SCMP has reported the emergence of Anti-Chinese sentiments within Chiang Mai stemming from the behaviour of Chinese tourists who are steadily increasing in numbers within the city.
The University of Chiang Mai has recently moved towards restricting the open access to their campus amongst accounts of hoards of Chinese tourists occupying student buses, creating a mess in the cafeterias, hijacking free education through sneaking into lectures and even pitching a tent by the campus lake.
Chinese tourists are now only permitted entry though a single gate while being led by volunteer Mandarin speakers into guided tours. Meanwhile, individual Chinese visitors are outrightly banned with large Chinese characters requiring passports to be produced for inspection at the gate.
Why the fuss? What most of us living in China have now normalised in our daily goings sights such as spitting, littering. Yet the occasional public relieving of the bladder/bowel do not appear to be as palatable in Thailand and other countries.
In accounts of their behaviour (one of which is a viral photograph of a purportedly Chinese visitor, doing a pleasant poo in the city’s ancient moat) Chinese tourists have earned themselves the same image as the “Ugly Americans” who were renown decades ago for their “loud, uncouth, culturally unaware behaviour”.
Locals should thank the 2012 highest-grossing Chinese movie “Lost in Thailand” which was partially shot within the campus for bringing in the Chinese crowds. The influx also comes amidst the rapid increase of wealth ready to be spent on travelling by a rising middle class in China.
Chinese domestic media commentators have used the classic ‘uneducated rural swine’ rhetoric to point the blame, claiming that this behaviour is symptomatic of the lack of education by rural people who have newly acquired wealth through land sales.
Is this an oversimplification? We’re not sure. But we’re dying to get our hands on the Guidebook for Civilised Tourism published by the Chinese government which allegedly includes “do not” guidelines ranging from public nose-picking and stealing airplane life-jackets.
By Mandy Liang
[Image via Flickr]