A friend asks me “Why Chinese don’t go Dutch?” So I want to regard this question as the topic and write an article. As everyone knows, Occidental will go Dutch while having a meal in the restaurant. But Chinese don’t go Dutch. Chinese will pay the bill and check out generously. Occidental don’t often entertain guests; but Chinese often invite friend to dinner. A lot of Occidentals feel puzzled to this question.
Why exists such a difference? Because of the East and West culture and custom are different on the surface. I will analyze this question concretely.
First of all, food systems between China and Occident are different. Chinese put into practice Gather Dining System; Occidentals put into practice Individual Dining System. Everybody can share the delicious food of all over the table when eating Chinese food. Please note it is sharing; but Occidentals just eat the food in one’s own plate, if you eat beef, he eats chicken. It is impossible that you taste the flavor of his chicken. The result of the Individual Dining System is that you can only eat the food in your plate. It is unable to share. Ha-ha! What I said is right! So to eat Chinese food is happier than to eat Western-style food. And I want to ask you a question. Do you like the free thing? I think nobody don’t like the free thing. Ok! Suppose I invite you to eat the delicious Chinese food, then I pay the bill. This is equivalent to that you have enjoyed a delicious Chinese food free. So you will be very glad. Have strengthened the relation between us in the happy atmosphere.
Secondly, Occidentals eat for the health; Chinese eat for the friendship. Occidental advocate individualism and independence is strong. So Occidental express that respect for each other’s independence through the way go Dutch. Chinese like making friends and solidarity. Chinese value the interpersonal relationships and friendship very much. There are a lot of folk adages in China, for example “Depend on parents at home, leave home and depend on the friend!”,”Handle affairs is easy if you have many friends!”, another sentence is the more violent: “Insert the knife into both sides of the rib for friend!!!”. Therefore, friend’s position is important in Chinese’s mind. The purpose that Chinese don’t go Dutch is doesn’t want to destroy the friendship between the friends. Dutch treatment is the stingy behavior in China, is unfavorable to the friends’ solidarity and is unfavorable to keeping the harmonious interpersonal relationship.
Third, it is only simple “Have a meal!” that Occidental entertain guests. It is not purpose that Chinese entertain guests, but it is the means. In Americans’ idea, “Have a meal” definition is to add fuel to the body for keeping health and normal life activity. Thus resist the attack of disease. That is to say, there is no any additional value. In the Chinese idea, “Have a meal” not only is for maintaining the health of the body, but also is a kind of life enjoyment, even is the means to promote friendship between the friends. After enjoying the sumptuous delicious food, you are glad, I am glad too, everybody is glad. The friendship between the friends has been strengthened in this kind of atmosphere.
Chinese are a nation liking treat very much. Generally speaking, one party who propose treat will pay the bill in China. But purposes are different. For example you help me to do a thing, I will invite you to dinner in order to express thankfulness to you, certainly, I will pay the bill. Suppose I am a company manager, you are another company manager. I talk about the business with you, and I will say: “Let’s have a meal together!”. Certainly, I will pay the bill. My purpose is that congratulates business’ success, promote the friendship between us, even the friendship and cooperation between two companies.
In fact, Chinese are very complicated. So I say that Chinese don’t go Dutch is not merely a kind of folkway and custom, but it is a means, a method, a repayment way, a way to express emotion, even is probably a kind of stratagem…