My Chinese Mother-in-law and the Ring of Compliments | Speaking of China

9 Responses

  1. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 30, 2011 at 5:22 am | | Reply

    I think your Chineses MIL was just happy that you liked her ring and she was just happy to get you one. I think she felt proud to be able to get you a ring that you like. Chinese mothers, like all mothers, will do anything to make their children happy and since she treats you well, I am sure she likes you a lot and am happy that his son has someone like you to look after him and I am sure your MIL is just happy to do something in return for you as her daughter-in-law. Don’t worry.

  2. Sarah
    Sarah May 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm | | Reply

    oh my god something simmilar happened to me but with a bracelet. One of my boyfriends cousin is involved in some proffessional badminton league in China and when we met her over there she was wearing this special gold badminton bracelet and she explained to me about it and I said it was lovely and I told her my brother has been playing badminton for years and loves it. Then she tried to persuade me to take the bracelet as a gift and that she can get a replacement. Oh my god I was so embarassed and me and my boyfriend spent ages trying to get her to keep it. In the end she told me she would get me one the next one the next time i come back to China =.=;;;

  3. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason May 31, 2011 at 11:21 am | | Reply

    My former in-laws didn’t have much money, but once they once gave me some cash for my birthday to buy a gold bracelet at the nicest jewelry shop in their town. It was very sweet of them and I still have that bracelet. A weird thing, though, happened involving a ring I never even saw before my former husband presented it to me. It was a gift from a friend of his who ran a gold shop in Hong Kong: a 24 carat plated ring of Tweety Bird, dangling legs and all. Yikes. The ring’s band wasn’t gold and made my finger break out. I still have that ring, but haven’t put it on in 15 years.

  4. Louisa
    Louisa May 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm | | Reply

    I can totally relate, but in my case it’s my mom. Every time I tell her about something that I find interesting or cool, she automatically thinks I want it and buys it. Then I feel really bad because I didn’t want it in the first place.

    When I compliment her jewelry she also thinks that I want it and tries to give it to me. I just tell her that I’m too young to own something like that and it suits her better.

  5. Du Lala
    Du Lala June 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm | | Reply

    This is very typically Chinese. In the West, people compliment each other all the time on their clothes, shoes, etc. And it shoud be rightly taken as an expression of the complimentee’s good tastes.

    In the Chinese world, a compliment is (wrongly) seen as the complimenter’s desire for the item. And moreover, it is incumbent on the complimentee to offer the item as a gift. I am Chinese (ish), and I don’t care for this aspect of the culture. Very strange and “inscrutable.”

  6. piglet
    piglet June 3, 2011 at 6:23 am | | Reply

    Your blog is so interesting. I am hoping to be working in China with my (Middle Eastern )Husband and the whole insight into cultural differences that you discuss is really fascinating.

  7. Marie
    Marie February 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm | | Reply

    Yes there is definately a fine line, but sometimes you do get roped into trick situations, last time I went to see my fiancée his Mum brought out a load of her old clothes that she doesn’t wear anymore and insisted I tried them on, then asked if I liked them…now I had two choices I could either be the stuck-up westerner and say her clothes were buzenmeyang, also possibly insulting her fashion sense when they went actually that bad, or I could say they were nice knowing she was tricking my into having them, luckily I ‘forgot’ to pack most of the clothes and my suitcase was still 6 kilos overweight, but I’m sure i’ll be round two in the summer!

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