40 Comics That I Made To Show The Differences And Similarities Between Chinese And Western Cultures

My name is Siyu and I’m the creator of Tiny Eyes Comics, a webcomic series that explores and shares Chinese culture through the details of everyday life. 

A year ago, I published a collection of my comics on the differences between Chinese and Western culture (check it out). During the past year, besides cultural differences, I also realized the cultural connections and universal values we all share as people across cultures. 

For this post, I put together a selection of my latest comics I thought you might enjoy. You can find more content on my social media pages listed below.

#1

I went to a nice restaurant with my parents in Lyon. They were really curious to try something local but they didn’t understand a thing on the menu. “Why don’t they have pictures?” They asked. In China, lots of menus have photos that illustrate the dishes, so even if you don’t understand Chinese, you can still order by pointing at the picture that makes you hungry.

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#2

What are you talking about when you say something is big or small? “A big house” in the U.K.may not mean the same thing as in the U.S.; “Not many people” in China may not mean the same thing as in Norway; “Too cold” in France may not mean the same thing as in Russia. It’s the reference point you are talking about.

#3

I recently realized that I tend to change the portion size of different meals as I travel from one country to another. This is all personal habits, and I still don’t know which way is the best for my health. In France, breakfast is usually small and sweet. A croissant with a coffee will do. I know many people who skip breakfast. For lunch, grab a sandwich or a salad,…

I recently realized that I tend to change the portion size of different meals as I travel from one country to another. This is all personal habits, and I still don’t know which way is the best for my health. In France, breakfast is usually small and sweet. A croissant with a coffee will do. I know many people who skip breakfast. For lunch, grab a sandwich or a salad, it’s richer but still quite light. I eat the most at dinner because dinner time is late in France and I often feel that I haven’t had enough from the previous meals. In China, there’s a belief that one should “eat well for breakfast, eat plenty for lunch, and eat light for dinner.” (早吃好,午吃饱,晚吃少)There’s a lot of choices for breakfast and it’s believed to be the most important meal of the day. Lunch is the time when I can eat as much as I wish, and my family like to have a light dinner, which is supposed to be good for digestion. In the U.S, when I cook for myself, I can still follow my normal routines as in China, but if I go out to eat or order stuff, I end up eating too much for every meal. I guess it’s mainly to do with the huge serving size, and I don’t like wasting food.

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#4

Eating Chinese noodles while watching Netflix after work has become one of my routines in Paris. I feel lucky that I’m living in this world where cultures are no longer restrained to their physical land. If you are living in a big city, chances are that you can also choose live pieces of different cultures: eating sushi, watching a French movie, listening to an African band, using a product made…

Eating Chinese noodles while watching Netflix after work has become one of my routines in Paris. I feel lucky that I’m living in this world where cultures are no longer restrained to their physical land. If you are living in a big city, chances are that you can also choose live pieces of different cultures: eating sushi, watching a French movie, listening to an African band, using a product made in Germany, or hang out with someone from the opposite side of the world. More and more of us no longer live a singular culture, instead, our lives begin to weave into each other, creating a richer texture.

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#5

When I studied in the US, I discovered the notion of “constructive criticism “, which means staying positive by saying what you like about something first, and then how it’s possible to be improved. In this way everyone’s happy and things can be changed. French generally have a more direct and “harsher” approach. They are comfortable with confrontation, and debate is expected. I often heard people (between friends, family, colleagues…

When I studied in the US, I discovered the notion of “constructive criticism “, which means staying positive by saying what you like about something first, and then how it’s possible to be improved. In this way everyone’s happy and things can be changed. French generally have a more direct and “harsher” approach. They are comfortable with confrontation, and debate is expected. I often heard people (between friends, family, colleagues etc.) disagree loudly with each other. Unlike the American’s “Yes, and…”, French tend to say “No, because…”. It can be scary in the beginning for someone who’s not from the culture, but once you understand it’s based on trust and respect you’ll be comfortable to participate. Chinese usually avoid confrontation, because relationships (guanxi) is so important that we are afraid that disagreement will make the other person unhappy and harm the relationship. Instead, we use silence or doubt to show disagreement. Sometimes, even people say that they agree, they don’t necessarily mean it. It could just be a way to keep harmony.

