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Re^4: Helping Chinese Colleagues Learn Perl

by RaptorRex (Acolyte)
on Dec 06, 2007 at 09:18 UTC ( [id://655321]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^3: Helping Chinese Colleagues Learn Perl
in thread Helping Chinese Colleagues Learn Perl

I just finished a year in Beijing leading a team that was relatively new to Perl.
I think you might find some cultural aspects a bit surprising or frustrating. I won't say what they are so I won't be called a racist. I will say that Chinese team member open explain to me that "this is the way things are here".
So here are some things you can do that might help:
  • be very firm with documentation requirements (maybe shy about bad English)
  • strongly encourage the sharing of code and discussion about it
  • remind them that it is ok that they disagree with you
  • there is no social safety net in China. One Chinese colleague told me, and this is verbatim, "If you lose your job you die".
  • Do not use negative questions!!! This is the biggest cause of confusion my first few weeks until I figured out they didn't understand them. Then I had to remember to stop using them. Negative questions is an example of where English is logically wrong. For example, "That utility is not done in perl?". If the utility was NOT done in perl, you would answer "No". This makes sense to us English speakers, but a native Chinese speaker will answer logically, "yes" to agree with the sentence that the utility was not done in Perl. You can read more about negative questions here:

    Negative questions got to be a bit of a laugh once everyone was in on the joke. I would ask negatively, see their confusion, then quickly repeat the question in the positive form. It was always worth a chuckle.

That is all I can think of now. If you have any questions let me know. What city are you working in?
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