Fun thing of hostels is that you meet new people. On our 3rd night at the hostel we were invited by a Taiwanese man (i will call him Mike for the story) to drink some strong alcohol and beer together. Since I am a girl, I got a mixed down version: 38% with something like Sprite. Lazy Bear is a guy, so he and Mike drank it as it is.
Chinese drinking customs
Usually in a Western country you say ‘cheers’ and drink a sip. But in Taiwan (and China) you say ‘gan bei’, which means ‘dry/empty cup’. That means you have to finish the whole cup. If you have a big mug, like they had, then you will need to finish alot when ‘gan bei’. It’s not fun to finish drinking so fast. So Mike and Lazy Bear didn’t ‘gan bei’. (I think that’s why you usually serve the hard liquor in small cups, so you can easily ‘gan bei’.)
Mike said that if the cups touch, that means empty your cup. If you don’t let them touch, you can drink how much you want.
Also in Asia there are white knights (or heroes). When a lady can’t finish her alcohol, someone else can be her white knight and finish for her. In the Netherlands we would say: why would you order it then, when you can’t finish? But usually ladies are peer-pressured to join the drinking. Because sociallizing is all about the drinking right? …
There is also a sort of friendship respect when drinking in Asia. You drink 1 cup, I drink 1 cup. You drink the same amount as the other. When you can’t finish your part, that means you are weak? Or not showing respect to the other? Lazy Bear had some trouble finishing his beer and Mike made a joke, suggesting he would drink it. In the Netherlands we have no problem sharing your beer, but in Asia it’s not done, I guess. You have to finish your own alcohol. Mike told me that Lazy Bear has no shame (厚脸皮 thick face skin), but I said it’s normal in the Netherlands to help drink for a friend.
Interesting drinking culture differences….
Found some info about drinking customs
‘Because Chinese social drinking is an expression of friendship, no cup is ever raised publicly without another’s being lifted in companionship. If a person feels like taking a sip of his wine, he first must glance around the table, catch the eye of someone else, then raise his cup in an inviting gesture.’ Source.
Nowadays the drinking is more relaxed in China, says mum. You don’t need to ‘gan bei’ if you don’t want to. You can just ‘shui yi’, drink casual, how much you want. Because you don’t want to make people sick or create a drunk accident.