Thursday, November 03, 2011

I just want to drink ALONE

Not - usually - in the sense of shunning all companionship. No, I generally prefer some company and conversation with my drink.

But I do cherish my autonomy - in drinking as in everything else. I like to be able to take a drink on my own, to be independent of others in regard to when and what and how much and how fast I drink.

Unfortunately, this is anathema to Chinese drinking culture.

Nowhere, I find, is China’s collectivist mentality more oppressive than in regard to drinking. Drinking rituals here are all about toasting and counter-toasting. Above all, no-one must ever drink alone; every time you want to take a sip, you're supposed to raise your glass to somebody else. And other people will keep raising their glasses to you, if they think you're not drinking enough.

It can be a royal pain-in-the-arse.

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