Umbrella Behavior in Shanghai

Changing Behavior in Shanghai

It is raining day today and it was also raining a couple of nights before, when I went out to get some cigarettes at the Kedi supermarket on the corner.

Armed with my umbrella I saw another foreigner approaching me, and we friendly nodded to each other. Passing each other our umbrellas lightly touched and almost at the same time we said, “I’m sorry”, “I’m sorry”. Each of us went his own way and I felt like being back in Europe.

The question is, would I have said ’sorry’ if I had this encounter with a Chinese? Probably not, as I would have justified my banging into his/her umbrella (slightly tilting my umbrella to the side he/she is passing me) being part of my self defense in order to keep my eyesight.

Strange how perceptions and automatism’s change.

Do you say sorry?

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One Response to “Umbrella Behavior in Shanghai”

  1. Bill
    November 26th, 2006 08:22

    Interesting thought… I’ve not had this experience with an umbrella, but rather actually running into people which happens all the time. I find it quite common that chinese people really don’t watch where they are walking even on busy streets and often collide into others. At first I would apologize but after a while I noticed that the Chinese never apologize for small collisions and I’ve stopped doing so myself. Though I’m sure that if I happen to bump into another foreigner in the future I’ll be quick to say “sorry”! Interesting.

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