Essays on the Chinese – 5

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Chinese English.

Because most of us learn Chinese turned out to be ineffective We communicate with our guests in English. And it is much more difficult for the Chinese to learn it than for us. Their level is very different and sometimes because of this there are all sorts of misunderstandings. We had such a girl from HR – Chunlin. And several times we had the same jambs. I explained to her in English for a long time and in detail what needs to be done. She nodded, walked away and did exactly the opposite. I was furious and thought that this was some kind of sophisticated Chinese set-up. And then I realized that she simply did not understand, but was afraid to say so. Her English was then almost at zero. But somehow you have to live, and I began to check it.

– I got it?

– Yes.

Now repeat in your own words.

Sometimes the process converged in a few iterations, but things have gotten better since then. And when she also pulled up English, we generally lived in perfect harmony. She is a good girl in general. When I returned from us to China, I almost cried.

In general, the knowledge of English among the Chinese is highly dependent on age. Many guys of my generation who worked in Western offices – Intel, IBM, ARM speak very well. But young people practically do not speak Basurman. The reason for this is political – from some point on, the CCP has taken a course to preserve its own language and limit the spread of English. Yes, and economic ties weakened over time. I remember, it seems that in 2014 I somehow managed to get to the Russian-Chinese event with the participation of Dimon (D.A. Medvedev) and Xi Jinping. So Charman C started his speech like this.

Guys, don’t learn English. It’s a weedy language. Learn better Chinese. Well, or through translators we will communicate.

And he invited Chinese first-year students of the foreign language in Moscow as translators. Their Russian was such that it seemed to me that I understood Xi’s original speech in Chinese better than the translation. I even wanted to stand up and say

– Dear Chairman C. I have two Chinese friends from Cherkizon – Andrei and Nikolai. They speak Russian better than me. Let’s call them, why torture girls?😁

But the Chinese policy of restricting English is consistent and merciless. Each successive generation speaks worse than the previous one. And meeting an English-speaking Chinese on the street of the middle empire is even more difficult than meeting an English-speaking Russian in the outback…

Paroles, paroles…

From the previous three essays, you know what features of communication with our eastern neighbors are brought about by the construction of the Chinese language and the imperfection of knowledge of English. So – these difficulties are far from exhausted 😊 Probably, the style of communication plays an equally important role. That’s what we’ll talk about today.
To begin with, the words of the Chinese are worth little. But this, by the way, is not typical Chinese, but rather typical of the entire east. As I like to say “if the Chinese said ok, it only means that the Chinese said ok. And in no case should it be taken as yes. ” Otherwise, this situation usually occurs.

– You promised yesterday – let’s do it.

– I didn’t promise anything.

– But you said…

And here you can get three answers with equal probability.

1. It was NOT me.

2. I did NOT say this.

3. I did NOT say that.

Here is my explanation. The concept of “what kind of bazaar should be answered” is typical of the Western mentality with its inflated ego. Chinese ego 100 times smallerand therefore it does not apply to them. For the same reason, it is practically useless to catch the Chinese on “weak?”. 😁 They just don’t understand what’s the point…

So the first thing people learn in a Chinese office is to get written approval. It doesn’t matter on paper, in Outlook or messenger. If a Chinese person signs something, it radically changes the matter. For them, a written contract is holy. To break a written contract is to lose face. Therefore, the Chinese will break into a cake to fulfill it. Unlike the same Indians, where a written agreement guarantees little. And in this regard, it is easier to work with the Chinese. In general, their concept of honor is not yet completely transparent to me. I can only say two things with certainty. 1. They are. 2. They are not like ours. Well, I’ll leave them until “Essays on the Chinese 2.0” 😊

Another interesting feature is the absence of a hard “no” in communication. And it’s all very confusing. Suppose there is some kind of problem that you do not know how to solve and turn to someone for help. Our person will either help or say, “Sorry, dear. I’m not that guy – in my heart I have no idea what to do here. Go to Kolyan, maybe he knows how to help. But for the Chinese, to say “I am the wrong guy” means losing face. And he will most likely promise you full support and ask you to give him some time. And then silence will come … I adapted to this situation in this way. In such cases, I arrange for our Eastern friends to “cross-examine”. First I go to X and enlist his “unconditional support”. Then I go to Y and do the same. And I thank him in this way.

