Hello everyone. Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese.
In many western countries I have been to, drinking alcohol is a very important part of life. For example, in the UK, all of my colleagues would go to the pub and drink every Friday. Young people who go to universities also like drinking alcohol and often drink alcohol. For them, drinking alcohol is a relaxing thing. It's socialisation as well as entertainment. In China, drinking alcohol is also very important in life.
Where does the Chinese people’s habit of drinking alcohol originate from? In fact, on the potteries with 7000 years of history, there were some Chinese characters of alcohol. In Chinese ancient literature, there were also some poems and articles about alcohol. There was a poet called Li Bai, who could write really good poems when he was particularly drunk. He once wrote, ‘life must be happy and don’t make your alcohol cup empty to the moon’, which means that our lives are very short and we must be happy. We must not make the cup empty when it’s facing the moon. Ancient Chinese people love drinking towards the moon, which was very romantic.
Nowadays, if we ask Chinese people, ‘do you drink alcohol’, lots of people will say yes. However, if we ask, ‘do you like drinking alcohol, they might not say yes, and some of them even hate drinking alcohol but have to drink it.
In China, there is lots of business that is negotiated around the dining table. Many companies would have to drink alcohol when they are talking about business. Only if they drink enough alcohol, they would be happy to talk about their business. Therefore, some staff in of some companies have to drink alcohol for their business. If they don’t drink enough and their customers are not happy, they can’t get the business. Many people get stressed because of drinking alcohol and sometimes they have to get drunk, which is not good for their health.
Some east Asian countries, for example, China, South Korea, and Japan, have the culture of persuading people other people to drink alcohol. In some countries, if people are dining out with their boss, they will be persuaded to drink. If they don’t drink or haven’t drunk enough, the boss would think that you are not ‘giving him/her face’, which means to lose his/her face, to make him awkward. Therefore, staff often feel there is lots of pressure when they are dining out with their boss.
My father often went out to drink when I was little. He was not a businessman neither a staff of a company. He was a policeman but also had the pressure to socialise and lots of dining parties that he had to go to. He had to drink alcohol there. I didn’t like him drinking when I was little, because he didn’t like it at all but often got drunk. That was doing harm to his health.
My father was only one example. In fact, drinking alcohol can be a very happy thing. Drinking and chatting with friends is so relaxing. However, if drinking became a task of socialization, this will not be fun.
Back to our question: do Chinese people love drinking alcohol? I think yes, they do, and the culture of Chinese alcohol also has a long history. However, there are many Chinese people who don’t like drinking, because quite often drinking is just to ‘give other people (boss) face’.