Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cultural Conundrum #10: The Wave

The other day I realized that I had yet to show off my Microsoft Paint skills. When I get the opportunity I like to supplement my blog posts with pictures. But as I've mentioned before, I am very new to the whole photography thing.

But this is not so with Microsoft Paint.

And since today's topic presents a good opportunity to utilize my craft -- and since I'm feeling generous today -- I thought we could move on from photography games to the real deal.

Behold, "the wave": 

In the U.S. this hand gesture conveys such meanings as...

"Get that out of my face."

"You're too close. Scoot back a little bit farther."

"I'm on the phone. Don't bother me now. Leave."

...and the like.

But in China it means the complete opposite. It means...

"Come closer!"


"Is that you over there? You're too far away. Come here! I have something to tell you."


...and the like.

Whereas we turn the palm up and bend our fingers toward us to gesture for someone to come, people here use this gesture. So don't run away if a Chinese person does this wave in your direction. You'll think they don't like you, but they'll think you don't like them.


  1. You always hear about hand gestures meaning different things in different countries, but I had not heard about this one before. Very interesting.

    I noticed you have more followers on here. We read the article in the Great Bend paper at your grandparents house a few weeks ago. It turned out really well in case you had not read it or were wondering. Everyone was very proud.

    Also, you should encourage your mom to write a blog about the traveling experiences with her dad this week. It was a hoot.

  2. LOL, Dusti! A 'hoot' is an understatement! If I wrote a blog with the details, I would be banned by Google.