Entrepreneurs, it is said, dream of selling a toothbrush to every Chinaman. My lunch companion is different. She dreams of selling them manners.
Eden Collinsworth plans to set up a finishing school in China, bringing deportment, etiquette and the essentials of civilised behaviour to the new generation of young thrusters. Stage one in her masterplan to teach one-third of the world how to eat soup without slurping, to give and receive compliments and to “disagree agreeably” is her new book The Tao of Increasing Your Likability, launched at the end of this month. It is in Chinese ? though I have been allowed to look at a translation ? and the publisher is one of China’s biggest private-sector players. Some powerful businessmen in the Middle Kingdom have clearly been charmed by Collinsworth’s own command of the social graces. As for her, she hopes to make a great deal of money. Or, to quote from an email she sends me some days after our lunch: “Simply put, the point of what I am doing in China isn’t just teaching manners, it’s pursuing a business opportunity.”
伊登?柯林沃斯计划在中国设立一所淑女培训学校。把举止、礼仪以及教养之精髓传授给雄心勃勃的新一代年轻人。她的新作《增加好感之道》(The Tao of Increasing Your Likability)不久后将正式推出，所提的第一步宏伟计划就是教会占全球人口三分之一的中国人做到如何喝汤时不出声，互相恭维以及“和而不同”。该书以中文出版??尽管本人获许一睹其译稿??其出版商是中国规模最大的民营出版公司。很显然，来自昔日中华帝国(the Middle Kingdom)的许多实力派商人被柯林沃斯本人的优雅风度所倾倒。就她本人而言，当然是希望能大赚一把；或引用共进午餐几天后她给本人所发邮件中的话：“一言以蔽之，我在中国所做的一切不仅仅是光教授礼仪，而是找寻商机。”
Collinsworth makes an unlikely emerging-market pioneer. An editor and one-time senior executive of the Hearst publishing empire, until recently she lived the life of a New York socialite, flitting elegantly between gallery openings and charity dinners.
Her last job was running the EastWest Institute, a New York-based international think-tank specialising in conflict resolution. There she mixed with statesmen, policy makers and do-gooding celebrities, haring between New York, Brussels and Moscow while discussing the latest thinking on arms control and cyber-security.
她来中国之前的最后一项工作是掌管纽约一家专门解决冲突的国际智库??东西方研究所(East West Institute)，整天忙着与政客、决策者以及积德行善的名人打交道，穿梭往来于纽约、布鲁塞尔以及莫斯科等城市，就军备控制与网络安全交流最新的心得。
Then, at the age of 58, she jacked it all in to seek her fortune in China. A little more than a year later, Collinsworth is living out of a suitcase in Beijing where ? despite speaking barely a word of Mandarin ? she has set out to become a sort of Martha Stewart, laying down the law on deportment and manners.
Running late on my way to our lunch at Caffè Caldesi, a small Italian restaurant just north of Oxford Street in London, I recall with alarm that a whole section of Collinsworth’s book is devoted to the importance of punctuality. “There is an expression in America, ‘Time is money,’?” it starts forbiddingly.
匆忙赶往午餐地Caffè Caldesi的路上，我猛然想起柯林沃斯新作《增加好感之道》中有一大章节专门讨论守时的重要性。“美国人常说，‘时间就是金钱，’”没想到我一开始就坏了规矩??约会迟到。Caffè Caldesi是伦敦牛津街(Oxford Street)北一家店面不大的意大利餐馆。
Collinsworth shrugs off my apologies, and even compliments me for emailing ahead to warn of possible lateness. “In terms of deportment, you did just fine,” she assures me. I feel inordinately pleased with myself, like a child who has been patted on the head.
Tall, elegant and sporting a startling shock of copper-coloured hair, Collinsworth styles herself more like one of Dorothy Parker’s co-conspirators at the Algonquin hotel in the 1920s than a boardroom operator from today’s Beijing.
柯林沃斯身材高挑、举止优雅，一头浓密的古铜色头发让人过目不忘。她的装扮，与其说像来自当今北京的某高管会议室的礼仪策划师，倒不如说就象上世纪20年代阿勒贡金酒店(Algonquin Hotel)沙龙中桃乐丝?帕克(Dorothy Parker)的那些“志同道合者”。
I am longing to skip the niceties and plunge in with a blunt question about what she thinks she is doing but first we have to order. “This is such a pleasure for me,” she says languidly as we scan the menu. “Just to have an inclusive role in deciding what to eat.” At the business dinners she attends in China, Collinsworth rarely gets to choose.
