Is it now acceptable to say "ni hao" to anyone who looks vaguely chinese?

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punkrockisfreedom
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I really hate it when salespeople think its perfectly ok to start a conversation with "ni hao" to me. I mean, looking at me I look oriental not chinese, you don't know if I'm japanese, korean or whatever, don't look at me and assume that I come from a certain country. Thats like seeing an indian person and instantly assuming their pakistani.

And secondly, I can speak english just fine, unless you're working on an obviously touristy industry, theres no need to try to speak to me in chinese, we're in england. I've had people trying to sell me a credit card start off like that. No one would see a black person and try to engage him in conversation by trying to speak whatever language they think that person speaks without asking first. Does anyone else on here get annoyed or is it just me?

EDIT: seeing as no one bothers to read the rest of the thread where i clarify i might as well put it in here: yes my use of "oi ****" is a bit disanalogous because it is obviously a lot more racist than saying "ni hao" and is making everyone think that what I'm saying is that I think its racist to say "ni hao" to anyone who is asian. Note that I don't say this at any point in the above. What i am actually trying to say is that 1. its annoying because i might not be chinese and 2. it implies that you think that i can't speak english which is really patronising.

I do think there is an element of racism that comes into it in that if i were black, i doubt a salesperson would make any allusion to my race or assume that i can't speak english for fear of being branded racist and if people wouldn't do it for one race, why is it ok for another?
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Jeppaloth
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Maybe they want to practice their chinese?

I wouldn't be offended if someone in China said "hello" to me.
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chidona
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No, that's stupid.
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ScarlettDangerfield
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(Original post by punkrockisfreedom)
Thats like seeing an indian person and yelling "oi ****!"
As far as I'm aware, that phrase doesn't mean 'hello' in any of the languages spoken in India :curious:
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punkrockisfreedom
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(Original post by ScarlettDangerfield)
As far as I'm aware, that phrase doesn't mean 'hello' in any of the languages spoken in India :curious:
true, it was a bit of an exaggeration, but the sentiment is still the same - you can't know what race I am from just looking at me, so don't make assumptions -even if you do want to practice your chinese on me, at least check I speak chinese first.
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supercoolfred
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was it necessary to make two topics ?
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JoeTSR
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Maybe they want to practice their chinese?
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punkrockisfreedom
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(Original post by supercoolfred)
was it necessary to make two topics ?
yes.
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lm_wfc
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(Original post by Jeppaloth)
Maybe they want to practice their chinese?

I wouldn't be offended if someone in China said "hello" to me.
You would if you were french though.
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username112959
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(Original post by lm_wfc)
You would if you were french though.
Hmm no I still wouldn't. What's the point?
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ScarlettDangerfield
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(Original post by punkrockisfreedom)
true, it was a bit of an exaggeration, but the sentiment is still the same - you can't know what race I am from just looking at me, so don't make assumptions -even if you do want to practice your chinese on me, at least check I speak chinese first.
True, I've quite often wanted to practice my Chinese on people I've heard talking whilst at work but I'd never just approach them with 'ni hao', I'd always ask them in English if they spoke Mandarin and if I could talk to them a little bit.

I think to start speaking to anyone in another language shows that the assumption has been made that they won't be competent in the native language; I find it a little demeaning when on holiday in France and people immediately start speaking English to me as if my French is so hopeless that I wouldn't understand it.
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Aphotic Cosmos
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I don't think it's appropriate to assume that everybody of a certain broad ethnic origin speaks a certain language, or that they should speak that language. I would get pretty pissed off if I were the OP.

Certainly, I wouldn't want to walk around Japan and have people leaning out of cars trying out their English on me.
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~The Mixed Race Girl~
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lol its natural to get annoyed...i usually get "hola" "salaam" "ciao" "shalom"
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TheTallOne
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(Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
Certainly, I wouldn't want to walk around Japan and have people leaning out of cars trying out their English on me.
When I went on a school trip to France, all the locals spoke in English to us when we were meant to be speaking in French. Oh well.
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George Agdgdgwngo
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(Original post by punkrockisfreedom)
I really hate it when salespeople think its perfectly ok to start a conversation with "ni hao" to me. I mean, looking at me I look oriental not chinese, you don't know if I'm japanese, korean or whatever, don't look at me and assume that I come from a certain country. Thats like seeing an indian person and yelling "oi ****!"

And secondly, I can speak english just fine, unless you're working on an obviously touristy industry, theres no need to try to speak to me in chinese, we're in england. I've had people trying to sell me a credit card start off like that. No one would see a black person and try to engage him in conversation by going "yo *****" or whatever. Does anyone else on here get annoyed or is it just me?
Hello!

No it's not, it's like seeing someone with a tan and saying "Ola!" What you described is a bigited racist comment and normally intended as such.
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mel0n
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What does 'ni hao' translate into??
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raspberryswirl
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(Original post by mel0n)
What does 'ni hao' translate into??
Hello
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nadnerb
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It happens to my gf all the time because she's Korean.
It really pisses her off and rightly so as IMO it is pretty rude to just assume every asian looking person is Chinese.
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Piers-
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People say "hello" to me all the time in China and Taiwan (well, and England:P), and I don't mind. However, it can get quite annoying if everyone assumes that 1) I definitely speak English (I might not!), and 2) I definitely can't speak Chinese.

Anyway, I can empathize with your position, but I think you need to lighten up. Saying "ni hao" is just presumptuous but certainly not racist.
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douchebagz
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I dont think we are meant to take it so seriously. People are always going to be stupid, just shake it off and move on and try not to take it too seriously.
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