Tim Johnson, China correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, reports there are posters cropping up in the Beijing area instructing the locals on how to interact with those few foreigners actually traveling to China for the summer Olympics. Apparently there are 8 specific questions that locals have been warned not to ask when conversing with foreigners. They are:
1. Don’t ask about income or expenses
2. Don’t ask someone’s age
3. Don’t ask about marriage or love life
4. Don’t ask about health
5. Don’t ask about personal experience
6. Don’t ask about religious beliefs
7. Don’t ask about someone’s home or address
8. Don’t ask what someone does for a living
Well, shoot, that eliminates all the good questions. They can probably still get away with:
1. Does my breath smell like squid?
2. Wanna walk down Tianeman Square?
3. Would you say that algae is blue?
4. Look – isn’t that Elvis?
5. Got any crack?
So when you get to the summer Olympics and the local Chinese don’t strike up a stimulating conversation, make sure you have your cell phone with you — that way you can just text back and forth and no one will be the wiser. But be careful of your pictures; don’t show the family dog or you might find yourself at the all-you-can-eat buffet being offered a little Lab Satay. Don’t ask, don’t tell.