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#6

Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She is gradually losing her memory, submerging herself in her own world. Yesterday I went to see her. She didn’t recognize me, so I said my name repeatedly in desperation. Then suddenly, she understood something. “I like you,” she said. She has never said anything like that to me before. Grandma has always been very reserved with expressing her emotions even though she loves…

Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She is gradually losing her memory, submerging herself in her own world. Yesterday I went to see her. She didn’t recognize me, so I said my name repeatedly in desperation. Then suddenly, she understood something. “I like you,” she said. She has never said anything like that to me before. Grandma has always been very reserved with expressing her emotions even though she loves deeply all her children and grandchildren. The disease has changed her personality. It was as if she could finally express herself freely like a child. Maybe she didn’t actually recognize me, but at least she likes me, and that’s enough. I’d love to be her friend, and I hope our friendship lasts forever.

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#7

“Still or sparkling water?” In a French restaurant, the waiter/waitress always asks this question before the meal. In the US, the default is usually still water with ice. I always wondered how people could survive with ice water in winter since it’s already so cold outside. In China, people drink hot water a lot, which is strange for lots of non-Chinese. For one thing, tap water is undrinkable, for another,…

“Still or sparkling water?” In a French restaurant, the waiter/waitress always asks this question before the meal. In the US, the default is usually still water with ice. I always wondered how people could survive with ice water in winter since it’s already so cold outside. In China, people drink hot water a lot, which is strange for lots of non-Chinese. For one thing, tap water is undrinkable, for another, people have the habit of drinking hot water and believe that it’s good for health. (I was told that drinking ice water will cause stomachache problems.)

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#8

If you have ever learned a foreign language, you’d have experienced the stage of not being able to fully understand others or express yourself, like a 3 years old child in frustration. I notice that when people switch between their native language and a foreign language they don’t master, it seems that their personalities change as well. When you are not fluent in the language, you appear to be less…

If you have ever learned a foreign language, you’d have experienced the stage of not being able to fully understand others or express yourself, like a 3 years old child in frustration. I notice that when people switch between their native language and a foreign language they don’t master, it seems that their personalities change as well. When you are not fluent in the language, you appear to be less competent, and when you spake your native language, confidence shows through. People tend to associate your personality and with the way you speak. I sound quite “blunt” when I speak French because I don’t know all the nuances and connotation of the words. As a result, I can’t choose the right word in the right context. For immigrants, language is a very important part of integration in terms of access to information, communication, and self-expression. In a way, language is social power.

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#9

Disclaimer: What you see here is fictional and it only exists in my head. Please refer to real maps for travel purposes. Growing up in Beijing, I’m used to streets that lay out as an orthogonal grid in line with the four directions. Actually, lots of Beijingers use North, South, East and West to describe directions. In Paris, streets are not paralleled and it feels more like a radial web…

Disclaimer: What you see here is fictional and it only exists in my head. Please refer to real maps for travel purposes. Growing up in Beijing, I’m used to streets that lay out as an orthogonal grid in line with the four directions. Actually, lots of Beijingers use North, South, East and West to describe directions. In Paris, streets are not paralleled and it feels more like a radial web of triangles. I get lost from time to time, but there’s some general reference from here and there. Last time I when to Venice, I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without my google map (even Google map was confused in some areas). It was like tangled threads without a clue. What is your city like?