Not only does this mean she has to devour a profusion of dishes, clearly an ordeal for the X-ray-thin Collinsworth; it also exposes her to the risk of eating animal bits she would rather not think about, let alone consume. She still winces at the memory of ducklings’ tongues, which are “rather like the rubbers on the tips of pencils that you used to eat at school”.
The menu here contains no such excitements and Collinsworth chooses the lemon sole while I go for the saltimbocca alla romana. We order wine even though Collinsworth declares herself to have a featherlight head (“even ginseng sends me practically into a coma”). She asks for a glass of Pinot Grigio, while I have a deliciously inky Malvasia Nera Salento.
这儿的菜单可没有这些让人发怵的东西。柯林沃斯点了檬鲽，我则要了小牛肉火腿(saltimbocca alla romana)。我俩还点了酒，虽说柯林沃斯自称一喝酒就觉得头重脚轻（她甚至说：“服用人参甚至能让我昏昏欲睡”。）她要了一杯灰比诺酒(Pinot Grigio)，我则要了杯黑稠醇美的萨兰托马瓦西亚葡萄酒(Malvasia Nera Salento)。
Collinsworth’s book is basically a primer of modern western business etiquette ? the latest in a long tradition stretching from Castiglione’s The Courtier right up to Lucy Kellaway’s “Dear Lucy” column in this newspaper. There are sections on table manners or greeting someone (“The proper handshake between men should be brief. There should be strength and warmth in the clasp. You should look at the person whose hand you are taking.”)
柯林沃斯的新作基本上是介绍现代西方商业礼仪的初级读本??最新的版本洋洋洒洒介绍了礼仪之渊薮，从卡斯堤略内(Castiglione)的《朝臣》(The Courtier)到凯拉韦(Lucy Kellaway)在《金融时报》开办的 “亲爱的露西”专栏，不一而足。书中还有专门介绍餐桌礼仪以及如何问候的章节（“男士之间的握手应短促、有力与热情，而且目光要直视对方。”）
Although there is a fair amount of high tech ? email manners, phone manners ? much of the advice has a faintly sepia-tinted feel. For instance, when a woman holds her hand out to greet a man, Collinsworth advises, she should relax her arm and fingers “because it is customary among Europeans for the man to lift her hand and bow slightly”. There is a chapter on rudeness which advises against “spitting on the sidewalk, belching at the table or blowing your nose on anything other than a handkerchief”. Other traits singled out for admonition include treating “a salesperson, waiter or waitress as someone who is beneath you” and “not picking up after your dog on the sidewalk”.
Are the Chinese really going to buy into this stuff, I muse? After all, they have got pretty far without fretting about dog mess and the hurt feelings of underlings. And aren’t those who care about fish forks and handshakes already sending their children to expensive schools in England or Ivy League US universities where you learn western mores through direct emulation?
Collinsworth assures me that the interest is there. As part of her research she went round Chinese universities quizzing the young. “Students understand that as China opens up to the world, they are going to deal more and more with westerners,” she says. “They absolutely want to receive this information.”
Good deportment, she claims, is a way to avoid the social pitfalls that come from the Chinese not understanding western culture and vice versa. Collinsworth cites an example from her own experience. She struggled to set up a business meeting with a Chinese publisher because he didn’t want to set a precise time (“the whole afternoon was fine by him”) while she wouldn’t attend without one. The publisher was irritated by the misunderstanding; so was she.
“Getting it right is just a way to make sure you make the sale and boost the bottom line,” she says.
I am interested to know what questions the Chinese she has met want answered. “Surprising ones,” says Collinsworth. One subject was gay marriage. “To them it’s a complete abstraction but they wanted to know what I thought,” she says. And how did she answer? “Carefully.”
The book is aimed not at chief executives but at the many millions of young graduates who have grown up in the sprawl of China’s new cities ? first-generation products of its epic urbanisation. Collinsworth has a theory that the rapid transition from rural to urban life has led to what she calls a “social disconnect” among the urban young. While they know all about the latest communication technologies, mobiles, social media and so on, they lack “the comfort and confidence to interact, even within their own age group”. They know how to act but not how to be.
Her book, she thinks, will help them deal with each other as well as with westerners. After all, manners is not ultimately an east-west thing, as she points out: “It has to do with ...I suppose I am sounding ridiculously female, but it has to do with kindness, recognising, being sensitive to someone else’s background.”
