Chinese tourists: Difficult to deal with?

"Pigs On The Loose" new book by young Chinese woman studying in Bangkok catalogs embarrassing things Chinese travellers do.

Chinese tourists near Wat Phra Kaeo. - Photos by Patipat Janthong

Click button to listen to Pigs On the Loose download 

State of influx

24/06/2013
Parisa Pichitmarn

Last year, Thailand received nearly 3 million Chinese tourists. This year, up until May, more than 1.5 million Chinese made a trip to Thailand, constituting the largest number of entries from a single nation - and the number is rising.

Tourists from China spend their income around the world, but can also raise eyebrows over their lack of social etiquette.

Complaints are often heard, regarding their sometimes not-so-pleasant public manners.

The popular Thai website pantip.com has a few designated chat boards where people complain about the bad behaviour of Chinese tourists. News of a Chinese teenager who vandalised a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mural made headlines everywhere.

Recently, a Chinese woman in Bangkok published an e-book disparaging what she sees as unacceptable behaviour of her fellow countrymen while travelling overseas.

For someone to get up and write a book that calls her own countrymen "pigs", it shows that her resentment has reached a limit.

The 27-year-old, who's now studying for an MBA at Assumption University in Bangkok, explored the world before she came to Thailand - and she usually has travelled by herself.

Wei's book, meanwhile, is written from experience. In 14 scathing chapters, it comprises her own observations as well as anecdotes from a number of people she has met and talked to throughout her extensive travels to more than 40 countries.

Pigs On The Loose sheds a grim light on the behaviour of Chinese tourists in different settings and circumstances, such as in toilets, at hotels and on aeroplanes, and their reactions to local religion and food. Some of the book's most direct attacks concern food-hoarding antics and ignorant scribbling on ancient relics, but one of the worst is probably the inconsiderate usage of public toilets.

People she talked to, writes Wei, have complained about ''extremely loud throat clearing and spitting while standing next to people at a urinal'', and ''loud conversations between two Chinese who are in cubicles that may be next to each other or separated.''

Some hotels may have started to ban Chinese tour groups, Wei says, because their behaviour disturbs other guests, but it is highly unlikely that the world will completely shun the Chinese as they have emerged as a dependable and increasingly important source of income for most countries.

Writer Wei Yunmei, or Echo Wang, has published an e-book criticising Chinese tourists.

...Feedback for her book has come in many shades, but the title alone is enough to discourage Chinese publishers from accepting it.

''[Chinese publishers] are very against Chinese people writing about something that is true but touches the very bottom. We're worried about [losing] face.''

And not surprisingly, quite a number of readers are enraged at how she describes her countrymen. However, Wei says: ''I'm not criticising everyone - only those with these behaviours because there are a lot of good Chinese tourists, too. People who don't have these behaviours shouldn't be offended and should try to admit that there are actually people like that out there."

''Chinese tourists who travel alone or as couples are the ones who want to explore and understand the culture, religion and people. But travelling in a group gives you a sort of protection so you don't have to change yourself.''

She suggests that Chinese tourists smile more, "It's always so easy to recognise a Chinese among the crowd because of their untrusting eyes. They can look hostile and hardly smile.''

While Pigs On The Loose is slowly gaining acceptance on e-book websites, hope for gradual change is on Wei's mind.

''I just hope this will be a wake-up call to let them know how their behaviour really affects the opinions formed by host countries.

''Foreigners believe that a majority of Chinese tourists are all alike: loud and disrespectful. I hope they can realise the problem exists and what image they have created for China, and unless their behaviour improves, local hostility towards these groups will continue to rise.''

Visit Amazon's Kindle Store or smashwords.com to buy Pigs On The Loose: Chinese Tour Groups. You can also send your comments to wymecho@hotmail.com


Tourism Vocabulary

influx -
many people or things coming into a place 
state of influx - a condition where many people are coming into a place (example: Chinese tourists coming into Thailand)

single - one only ดี่ยว
the largest number of tourist entries from any single nation

income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings

social etiquette - Same as "etiquette"
etiquette - มารยาท, มารยาทสังคม, สมบัติผู้ดี (Same as Wikipedia)

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of social etiquette

raise eyebrows - surprise
raise eyebrows over their lack of social etiquette

Tourists from China spend their income around the world, but can also raise eyebrows over their lack of social etiquette

manners - Same as "etiquette"
public manners
not-so-pleasant public manners
Complaints are often heard, regarding their sometimes not-so-pleasant public manners

designated - choose for a special purpose แต่งตั้ง ที่ได้รับการแต่งตั้ง
designated chat boards

behaviour - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว, พฤติการณ์
bad behaviour

complain - when people tell other people that they not happy or satisifed with something  (such as service in store or restaurant) บ่น
complain
about the bad behaviour

The popular Thai website pantip.com has a few designated chat boards where people complain about the bad behaviour of Chinese tourists.

vandalise - the crime of destroying things that belong to other people ทำลายทรัพย์สิน, ทำลายข้าวของ
mural - large painting
vandalised a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mural

headline - the title of a story in a newspaper printed in large letters to catch the eye
made headlines everywhere

News of a Chinese teenager who vandalised a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mural made headlines everywhere

unacceptable - strongly object to something, feel that it should not be allowed to continue
unacceptable behaviour

fellow - used for talking about people who are similar to you or are in the same situation เพื่อนร่วมชะตากรรม
fellow countrymen

disparage - look down on something ดูถูก
disparaging e-book
disparaging remarks

unacceptable behaviour of her fellow countrymen

Recently, a Chinese woman in Bangkok published an e-book disparaging what she sees as unacceptable behaviour of her fellow countrymen while travelling overseas.

resentment - anger and bitter feelings about something; a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept someone or something that you do not like ความไม่พอใจ

limit - a highest or lowest amount
reach a limit

her resentment has reached a limit

For someone to get up and write a book that calls her own countrymen "pigs", it shows that her resentment has reached a limit.

explore -
to travel to a place to learn about it and find new things สำรวจ
explored the world

The 27-year-old, who's now studying for an MBA at Assumption University in Bangkok, explored the world before she came to Thailand - and she usually has travelled by herself

scathing - finding fault with, criticizing in a very strong way เสียดแทง (คำพูด),  เจ็บแสบ (คำพูด)
in 14 scathing chapters

comprises - includes
observations - something you have learned by watching and thinking about something, comments, remarks, opinion ความเห็น
anecdotes - little stories (that a person tells based on their experience and learning)  เรื่องราว

the book comprises her own observations and anecdotes from people she met and talked to

extensive - includes many things with a wide variety ที่มีมากมาย
extensive travels - traveling to to many places around the world 
her extensive travels to more than 40 countries.

Wei's book, meanwhile, is written from experience. In 14 scathing chapters, it comprises her own observations as well as anecdotes from a number of people she has met and talked to throughout her extensive travels to more than 40 countries.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer