Indians As Seen By Chinese | 中国人如何看印度人
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this article are either that of the author or the sources mentioned and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone working with ExpatRights.
Historical, Spiritual, Religious
China and India share a lot of common values. Actually, Chinese culture was mostly influenced and shaped by ancient Indian culture.
India conquered China 2000 years ago without sending a single soldier to its border. This was through Buddhism. Even today both cultures have very similar family values. It was only until recent times that China started changing rapidly, while Indians still stuck to their traditions.
Lots of Chinese people consider themselves Buddhist and go on a spiritual pilgrimage trip to India. There are few people who know the fact that actually Buddhism came from Nepal, not India. Nepal and India are two different countries. The existing proportion of Buddhism in India is the lowest in the world. Less than 1%. During ancient times, Nepal was once a vassal state of China.
Even so, Chinese people generally think that Indians are more faithful to their own culture and religions, that is to say, Indian people look happier and less materialistic than Chinese, and at the same time, people complain that China lost its own culture and faith due to its rapid economic growth.
Controversially, on the other hand, the Chinese feel that the solution to India’s social problems can be solved with more effective economic development.
India’s social problems more or less exist in China
The two biggest similarities in the two cultures: Overbearing parents and constant pressure to perform. But I think that is gradually changing now??
For example, the Indian film “DANGAL”, whose Chinese name literally translates to “Wrestling Dad”, was a hit in China in 2017, another film of the same famous Indian star (Amir Khan), “Secret Superstar”, also caused a great stir in China. In the same year, another movie “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha“ (Chinese name literally translates to “Toilet Hero”) also became a hot topic.
The social reality problems reflected in these films are also very familiar to the Chinese audience, which still exist more or less in China, especially in rural Chinese towns.
Movie: “Dangal” a.k.a. “Wrestling Dad”
Chinese Impression of Indians
中国人对印度和印度人的印象主要有以下几点：咖喱（味）、宝莱坞 、 软件工程师、阿三、黑皮肤、印度口音, 砍价高手。
Chinese impression of Indians: Curry, Bollywood, software engineers, A-san, dark skin, Indian accent, and aggressive bargainer.
When Chinese are asked whether they would look for an Indian boy or girlfriend, the likely response is: “not likely”, “would not”, “No, the smell is too strong”, “taste not that heavy”, “Absolutely impossible”, “No?!”!
Indian tour groups are considered to be the most unpunctual foreigners in China. Usually, in order to make the tourists on time, the tour guide normally has to inform them at least one hour earlier than the actual meeting time.
Chinese, or other Asians (Koreans, Japanese) who use chopsticks to eat usually cannot comprehend the fact that Indians eat by their hands. It is also rumored that Indians don’t use toilet paper when they go to the toilet. No matter how many times travel bloggers have tried to explain that this isn’t always the case, people still believe the stereotype that Indians have poor hygiene, and conclude that India generally is dirty, chaotic, and poor.
Why Are Indians Called “A San”
Chinese used the term “A San” to refer to Indians. The term is the same as the term “Laowai” for foreigners. The word Lao Wai does not sound good to many but comparatively can be neutral sometimes in a different context, while the name A-san sounds more like a mockery. Chinese people themselves who call Indians A-san mostly don’t know where it comes from. There are many different explanations.
Baidu Tieba explains: “Indian a San refers to Indian, a SIR transliteration. “Indian a SAN” comes from the shanghai dialect of the Wu language in the period of “Ten Li Yangchang” (means Expat community in old China). The Wu people like to add the word “a” in front of a name or a title, while the words related to “three” in the Shanghai dialect (a San, Ba San, Ba San, thirteen points, pig head three) are mostly derogatory terms. There were often “civil servants” transferred from India in the British concession in Shanghai, who were responsible for some chores. These Indians were loyal “claws” of the British and danced around with batons all day long, therefore, Shanghainese scornfully referred to them as “a San”. Now, the word “India A SAN” has been widely spread, mostly containing the meaning of Chinese mocking India.”
Source and more details:
China’s strongest enemies from the West
显然，融入西方主流社会，印度人要比中国人抢先一步，印度的殖民历史背景使得他们的英文水平远高于中国人，帮助他们更快融入西方社会，而中国人也自认为不会表达自我，趋于保守。热心的网友们经常拿这两个国家的企业家作对比，对于英语不好的企业家不得不提小米的创始人雷军在印度的演讲全程 “are you ok?” 之后的热议变成了他的一个标签。
Both Chinese and Indians are considered to be good at mathematics and programming. Chinese people think that Indians could become their strongest enemies and often feel a sense of crisis.
For example, from the article:
《Indians rule Silicon Valley, while the Chinese become wage earners? Watch over their backyard.》https://36kr.com/p/1724550971393
Obviously, Indian people in the West get ahead entering the mainstream society than Chinese, because their English colony background enables them to speak better English and understand the Western culture better. While Chinese people in the West tend to be shy and too conservative to express themselves. Netizens often compare the entrepreneurs from these two countries. For those who are not good at English, the Chinese often mention the founder of the company Xiaomi, Lei Jun, who had a speech in India, where his opening statement was “Are you Ok?” It’s because of this, people made the assumption that that is the only phrase he knows how to say in English. Later, Chinese people labeled him “are you ok?”
India is China’s troublemaker, not a military opponent
If China and India were to go to war, Chinese netizens consistently agree that (quote) “India cannot defeat China in a full-scale war, but this does not mean that China would win. China is much stronger than India in almost all areas.” That means, Chinese believe that India is not better than a trouble maker, and not really an opponent in the military at all.
Edited/Rewritten: Cici Li (ccartwalk)
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