Tag Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Gift giving in China

Who doesn’t love to receive gifts? On the other hand, there are many people who love to give gifts, taking great pleasure of seeing the joy and appreciation in the faces of others as they start to open their presents…

Yet, in China, the giving of gifts is quite different from what you may be used to—and, whilst it’s important to make sure you give an appropriate gift, it’s perhaps more important to make sure don’t give anything likely to cause offence or, particularly in seriously superstitious China, perceived bad luck!

So, what sort of gifts should you give?

Well, money is always most welcome—more often than not placed in a red envelope, or hóng bāo and given to the recipient with both hands (this is the appropriate etiquette for all gift giving, by the way). Giving money for birthdays is mainly for elders and children and you may need advice on the suitable amounts to give.

 Then there is fresh fruit or special, quality foods—both ideally imported or, perhaps, local snacks or food items representative of your home country—nicely displayed in a fruit basket or well packaged and visually appealing. Imported wines and bottles of whiskey or brandy will always find favour with older recipients.

Certain items of practical clothing are always welcome and, especially for the younger generation, both Chinese girls and young men, if a brand name from overseas, all the better! However, be careful with overly bright colours for the older generation.

Some may appreciate receiving health supplements such as ginseng, herbal teas or, maybe, a well-known brand of vitamins.

Of course this list is not exhaustive and, as you get to better know the people you are giving to, you may be able to personalise the giving to further meet their expectations.

Having said this, in China, sometimes the gift being received has ominous connotations and there are some gifts which should be avoided at all costs, as name of items shares a similar pronunciation to something undesirable or has negative cultural symbolism.
Such gifts to avoid include: gifts of money which include the number four (such as 40 or 400) as the pronunciation of four sounds similar to the word for death, sǐ. Hats or, more particularly, green hats, should also be avoided as the phrase to wear a green hat is used to imply that a man’s spouse is cheating on him. In a similar vein, the word for umbrella sounds like the word to separate so giving an umbrella symbolises that the relationship between you and the recipient may soon dissolve.

Another one: due to the sound connection between the phrase to give a clock and activities related to death, as you might expect, giving a clock is in bad taste—but also is giving chrysanthemums as they’re often used for funerals.
Finally, shoes: avoid buying shoes for your Chinese girlfriend as the connotation is that she may use them to walk or run away from you, thereby ending your relationship.

However, don’t worry unduly, gift giving in China not as complicated as it seems—plus, you can always ask one of your Chinese friends to help you out with your planned selection before you buy something!



Keith is the author of the website Love Asian women and has lived in Asia for over 30 years. He is adept at sharing tips about meeting, keeping relationships with and dating Asian women in order to help you find your ideal Asian bride!

How are your experiences with gift giving in other countries or especially in China?


Guest Post: Tiger Mom & Eagle Dad

This is a guest blog post from TutorMandarin – an online Mandarin tutor service that teaches students how to speak Chinese using an innovative mobile app and PC Software.


“Tiger Mom” and “Eagle Dad” are now both commonly recognized terms by Western and Eastern parents alike. These terms refer to a strict type of parent that are prevalent in both the Chinese culture as well as other Asian cultures. Today, we’ll dive a bit deeper into where these terms come from, what they mean, and what they say about parenting.

What is a Tiger Mom?

“Tiger Mom” came into widespread use after the Yale law professor Amy Chua published her book – Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011). Amy Chua is a second generation immigrant and was raised in a traditional Chinese way. Her book reflects on how traditional Chinese parenting affected her and how she applies a similar strategy her kids upbringing. Her book shows her attempts to use traditional Chinese parenting techniques with a modern Chinese daughter who frequently rebels – forcing her to decide whether to double down on her traditional parenting style or adjust. The book is a memoir of her transformation of being a mother of two daughters while bringing them up in the traditional strict parenting way.


How Strict is a Tiger Mom?

Amy Chua revealed in the book that she never allowed her kids to have a playdate, sleepover, watch TV, participate in a school play, or choose their own extra-curricular activities. The kids were also not allowed to “get any grade less than an A” or “not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama.” On the weekends, they were made to take piano and violin lessons, in which they had to reach certain goals or else they didn’t go a break or even dinner. Chua claims these strict policies are the reason that her children became so successful later on in school and music studies. She argues that this type of parenting is common in Asian families and acceptable.

What is an Eagle Dad?

In 2012, a video of a 4-year-old Chinese boy shivering in the snow with only his underpants went viral. His father was filmed while his boy trembled and begged for his dad to hug him. Instead of doing so, the dad made the boy lay on the cold, freezing snow first before he actually held him. The dad, Li Sheng is the former president of a bedding company from Nanjing, was given the nickname “Eagle Dad.” He didn’t just want his son to succeed, he wanted him to soar. “Like an eagle, I push my child to the limit so he can learn how to fly.


How strict is too strict a dad?

Duoduo, the shivering boy, who was born several months premature. The doctor announced that he might suffer from cerebral palsy. Due to this, his dad made him undergo extreme physical and mental endurance to build up his strength. At age 5, he became the youngest person ever to fly a light airplane, covering a distance of 30 km. At age 6, he completed a 5.5km marathon with his father wearing only a red underwear as well. Now age 8, Duoduo has signed up for sales management courses at Nanjing University. Duoduo is home schooled by a private teacher along with his Eagle Dad. Waking up at 6:30 every morning covering studies such as art, math, music, business and finance, languages, technology, 3D printing, robotics, and even military exercise training. He’s even going to participate in a world-class robotic programming competition in the UK soon.

Does strict parenting work?

People might argue that strict parenting is against nature. Children should have the right to have a happy childhood without too much pressure. However, others might argue that making certain rules since they are young is an effective way to train them for the future. We are going to break down into two parts, upside and downside.