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#10

Mom likes eating fish tails, she’s a bit weird. It took me years to realize my mom’s trick to make me eat the best part of the fish. I wish I could be less innocent and understood her earlier, then I could play tricks to take care of her too. If we make a list of things that are universal across cultures, a mother’s love is definitely on top of…

Mom likes eating fish tails, she’s a bit weird. It took me years to realize my mom’s trick to make me eat the best part of the fish. I wish I could be less innocent and understood her earlier, then I could play tricks to take care of her too. If we make a list of things that are universal across cultures, a mother’s love is definitely on top of that list.

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#11

If you ask a food critic to rate my mom’s cooking, she’s probably not going to get many stars. Actually, her cooking is probably too simple and her menu hasn’t changed over the years. Nonetheless, if you ask me, I’m going to give her all the stars that I have. It’s totally subjective. Her cooking is the taste of my childhood, warm and familiar. It’s something that stays the same…

If you ask a food critic to rate my mom’s cooking, she’s probably not going to get many stars. Actually, her cooking is probably too simple and her menu hasn’t changed over the years. Nonetheless, if you ask me, I’m going to give her all the stars that I have. It’s totally subjective. Her cooking is the taste of my childhood, warm and familiar. It’s something that stays the same against the change of time, a strong connection that I have with my past while exploring and absorbing other cultures into my identity, and a solid rock that I can always grab and rest upon in the flowing river of life.

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#12

The English word “ouch” is commonly used as an expression of one’s physical pain, (refer to the episode for usage) although, in China, I would normally say “哎哟”(ai-yoh) instead. In France, the equivalent is “Aïe”. This got me curious, and while searching for other expressions, I bumped into an article from The Guardian —“Is ouch used worldwide?”. Well, the answer is no, and people being interviewed in the article have…

The English word “ouch” is commonly used as an expression of one’s physical pain, (refer to the episode for usage) although, in China, I would normally say “哎哟”(ai-yoh) instead. In France, the equivalent is “Aïe”. This got me curious, and while searching for other expressions, I bumped into an article from The Guardian —“Is ouch used worldwide?”. Well, the answer is no, and people being interviewed in the article have shared some amusing examples from their cultures, illustrated here. Even though the expressions vary from one another, one thing in common is that they all begin with a vowel, and are quite short to pronounce. I guess we all go back to our primal instinct when getting hurt.

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#13

We refer to the same thing with different words. We describe the same event with different words. We use words to explore the world that is at the same time limited by those exact words. That limitation is also called “perspective”?

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#14

My friend once told me that Chinese sounds like a melody to her because it has many tones. There are also sounds that don’t exist in other languages, which makes it more difficult to pronounce. Take myself as an example, lot of English speaking people pronounce my name “Siyu” as “see you”, and the common joke would be like “Seeyou, see you!”

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#15

I met a girl the other day whose father is an ambassador. She has never stopped traveling since she was born and speaks several languages. She said every time people ask where she’s from she has to tell a story because she can’t summarize it with one word. I’ve also met people who have multiple lineages having similar situations. The encounter of cultures has created plural identities that are larger…

I met a girl the other day whose father is an ambassador. She has never stopped traveling since she was born and speaks several languages. She said every time people ask where she’s from she has to tell a story because she can’t summarize it with one word. I’ve also met people who have multiple lineages having similar situations. The encounter of cultures has created plural identities that are larger than the definition of one nation or one race, yet the questions we ask stay singular. Maybe one day we could just ask “Who are you?” instead of “Where are you from?”

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#16

I’ve met lots of second-generation Chinese immigrants who cannot speak Chinese or who can only speak but cannot read or write Chinese. Some of them choose to do so because they identify more with their current country, while others regret not learning enough when they were little. To them, the loss of language is also the loss of part of their identity and culture. On the other hand, for Chinese,…

I’ve met lots of second-generation Chinese immigrants who cannot speak Chinese or who can only speak but cannot read or write Chinese. Some of them choose to do so because they identify more with their current country, while others regret not learning enough when they were little. To them, the loss of language is also the loss of part of their identity and culture. On the other hand, for Chinese, English is important in the process of modernization: Understanding English allows you to get more information, to understand the global picture, to be able to have your voice heard internationally. It’s usually seen as a “useful tool”. I’m curious to know that, in a country like Singapore where there are four official languages, how these different languages coexist and how people feel about using them in a different context.

