• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 3:05pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 3:00am

Stereotypes of Chinese mainlanders go too far

Remember your mother advising you to behave decently when out in public?

A group of tourists who descended on the Shanghai Formula One circuit forgot this piece of advice and are now the target of ire in the blogosphere. After the race, they had to get their coach to stop so they could answer the call of nature. Perhaps they had been keeping pace with the drivers' laps in downing their beers. But they were in the middle of a highway - and someone photographed them in the act of relieving themselves. The photo has evoked a lot angry responses and police are now on the case.

The incident must have rankled with many mainlanders, conscious of complaints often made about them when they head overseas. Spitting, littering, smoking in prohibited areas, queue-jumping - the list of offences is fairly long.

Even here in Hong Kong, mainland tourists are often the butt of criticism for their perceived lack of finesse, though an infamous video of a tour guide berating a group of tourists for not shopping enough puts the boot on the other foot. In Singapore, too, another city where mainlanders should not feel out of place, chat rooms echo with criticisms similar to those heard in Hong Kong.

Many mainlanders feel they are discriminated against in foreign countries. In one recent case, some high-end hotels in the Maldives stopped the supply of hot water to rooms to prevent mainlanders from preparing instant noodles. Though why you would book into a five-star facility and stay up in your room eating instant noodles is a bit baffling.

A recent influx of mainland tourists to the Thai holiday town of Chiang Mai, on the back of the popular movie Lost in Thailand, has seen a spike in complaints there. But a look at some tends to support the idea that mainlanders are the victims of stereotyping. One reader writing on the Bangkok Post's website wanted mainlanders prevented from visiting Thailand during the water throwing festival. Her reason? They would go back home and start a similar festival of their own to lure visitors away from Thailand.

The mainland is often rightly accused of making copies without proper permission, but to think they would also manufacture fake festivals is going a tad too far.


Alex Lo is on leave


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This article is now closed to comments

A poorly written article.
Its clear the the benefits of Mainland tourism do not outweight the draw backs for those hosting them. This is in large part due to Nationalism in the mainland, which keeps the average citizen in an "uncultured" state and ignorant about common practices outside of China and what is and what is not acceptable.
I thought I am going to read a personal opinion fitting the billing ‘My Take’. No, it is just a collection of reports one will find in travelogue? The caption is poorly (misleadingly) stated. SCMP shouldn’t have filled this column with any body while Alex Lo is on leave. The choice should include waiting out till Mr. Lo shows up again. SCMP should treat its readers seriously with respect?
Discrimination against mainland tourist is mainly due to our shallowness and lack of understanding in mainland China. China is a diversify country and there are different level of development in different area. However, many Hong Kong people view China as a monolithic country. This is very unfair to our mainland compatriots. This is more like our problems than the problems of mainland tourist. Please remember, Hong Kong is only one of the cities in Southern China and there is nothing special about Hong Kong
There are already similar festivals in southwest china, bordering Thailand anyway. Remember, these people are ethnically the same.


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