The Advantages of Strictness

Like the movie Whiplash, as the professor once said “I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity.” Some believe that by pushing people to their limits, parents must be strict. Amy Chua truly believes that strict parenting is necessary for her children’s success. Eagle Dad believes that Duoduo will thank him in the future for what he did for him. At the heart of it, they harbor a belief that children are too young to know what is good for them and what is not. By following their past experience of success, strict parenting seems like a perfect model to follow. However, is that the only path to success?

The Disadvantages of Strictness

Children brought up through strict parenting often turn out either extremely obedient or wildly rebellious. Also, it is noted that children of Tiger Moms and Eagle Dads are so afraid of upsetting them, they are prone doing whatever it takes to avoid punishment or trouble. This includes lying, concealing their feelings, and more. Also, a lifetime of the following order hampers both their critical thinking and creativity.


To be strict or not to be strict?

It is the number-one question among all parents. Children’s personalities and abilities vary and change over time. Parents can start from either authoritarian or permissive method, step by step observing how your kids adapt to the style. Once you’ve made the decision to parent in a certain way, make every effort to stick with it. Whether you get advice from the people around you or follow the academic research, you will have to decide what is going to work best for you, your family, your child, and the society in which you live.


What do You think about Tiger Moms and Eagle Dads?








Guest Post: The Great Story Behind West Lake China

Remember when I wrote that we visited during our city tour also the West Lake in Hangzhou? Today I have a guest post by Karenr Robinson giving a wonderful description of that area. Where I could only write about what I saw myself during that short rainy stop at the lake Karenr provides with this article a summary on what you can see there and how to experience it the best way.


China is a beautiful country that is blessed with plenty of tourist attractions. China have a lot of magnificent attractions to visit for the tourists including antique sites and relics, grand imperial palaces, stunning water towns, marvelous natural wonders, fabulous cultural heritage, and unique folk customs. West Lake is one of the most favored tourist attractions in China amid visitors and a plenty of tourists from around the world used to visit the lake every year.

Heaven on Earth

West Lake is a freshwater lake situated in Hangzhou, China. The lake is divided into five parts by three causeways. The visitors can observe temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. West Lake has persuaded many poets and painters right through Chinese history for its natural splendor and historic leftovers.  The green leaves and flower blossoms make the lake a heaven on earth.

UNESCO World Heritage Site                  

West Lake was labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. The Lake has influenced Chinese garden designers and also many other designers in other countries. West Lake is said to be the only lake heritage site in China. UNESCO mentioned that the lake was able to persuade garden design in the rest of China and some other countries including Japan and Korea over the centuries. The lake in fact reveals and romanticizes union between humans and nature.

Natural Scenery and Human Culture

West Lake is the most gorgeous attraction in Hangzhou and the lake itself is full of attractions. The lake is enclosed by hills on three sides. Numerous Chinese poets and artists have praised the lake for its perfection and amalgamation of spectacular natural scenery and human culture. Su Shi who is a prolific poet in the Song Dynasty compared West Lake to Xi Zi, the most gorgeous woman in ancient China.


Full of Attractions

West Lake is a man-made lake situated at the heart of the city alive with plenty of attractions Including gardens, pavilions, causeways, pagodas, temples, artificial islands and bridges. The entire lake is a fantastic place to spend time with your family, lover, and friends. Numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands seen within the lake make it an exemplary destination.

History & Facts

West Lake has a long history to tell and the original West Lake created more than 2000 years ago. It was formed with the sedimentation of the Qiantang River. It is considered that the lake was almost double compared to its present size during Tang Dynasty (618-907). The lake dried up around the middle of the Tang Dynasty by reason of negligence and poor management of the lake. Hence, a fresh dyke and dam structure was put up, causeways were made and the lake comprehensively developed.

The lake has a surface area of more or less 6 square kilometers. The length of the West Lake is approximately 15 kilometers. The par water profundity is just about 0.8 meters. The lake has the ability to hold up to 14,290,000 cubic meters of water. West Lake has its own dry land for the maintenance and repair of boats.

The West Lake has been a main tourist attraction in China for the past many years. With the incessant development, sharp maintenance and the formation of islands have guided the lake to become a most beautiful tourist attraction in China. The Three Pools Mirroring the Moon is the biggest island of the lake. Mid-Lake Pavilion is the oldest island of the West Lake. The lake is delimited on three sides by mountains and hills.

Best Seasons

The lake is best to visit during rainy days, sunny days, spring time or winter time. The main reason is that West Lake is always good-looking but in dissimilar forms. Each season has its own splendor but March to May used to experience huge rush in West Lake and it can be called as the best season to visit West Lake.

How to Explore the Complete Area of West Lake

The scenic West Lake has many little attractions spreading around the lake. You will require one or more days to see its complete attractions.


Walking around the lake will be a delightful experience for the travelers. Walking around the lake’s two causeways such as the Yang and the Su cause ways present you amazing views.

Riding a Bike                                                                                                                                            

The finest means to travel the whole West Lake is riding a bike. Bike riding is fast than walking, and you will be able to cover the whole attraction within few hours. Another way travel on the lake is by boat.

Cruise Boat

Boat Cruise on West Lake will be a mesmerizing experience for the travelers and it offers you the chance to enjoy the lake’s stunning scenery. Gaily painted pleasure boats, motor-driven boats, and rowing boats are available here. Boat Cruise allows the tourists to travel the islets on West Lake including Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon.

Sightseeing Car

The tourists can find cars here for sightseeing and it is suitable for people to explore the lake in a short time. You can find a guide along with the car. The driver can also become your guide and will introduce you the sceneries.


Author Bio:

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