– Thank you, dear (the Chinese are very fond of this word). I already lost my feet, did not know what to do. Hope we break it down now. By the way, X also promised to help me with this problem.

– X? Ha ha ha. Did you promise to help? Ha ha ha. Yes, he is not involved in this topic at all. 😁

As you may have guessed, then I go to X with the same feet and “check” Y 😁. Usually, however, the scheme is much more complicated – Z, P, Q, etc. appear in it.

In general, Chinese society is a HUGE amount of communication. Probably an order of magnitude more than ours. Everyone communicates with everyone. Information travels at the speed of light, and sometimes even a little faster. If you said something to one Chinese, you can be sure that everyone will know it. This is what the work is based on. Chinese intelligence. Yes, and counterintelligence too.😁

But the most interesting thing is that the Chinese think that everything is arranged in exactly the same way with us. And sometimes because of this, all sorts of incidents arise. Suppose in a conversation with a Chinese some information that is new to me pops up.

– ???

So I told you yesterday.

– No. You didn’t tell me that.

– Nu means told Vova. Why didn’t he share it with you?

This is how we live

Hospitality Paradox

Now you already know enough about our eastern neighbors to understand the main difficulties of adapting to a Chinese company. Culture here does not suffer from inclusiveness (in our understanding of the matter) from the word at all. If you come to an American company, then at first you are overwhelmed with trainings, loaded into the context, dragged to all kinds of team building. The main message is “that’s it, brother, now you are with us. You are part of the team.” And here – you get a revolver, a party card, accounts in social networks and silence … The first training happened two months later.

At the same time, I am absolutely sure that they are watching us. They are interested in how a person behaves in an unusual situation and (often happens) in an information vacuum. And they draw their own conclusions. New people are perceived cautiously and not immediately. The main message of Chinese society “many people, little food” works here too. Here he looks at you and thinks “isn’t this guy here to gobble up my food?”. And they also watch how the newcomer accepts the “rules of the game.” Is he ready to join in the eternal competition of all with all for everything?

So for some time, people who come to Huawei from Western offices are uncomfortable. It is easier for the young and those who have not lost their ambitions. It is more difficult for older people and those who have already “proved everything in this life”. It is difficult to force yourself to convince someone that you are worth something. It’s the natural fighters or the curious ones like me that survive. Although I’m not sure that my curiosity alone would be enough. However, there was one guy from China (let’s call him H) who took me under guardianship when it was the most difficult. And I am grateful to him for this. But if there is no one to “shoulder” there are reverse situations. I saw several people who have formed a “mutual rejection” with the office. And in one such case, I went to the Chinese and said.

– He is a good guy. I have known him for a long time. Is there nothing that can be done?

“Probably just not our man,” the Chinese threw up their hands. These experiments are not cheap (especially given the reputational costs), but they are ready to go for them. But I still have “accounting does not converge” 😔 Probably, I don’t fully understand some things here, but I can tell when there is a “thaw” in the relationship. Then, when they begin to understand “that with this guy, it’s better than without him.” The path to this can be both long and difficult. But there is an option that helps to reduce it.

You need to go to China and communicate with them live. There you will understand much faster what’s what. The Chinese coming to Russia are trying to adapt, and this makes it more difficult to understand than it makes it easier. Yes, and we perceive them differently, being in the context familiar to us. And there they are at home, in their native element, and all the features are manifested much more clearly. In addition, the Chinese are very hospitable. They love to treat guests and they themselves are by no means fools to eat / drink. Food is usually ordered so much that it is impossible to eat it. Somewhere I heard an explanation that if you swept everything, then you might have left hungry. And in this way you can offend the owner of the establishment. They also like to look into the eyes and ask, “Do you know what it is made of?”. I usually answer that my curiosity does not extend that far. What I advise you – with the received “knowledge” the stomach simply can not cope 😁

The path of adaptation is by no means strewn with roses. But fortunately, most of it still passes. And the more you observe the Chinese in their homeland, the faster.

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