Wealthy Chinese children take class to learn Western table manners

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/6/20 18:46:43

A girl learns how to properly hold a fork at a Western etiquette course held at the high-end KEEClub in Shanghai on May 21. Photo: IC


Children from wealthy families and their parents learn table manners. Photo: IC 


An etiquette tutor teaches children how to correctly use their cutlery. Photo: IC


A teenager poses for a photo, fork in hand. Photo: IC


Two boys look at a dish served by a waitress. Photo: IC 

Gracefully cutting a steak, bearing in mind the proper technique and carefully holding their knife and fork in the way they were taught to by British etiquette tutors, a select group of wealthy Shanghai children recently learned how to become like European princes and princesses.

This Western etiquette course held at the high-end KEEClub in Shanghai last month cost 2,800 yuan ($426) for three hours.

Children accompanied by their parents were taught Western table manners, such as which pieces of cutlery should be used for which courses.

It's uncertain whether a three-hour course can transform them into real little ladies and gentlemen. But similar etiquette training courses have been gaining popularity in China, along with the rapidly expanding class of nouveau riche and the middle class's increasing opportunities to do business and travel abroad.

These people are now looking to possess elite manners, not just luxury brands, to signify their social status. To cash in on this demand, James Hebbert from the UK, who hosted this etiquette course, started teaching Chinese people elite Western etiquette several years ago.

Hebbert told the media that his business has been a great success and his students include rich children, business owners and even some government officials who want to learn how to behave properly while on foreign trips.

As there are regular reports about Chinese tourists' bad manners, many people think that learning Western etiquette can improve China's international image. But some argue that it is unnecessary, claiming it is better to uphold Chinese manners and learn etiquette from real interactions rather than classes.

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