people are happy if you are happy and drunk. Before you should always drink to get drunk. But nowadays it is different.

It all depends on the occasions and the people you are with.
If you are invited for a wedding. If you are invited by a close friend you have not seen for a long time. Then why not drink a little more than reason.
But let's say you are invited to a formal occasion. It might not be a good to drink too much. Being drunk could make you lose your status and image. You should mind with whom you are.

Inciting someone to drink or drinking too much with a Chinese person can be a good way to socialize: once drunk you can make confidence. You hear "you are my best friend, I will do all for you. You embrace. But inciting someone to drink too much can hurt him. Even though he won't tell you.

How to drink in China?

Once more the way Chinese people drink reflect a change in mentalities.

Chinese people are accustomed to drink bottom up their glasses "kambai". Their aim is to get drunk. You should toast with each of the people at your table. And if there are several tables it is always good to walk to the other tables and toast with the other guests.
This custom is not good for foreign imported wine as Chinese people don't wait for the wine to decanter.

Today many Chinese people would rather drink slowly and enjoy their drink. Their goal is not as much to get drunk as to enjoy their time with friends. And road controls, health concern are important concerns.

Why drink in China?
Chinese people drink for multiple occasions: to have fun, socialize, get closer, deal with problems, forget...

Women drink in China?

Chinese women play an important role when it comes to drinking in China:
  • Women drink when they go out with men and men woo them. Men make women drink to get closer to them. In bars, customers play with hostess. The loser drinks
  • The girlfriend or the the wife will support her husband while drinking instead of him...
  • A girl can agree to drink if someone else "I drink if you drink..."
  • The wife or the girlfriend will drink less and drive
  • Chinese girls will drink less. It is easier for a woman to refuse drinking or drink one glass for 2, 3 glasses for a man. I think that many Chinese women want to stay lucide
  • a Chinese wife can let their husband drink or refuse that he drinks too much
  • ...

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