‘I want you to list 20 topics that you gonna cover in your proposed project.’
‘Let’s make it 10.’
My classmate Cass Chan (Cantonese) was doing a presentation today, the above dialog happened between her and our course leader.
It doesn’t really have to be about her, but to me, the above dialog is typical Cantonese – they always want to bargain with you.
Thanks to the media in Hong Kong and also Cantonese media abroad, they well presented a ‘can’t live without a bargain’ Chinese image to the world…which is true.
But that’s not all about Chinese, the bargaining Cantonese is just part of it.
Yet we can expand on this, how did Cantonese is more well-known than other Chinese from other parts of China?
One thing is, Hong Kong was once British colony and the culture in Hong Kong (which is Cantonese culture) get to communicate to Western society, and thus got the word ‘Cantonese’ as well.
The second reason is very similar, some Cantonese living in Hong Kong immigrated to different parts of the world making most of the perception for Chinese in other countries from them.
And also, with the British education, Hong Kong people are more willing and capable (due to wide spoken English in the region) to share their culture with other people.
Even though making the whole China a colony or put loads of Mandarin Chinese abroad is not possible, but we can learn from what Cantonese did – be open-minded when sharing opinions and speak up. It is a cultural thing that Chinese in general is not an outspoken kind of culture, however, there’s no harm of trying.
The Chinese state media could try to be less pretentious and just tell more to people about the varieties in China. We’ve got a lot of interesting things happening in China, really.