彭蒙惠英语:20110203 MP3在线课程 Sometimes It's Not the Thought That Counts

时间 : 2013-12-03 07:43来源 : VOA官网 收听下载次数 :
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Sometimes It's Not the Thought That Counts

by Ching-Ching Ni / (c) 2010, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Taking home gifts from America presents a dilemma for overseas Chinese

George Bao felt like a rich man the first time he flew back to China from America.

He had so many gifts for his family and friends, he was lugging eight cardboard boxes, in addition to his suitcase. That was back in the 1980s, when airlines didn't charge for extra luggage.

As for what the gifts were, the memory makes him laugh. He had gotten friends and family secondhand clothes scavenged from American yard sales.

"My father was so happy," said Bao, who watched the elderly farmer put on his first Western suit, beaming even though it didn't fit well. "Anything I brought back from the States was considered special."

Times have changed. Living standards have risen fast─especially in the wealthier coastal areas. Hand-me-downs from America will no longer do.

Amajor headache

And now that China has transformed itself, Chinese-Americans heading home face another gift-giving hitch. It's not so much what the gift is but where it comes from that matters, said Bao:

"They may not all speak English, but everyone in China recognizes those three words. When they see the label "Made in China," they will think, How come you gave me this?"

In other words, buying gifts to carry to China is a major headache.

"It really does consume people when they make preparations to go back to China," said Clayton Dube, associate director of the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California.

Like many visitors to China in the 1980s, Dube once knew just what to get his in-laws. He bought a Japanese color TV in Hong Kong and lugged it on and off trains and buses on his trip to their home in mainland China. Back then, televisions, refrigerators and washing machines were mostly foreign luxury items. Few Chinese families could afford them.

Now all manner of electronics are abundantly available in China.

 

返乡送礼大学问

自美返乡送礼对海外华人而言是个难题

鲍乔治(音译)第一次从美国搭机返回中国时,觉得自己像个有钱人。

他带了许多礼物要送给亲友,除了自己的行李箱外,还吃力地拖着八个硬纸箱。 那时是一九八0年代,航空公司对超出的行李不会收费。

至于是些什么礼物呢?想起来他还会笑, 因为那些给亲友的礼物是他从美国家庭旧物拍卖寻觅搜购来的二手衣。

「我父亲高兴极了。」鲍乔治说,他看着这位老农民穿上生平第一套西装,即使不很合身,仍然兴高采烈。「我从美国带回来的任何东西都很稀奇。」

但如今时代不同了。生活水平快速提升,尤其是在较富裕的(中国)沿海地区。来自美国的旧衣物已经不够看了。

头痛问题

现在中国已经改头换面,华裔美人返乡得面临另一个送礼的问题: 那就是礼物是什么不那么重要,在哪里生产反而比较要紧。鲍乔治说:

「中国人也许不全会说英语,但每个人都认得那三个字。当他们看到『中国制』的商标,就会想,你怎么给我这个东西?」

换句话说,买礼物回中国送人,是个头痛问题。

「当人们准备回中国时,(送礼)的确让人伤透脑筋。」南加州大学美中学院副院长克雷敦.杜柏表示。

克雷敦.杜柏就像许多曾在一九八0年代造访中国的人士一样,曾经很清楚该带什么礼物给岳家。他当年在香港买了一台日本制彩色电视,于返回中国的家的旅途中,带着它在火车及巴士上上下下。那时候,电视、冰箱和洗衣机大多是外国奢侈品, 极少有中国家庭负担得起。

但如今各式各样的电子产品已充斥中国。

 

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