Sara Jane Ho right , an etiquette specialist,demonstrating to her students the etiquette of dining at a Western restaurant at Park Hyatt Hotel in Beijing.
A recent course to teach Chinese nouvelle riche women etiquette has boosted Jiang's confidence. She learned European etiquette through real-life practice, from handshaking, folding napkins and how to walk elegantly in heels. Sara Jane Ho, a Beijing-based etiquette specialist and founder of Institute Sarita, brought what she learned from Switzerland's last traditional finishing school to China to create Western-style table manners, business etiquette, appropriate dressing and hostess skills.
Of a class of 30 students, there are only two or three Europeans. Most of them were from developing countries, she recalled. As China's economy grows, Chinese citizens are getting richer, creating an explosion in Sino-foreign exchanges on citizen-to-citizen levels in recent years, Ho said. Negative media reports and shared stories from her overseas friends about Chinese misbehaving abroad prompted Ho to bring the concept of etiquette to China.
I do believe if they go on to change people around them we can create an etiquette movement.
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Her school currently only recruits female students. Most of them are second generation rich or wives from wealthy families and some are top business professionals from the private sector and even State-owned enterprises.
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Some of my students work at State-owned enterprises and they are keen to interact with foreigners and to establish the rules of courtesy," she said. The fact the individual is so interested in learning is a very positive sign for the Chinese economy. Ho said her school will teach her students about self conservation and help them understand why they do what they are doing. It is a daily practice or a rehearsal," she said.
Practice makes perfect.
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She gave an example, placing a knife blade on the plate in front her. You don't want to face your neighbor with it. Behind every seemingly superficial move is a Chinese value of consideration and selflessness. Ho said her school is also developing courses to include Chinese culture such as preparing tea and calligraphy. Ho's student Jiang said learning Western etiquette shows respect for people around her. But if you start behaving yourself, other people will not feel easy being rude to you," she said. When Christopher Clark opened the Ritz-Carlton in Sanya, in South China's Hainan province, he selected 12 people to form the first butler team in the country's most famous island resort.
The Chinese butlers learned how to serve tea, how to pack a suitcase and how to handle bookings for guests staying at their luxury villas and executive lounges.
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Guests, including chief executive officers and senior business professionals, like such personal attention. The nature of butler service is understanding and trust, said Clark. The craftsmanship of a butler lies beyond skill and experience. The sessions were held for about 25 students from each level on three different days, and each meeting was led by Nia Brown of Majestic Etiquette in Douglasville.
And the questions the students asked were really good. Brown, who recently became a certified consultant through the National School of Etiquette and Protocol, has been conducting etiquette training for girls for several years and found the Douglas students were enthusiastic learners.
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Giving youngsters an insight into what those employers expect in the way of professional behavior was a key component of the class. North was pleased that the focus of the class was as much about being respectful and considerate of others as it was about navigating a place setting. Support real journalism. Support local journalism.
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