All posts by Jingping Zhang

Time and punctuality

British people are very strict when it comes to punctuality.In Britain people make a great effort to be on time ,and  it is considered to be  impolite to be late, even a  few minutes.If you are delayed ,be sure to inform the person you are supposed to  meet .There are many situations when you are obliged to be punactual.For formal dinners, lunches or appointments, you always come at the exact time appointed.For public meetings, plays,concerts,movies,sporting events, classes,church services, and weddings, it is best to arrive a few minutes early.You can arrive any time during the hours specified for teas,receptions and cocktail parties.

Even though in Britain it is common to hear expressions like “drop in anytime””come to see me soon”.Believe it or not ,if you are really casual about time ,the host will end up with fury.During my stay in Brighton,I am really impressed by my hostess’s attitude towards time.Once I went back home late after dinner time without telling her.The old lady got very angry.It was the first time I realized the importance of punctuality in their mind.It is hard for Chinese like me to imagine that we need to make sure the schedule with my hostess even a week before.Compare with Chinese,our attitude towards time are much more casual,but I bet you can’t be late for an exam ,a movie or an important meeting.

Yesterday  I talked with my hostess  about time and punctuality.The old lady answered me in a serious tone.”Jamie,You know being punctual is a kind of respect ,but we are still flexiable,for example ,if you are really in an emergency or in a traffic jam,being late is ok.But you must call me in advance so that I won’t wait for you”.From this perspective,we Chinese and British are the same.We are both  flexiable about time and punctuality in terms of somehing unexpected.

Talking about time and punctuality,we still need to reflect a lot.I traveled with some foreigners during  my stay in the UK,they are Koreans ,Spanish,Japanese different nationalities.What surprised me most is that Chinese are always the last to come.It doesn’t mean that I blame our compatriots.But it really shows we need to make some improvement and we should never put ourselves in the first place.Being punctual should be a habit and a good manner embedded in our mind.