Interesting post over at From the West Courtyard. The author uses fruit (peaches and coconuts, to be specific) as metaphor for the differing views of relationships that Chinese and Americans typically have.
In China, overlap in relationships is diffuse. In other words, a coworker is welcomed into the network of private family relationships. Much like a coconut, once somebody breaks into the relationship they have full access to anyone in that person’s network. Breaking in isn’t easy; to those outside the outer shell a Chinese person may not be particularly friendly. However, once trust has been built, a Chinese person wouldn’t think twice about helping a co-worker or business associate with a connection to one of their family members.
The post sketches out some preliminary implications for cross-cultural communications. It might even be interesting to ask your Chinese friends what they think about peaches and coconuts (the metaphor, not the fruit…). Considering what implications these different views on relationships have on ministry to Chinese international students would likely be well worth the time spent.
Check out the original post here.