Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's That? Wednesday 09/07/11

The "ming pian" (pronounced ming pee-in) is essential to life in China.  A ming pian is a business card or a person's name card.  In a country where the citizens don't all speak the same dialect, Westerners can't read the Chinese characters, and businesses and restaurants are here today, but gone tomorrow, ming pians are a life-saver.

Any time I go to a store or restaurant, or meet a new person, I try to ask for a ming pian.  I keep all of my cards in a flip book and then I can show the card to my driver or a taxi driver and off we go.  In fact, the local expat association has their own set of "taxi cards" printed, color-coded, and arranged on a ring.  I always have those in my purse and use them often.  Everything is grouped together by topic such as restaurants, hotels, shopping, medical, etc.

There is a polite way to accept a ming pian from someone.  When presented with a business card, the receiver should take the card with both hands, thumbs on top of the card.

Ming pians are so useful that I am having some made for myself from a local printing company.  It really is such a smart idea and I think I might continue using them after we return to the States.

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