On My Chinese Husband's Time | Speaking of China

15 Responses

  1. 舒国阳
    舒国阳 March 21, 2011 at 7:38 am | | Reply


  2. Sarah
    Sarah March 21, 2011 at 7:41 am | | Reply

    I’ve found some Chinese friends to be very relaxed about time. Which is great because in Ireland everyone is relaxed about time. We usually make arrangements like “meet me at about 1ish” and if someone arrived at exactly one it would be considered strange.

    But I have met some Chinese guys from the North of China who if they say they will collect me at 8pm, they will definitely be there at 8pm sharp regardless of whether their driving in rain sleet snow.

  3. Sonja
    Sonja March 21, 2011 at 8:02 am | | Reply

    I can definitely relate 🙂
    “What’s the rush? We still have plenty of time to get there…” almost always results in “Sorry we’re late….”

  4. Jason Patent
    Jason Patent March 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn,

    As always, great post, highly entertaining and informative.

    I’m wondering if you’re familiar with any of the intercultural work on “monochronic” versus “polychronic” processing of time. It might shed some light on your and John’s differences.

    Love the blog!


  5. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian March 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm | | Reply

    I think the Chinese’s sense of time differs from the Westerner’s. It is the same here in Malaysia. For example, if a wedding dinner is set for 7pm you could be sure the Chinese here will only begin to saunter in by the earliest 8pm and the actual dinner will only start by 9pm or thereabout! Of course it is very inconvenient to the organisers and ditto the restaurant people, but this has been going on here for so long that nobody blinks an eye. It is always nice to be on time so that one doesn’t have to panic. But to be on time here can sometimes, especially for a wedding dinner, be embarrassing since you might be the only around. Is there a cultural reason for this tardiness? It will be interesting to hear from some who might have a handle on this matter.

  6. lifebehindthewall
    lifebehindthewall March 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm | | Reply

    oooohhhh.. i feel your pain…. Chinese people have no sense of urgency… when it comes to those kinds of things… they do everything at the last minute… some times I want to stab my husband in the head… (smile).. he is always moving around slowly.. and I am like come on… he is smoking that last cigarette.. or deciding to check his email.. or something silly when we need to be somewhere… then complaining that I am pushing him…. What is the deal…? even at work they move in slow motion… urgggggghhhhhh…. makes me want to scream. I will never get use to that… I am like you.. get there on time.. earlier if possible… I dont think they will every change.

  7. lifebehindthewall
    lifebehindthewall March 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm | | Reply

    oh.. and i wanted to say… we American’s believe time is money… that makes us not want to waste it… not so much with the Chinese they will take hours to make decisions… and complete a task… im shaking my head now thinking about it.

  8. sam
    sam March 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm | | Reply

    I work in the private equity sector, and when I say will arrive at the designated time, let’s say 8pm, I will arrive at 7.55pm. For me its about being punctual so that the person I m meeting will have a nice impression of me. But that’s just me. Different person, different thinking. Not everyone’s the same.

  9. sam
    sam March 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | | Reply

    and I m chinese ! chinese malaysian !

  10. ChinaMatt
    ChinaMatt March 22, 2011 at 7:01 am | | Reply

    Wow, this sounds familiar. I got tickets to a show in NYC and my wife was supposed to meet me at the theater after work. She showed up late because she thought she had plenty of time to do a little leisurely shopping. We managed to get to our seats just as the show started.

    Fortunately, she’s still earlier than my brother for any family gatherings.

  11. Crystal
    Crystal March 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm | | Reply

    Well, my clock works much better than my fiance’s (we live in Israel).

    When we went to his friend’s party, I all the time hurried him up saying “Look at the time, they said to be at 6:30”. He said “Relax! NOBODY will come in time”. Actually, he was right. We came at round 7 p.m. and we were the second guests!

  12. Ema
    Ema March 23, 2011 at 4:20 am | | Reply

    I am little bit strange compare to my fellow italians, I have to be not only on time but earlier, if I am late something must have happened. On the other hand, my chinese-malaysian husband always does things at the last minute even when we have to catch an airplane, and that make me boil inside. But we never miss anything!!!

  13. ZR
    ZR March 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm | | Reply

    Well… I think the Italians are the same 🙂

  14. 舒国阳
    舒国阳 March 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm | | Reply

    everytime when i am going to catch a train , i usually figure out how long i maybe stay at the station waiting for the train the day before ,everytime when i am going to the station and giving my ticket to the worker, they all yell at me “hurry up ,hurry up,the train is leaving seconds later!”.once the train startedas soon as i stepped into the train from Tianjing(天津)to Beijing(北京)!

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