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The Upsides of Not Speaking Chinese

It's a good general rule of thumb that when moving to a foreign country in which your native language is not spoken, you should try and learn that language. Alas, that doesn't always happen, especially if you move to a country where the commonly spoken language is notoriously difficult – ie. China. But lest you fear that you're doomed to a life of ridicule and isolation if your putonghua is not up to snuff. There are actually some unexpected perks of not speaking Chinese. Read on for the ways in which being blissfully ignorant can be, well, blissful.

1) You walk through security lines without understanding whether the guards are yelling at you

That line’s not for me, is it?
That line’s not for me, is it? Photo:

Next time you're walking through the security line in the metro, take a look at all those people stopping, putting their bags on the X-ray conveyor belt, then picking them up before heading through the turnstile. Then notice that you walk straight through the turnstile without bothering to do any of the above. Why? Because if (when?) the security guards are yelling at you to stop and submit your bag to the security check, you simply don't understand. And with the way people here tend to raise their voices even when they're talking about something as benign as the weather, you really can't tell whether they're yelling at you or complimenting you on your shoes.

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