Online culture club for the motherland-deprived

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 January, 2004, 12:00am

Living in Hong Kong does not make it a given that the intricacies of Chinese culture will come easily.

Now, thanks to an English-language website created by the Ministry of Culture in Beijing, curious gweilos and motherland-deprived Chinese can go online and learn a thing or two.

Here are some of the site's must-know table tips:

Never stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl, lay them on your dish instead. It is deemed extremely impolite to make your dish look like a shrine bearing incense sticks, and is the equivalent of wishing death upon someone at the table.

Don't tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. It is a gesture used by beggars and by people in a restaurant when the service is slow. If you are a guest in someone's home, it insults the host.

If these hints prove too elementary, there's also a calendar of events and art festivals, as well as loads of history, language and travel tips. Check out