Five Nifty Chinese Expressions

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China is a populous nation built on a rich cultural heritage.


Travelling to this vast country is an exalting experience and picking your vacation spot can be tricky if you’re not used to the hustle and bustle of the Chinese lifestyle. Thus, we offer five quirky and meaningful Chinese expressions that can help you comprehend the Chinese mindset, should you visit this burgeoning country during your travels.



#1. ‘Guanxi’ or ‘Connections’

The Chinese populace thrives on connections. A stranger is disregarded by the Chinese folk, but a friend thrice removed is still considered important. Therefore, the ‘Guanxi’ mentality is one thing that you should remember during your vacation in China – getting that sought-after train ticket for your travels can be cumbersome, unless you have a friend nearby.

#2. ‘Mei Banfa’ or ‘There’s No Choice’

China’s history is riddled with hardships and famine. The ‘Mei Banfa’ mentality is a reflection of accepting hardships as part of life. Should you offer advice to a local folk while you’re travelling, they might respond with a ‘Mei Banfa’ or ‘There’s no choice’. The Chinese are generally afraid of being singled out in lieu of their restrictive ruling powers, and ‘Mei Banfa’ is referred to accepting life as it is.



#3. ‘Chi Fan Le Mei You?’ or ‘Have You Eaten (Rice) Yet?’

The Cultural Revolution and The Great Leap Forward resulted in the death of millions. Thus, food is valuable in China and food intake has become part of a greeting. Business dealings are conducted over meals, symbolizing how precious food is, hence the ‘Chi fan le mei you?’ or ‘Have you eaten (rice) yet?’ quote. If you have a bowl of rice during your vacation, be sure to leave several grains left over in your bowl. This indicates that the present is better off than the past and that not all the rice has to be eaten.




#4. ‘Tiantian Kaixin’ or ‘Everyday an Open Heart’

Happiness is reflected through an open-mind and open heart in the Chinese custom. ‘Tiantian kaixin’ or ‘Everyday an open heart’ symbolizes happier and pleasant times, which quashes the otherwise rigid mannerisms that govern the Chinese folk. Be sure to keep an open heart during your travels and you’re bound to make some ‘Guanxi’ along the way!



#5. ‘Tianxia Yi Jia Ren’ or ‘We Are All Family’

Chinese value blood over water – this is how China creates a ‘Tianxia yi jia ren’ or ‘We are all family’ bond within its mainstream society. If you’re a Chinese on vacation, chances are you’ll be part of this great family – but no worries if you’re not. All you need is a little ‘Guanxi’ during your travels and you’ll be all set to go!


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