Playing 21 Questions in China


During my recent trip to China, I met a few seniors who redefined the terms direct and humorous by asking several personal questions. While strolling through a park in Beijing, a curious group of old timers were eager to strike up a conversation with me.

Here are a few questions they asked:

1. Have you been to Disneyland? 

2. How old are you?

3. Why aren’t you married?

4. How much money do you make?

5. Do you own a gun?


Conversation topics often deemed too personal are actually considered a norm in China. Questions of this nature aren’t intended to be rude or off-putting. Personal questions like these are socially acceptable ways of getting to know people. Try to answer as tactfully as possible and when all else fails, throw in a little humor. The Chinese rarely pursue questions if they feel you are not comfortable discussing it. Luckily, the group of Chinese seniors questioning me was distracted by an impromptu dance performance in the park.

To make your trip easier, why not try Chinese lessons when in Toronto?