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#17

A demand that’s so simple requires a process that’s so complicated. My Chinese passport doesn’t leave me much flexibility with travel, and every time, applying for a visa brings out all my negative energies. The letter of intent, the proof of my identity, the proof of financial and marital status, the proof of returning in time. Everything needs to be proved—there’s no trust. It’s a process that reinforces separation than…

A demand that’s so simple requires a process that’s so complicated. My Chinese passport doesn’t leave me much flexibility with travel, and every time, applying for a visa brings out all my negative energies. The letter of intent, the proof of my identity, the proof of financial and marital status, the proof of returning in time. Everything needs to be proved—there’s no trust. It’s a process that reinforces separation than connection. The officers are cold and indifferent, but I know it’s just their job, and it’s the system that put us in these situations. In the age of globalization, have we become the “citizens of the world” or have we set up even more barriers?

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#18

My grandma met my grandpa on the day of their marriage, which is impossible for my generation to imagine because we are so used to the idea of romantic love. She spent the whole life with my grandpa until the end when he was really sick and need to be taken care of constantly. She knew all the details of his habits, likes, and flaws. Of course, there are all…

My grandma met my grandpa on the day of their marriage, which is impossible for my generation to imagine because we are so used to the idea of romantic love. She spent the whole life with my grandpa until the end when he was really sick and need to be taken care of constantly. She knew all the details of his habits, likes, and flaws. Of course, there are all sorts of problems you could point out in this type of blind marriage, yet the strength and courage to accept and get to know another person, and to embrace all the changes with time are admirable. Nowadays we are lucky to have all the freedom to choose. Many people are eager to look for “the person” that will understand their souls from the beginning till the end without having to “work on it”. There’s less tolerance about flaws and problems that might evolve with time, and less patience to deal with it — you can always just find another person.

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#19

A special episode for those of you who celebrate Christmas.

#20

Style is personal, of course, but it’s funny to see how certain fashion trends change with time. Beijing is usually much colder in winter compared to Paris. Down coats started gaining popularity in the 80s, and people usually wear a layer of long johns inside their trousers to protect them from the cold. Nowadays many young Chinese women perceive down coats as “old fashioned”, and prefer instead of dressing in…

Style is personal, of course, but it’s funny to see how certain fashion trends change with time. Beijing is usually much colder in winter compared to Paris. Down coats started gaining popularity in the 80s, and people usually wear a layer of long johns inside their trousers to protect them from the cold. Nowadays many young Chinese women perceive down coats as “old fashioned”, and prefer instead of dressing in “European style”. Yet here in Paris I started to see more people wearing down coats in winter, c’est la mode.

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#21

If century eggs and chicken feet are the nightmares for lots of westerners, then for me, raw stuff is the absolute horror. In my personal dictionary of cuisine, the word “raw” is associated with bacteria, bad digestion, and barbarians (human invented fire to cook great food right?). I still remember the horror I had the first time eating a steak in the U.S. My American friend had to convince me…

If century eggs and chicken feet are the nightmares for lots of westerners, then for me, raw stuff is the absolute horror. In my personal dictionary of cuisine, the word “raw” is associated with bacteria, bad digestion, and barbarians (human invented fire to cook great food right?). I still remember the horror I had the first time eating a steak in the U.S. My American friend had to convince me that it’s both safe and delicious to eat not fully cooked beef. With globalization, steak and sushi restaurants are no longer exotic in China. Yet traditionally, apart from a few marinated specialties, Chinese dishes are usually well cooked, whether it’s red meat, fish or vegetables. The word “salad” 沙拉 in Chinese is a direct translation of the so

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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