There are many differences between China and Western cultures, from overall lifestyle to individual demeanor. The comic artist Tiny Eyes, aka Siyu, is chronicling them in her ongoing series of sequential art that highlights some of the things that she, as someone born and raised in Beijing, has experienced when communicating with people in the United States, France, and England. Through simple line drawings and a biting wit, she illustrates the impressions that the different cultures have of one another and their idiosyncrasies.
The comics about China and Western culture focus on the likes of food, familial relationships, and the assumptions we make about one another. In one two-panel drawing, Siyu highlights just how complicated French cutlery is when compared to Chinese utensils. In France, there are no less than eight forks, knives, and spoons needed to enjoy a meal, but in China, a pair of chopsticks will work for every course.
Another illustration comments on the dramatic differences in dorm life between England, the U.S., and China. Comprising three individuals, the British student is appalled that the American would have to share a dorm room with one person, while the Chinese student is amazed that the American only shares it with a single roommate. Of this comic, Siyu writes, “This lack of privacy must be shocking for some of you, but in a country with 1.3 billion population, space is always a problem.” While inconvenient, sharing a room with five other people helped her learn about “communication, responsibilities, and tolerance.”
Although originally from China, Siyu has spent the last 10 years abroad, through studying, working, and simply traveling. “Many people that I met were curious about China,” she explains, “but their impressions of China would end up with words like ‘communist,’ ‘pollution’ and ‘no Facebook.’ While many facts are true, the contemporary, living and multifaceted Chinese life [are] rarely heard of.” The Tiny Eyes comics are her way of sharing Chinese culture through the lens of everyday life. “To me, learning about other cultures has always been a fun experience, and I want to pass this feeling to people who are curious about China.”
In comics about China and Western culture, artist Tiny Eyes, aka Siyu, shares her observations between them. (Including writing.)
Some are related to food…
… while others point to overall differences in demeanor.
My Modern Met granted permission to use images by Tiny Eyes.
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