Avoiding cross cultural gaffes
September 24, 2006 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Chinese Hong Kong audience: What should I take into account when designing a PowerPoint presentation for an academic to present in Hong Kong?

I am Australian, as is the academic and the field she is presenting in is education and more specifically "lifelong learning." The event will have a Cantonese interpreter so I needn't be concerned with bilingual text. Are there any images or styles of graphic that are a big no-no? What questions should I be asking that, in my ignorance, I am not?
posted by b33j to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
It should go without saying that all your material should avoid any racial or political overtones. Given the colonial legacy, HKers are hypersensitive to anything that insults Chinese or Asians.

Apart from that, given Hong Kong's centuries old status as the crossroads of Asia, the average HKer is much more urbane, cosmopolitan and worldly-wise than the average Australian or American. Plus all the exposure to western culture has made most HKers well attuned to the western sense of humour.

So don't worry, your HK audience will give you lots of leeway with anything that isn't overtly offensive -- if there are any awkward moments they'll just chalk it up to you being a foreigner who doesn't know better, and they won't take any real offence.
posted by randomstriker at 3:31 PM on September 24, 2006

HKers are hypersensitive to anything that insults Chinese or Asians.

I guess I should elaborate exactly what I mean by this part. An HKer would be especially insulted by anything that suggests that the superiority and dominance of the white man. Avoid that and you'll do just fine.
posted by randomstriker at 3:34 PM on September 24, 2006

Here are some general...very general... colour connotations for the Chinese culture. I say very general because even among Chinese there are vast differences. So take with a grain of salt from a child-of-Hong-Kong Chinese.

RED - wedding, happiness, joy, new years, celebration - pretty much used for big deal kind of happiness

WHITE - kind of old fashioned connotations of funeral and death, still fairly common, but not necessarily with a young, hip crowd

BLACK - death also, from Western culture influences

GREEN - associated with youth/growth

YELLOW - still has imperial overtones (was a colour worn exclusively by the Emperor for years), superiority, but chic and hip too

Just some random thoughts.
posted by typewriter at 10:10 PM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks randomstriker & typewriter.
posted by b33j at 12:37 AM on September 25, 2006

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