kewms wrote:Meanwhile, the advantage of text communication -- email, text messaging, blogging -- is that it's asynchronous. If someone sends me an email, I can think it over at my leisure, and respond appropriately. I can control when (and if) my day is interrupted. And doing so is considered normal and polite, where routinely ignoring your phone is considered eccentric at best.
In China, that is an understatement. Not only is it eccentric not to answer your phone immediately ... and many, many people have two or even three of the damn things ... there are many professors at the university who will always answer their phone if it rings in the middle of a lecture they are giving ... but texting has risen to new heights ... of danger*.
It is now common to see drivers texting while driving. My Chinese "daughter" appalled me the other week. She has an iPhone; iPhones/iTouches allow you to enter Chinese by handwriting recognition. She was round at my place, we were enjoying a conversation and a message came through, so she responded immediately ... normal here, and I have had to learn to put up with continued interruptions from her phone while we are together ... she's a journalist and it goes non-stop. I commented on how fast she was able to enter characters with handwriting recognition. She said:
"Yes, it's very fast, but when I'm driving I have to use pinyin (roman transcription used as one entry method) and that's so slow!"
* An American friend told me that either the laws on phoning while driving are less draconian than in the UK, or that they are more honoured in the breach. In the UK, my wife tells me, you can now face a heavy fine and points on your licence for eating something like an apple while at the wheel, leave alone being anywhere near a mobile phone.