Which is all lovely, of course, but why should the Chinese take lessons in sensitivity to background from a westerner who barely speaks their language? “I am not marketing the idea of western culture as in any way superior,” she insists.
The idea came from her son Gilliam. He spent two years in China while studying Mandarin at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, where he is still finishing a degree. He introduced her to Beijing life and attended every meeting with her Chinese publishers. It was a role reversal. “I became utterly dependent on him, which was kind of strange,” she says.
这个理念源自她的儿子吉列姆(Gilliam)，他在伦敦大学亚非学院(London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies)学习汉语时，曾到中国呆过两年时间，他目前仍在攻读学位。吉列姆给她介绍北京生活的相关情况，而且参加了她与中国出版商的每场洽谈会。这是个角色转变。“我完全依赖于他，这有点不可思议，”她说。
She admits that it has been unsettling moving from her comfortable New York existence to modern Beijing. When I ask if she could imagine staying there permanently, she shudders. “It would drive me mad,” she says, adding that China’s capital can seem like “something out of a Philip K Dick novel ? or from Blade Runner. You see the sun come up every morning and it looks like the moon.” The dust and pollution has even deprived her of her daily jog. “It’s like the air has got shards of something in it,” she says.
她承认：放弃纽约安逸的生活、来现代化的北京发展心里是惴惴不安的。我问她：对永久居住于北京如何设想？她显得不寒而栗，“那会让我疯掉，”她说，并补充说北京似乎就象“菲利普?迪克(Philip K Dick)的科幻小说与科幻影片银翼刺客(Blade Runner)所描绘的那样显得荒诞不经。每天早上，看到日出东方，但太阳却酷似月亮。”尘霾与污染甚至让她不得不放弃了每天的漫步。“空气中似乎放了各种小碎片似的，”她说。
The daughter of a Southern businessman and a Czech-born pianist, Collinsworth always possessed self-belief. After starting as a publisher’s receptionist in 1970s New York, she rose rapidly through the ranks and was by the early 1980s running a publishing house, Arbor House, editing the likes of Elmore Leonard, Anthony Burgess and Richard Nixon.
柯林沃斯的父亲是来自美国南部的商人，母亲是出生在捷克的画家，柯林沃斯总是充满了自信。上世纪70年代，她的首份工作是担任某出版公司的前台，此后不断获得提升，到上世纪80年代初，就已成为Arbor House出版公司的掌门人，负责出版艾尔莫?伦纳德(Elmore Leonard)、安东尼?伯吉斯(Anthony Burgess)以及理查德?尼克松(Richard Nixon)等重量级人物的著作。
Then, in 1990, she dropped that life and headed west to set up a magazine in Los Angeles, a Californian version of Vanity Fair. Buzz almost failed before it got going, when advertising dried up in the recession. “I was sitting in an empty office ? almost everything had been repossessed by the bailiffs ? when I got the call to say that we were going to be rescued,” she says. Although the magazine survived and attracted a following, it finally closed eight years later.
But a Californian start-up seems as child’s play compared with what she has taken on now. Collinsworth’s strategy is to write the book to establish herself as an authority on deportment before launching the school. This has the merit of minimising the ever-present threat of intellectual property infringement. “You can copy the programme but you can’t copy me,” she says, fixing me with her grey-green eyes.
I am on my best behaviour so I nod obediently but those she needs to attract to make her business fly ? a convention of spare-parts manufacturers from Hunan, say ? might wonder what’s in it for them. Collinsworth is convinced they will flock to her because what she offers ? a way to achieve better communication with westerners ? is good business. It will help Chinese companies to find more creative way of doing things, she believes, something that requires a different way of thinking ? a sense of empathy. “They have to get away from the Confucian method of rote learning if they are going to innovate,” she says.
Collinsworth is still picking at her fish and the waiter is hovering. It dawns on me that pudding is out of the question. I bet a Chinese tycoon would have gone ahead and ordered a double helping of tiramisu but I am too feebly western to dare.
We have moved on to the political sensitivities of doing business in China. Collinsworth explains how her book has been vetted by “the Information Office”. I am surprised the censors could find anything to object to. But no, they had two complaints. One was the word “Muslims”, which set off immediate alarm bells. “It’s as though you move into a no-fly zone of irrational anxiety,” she says. The other concern was an endorsement on the back from a public figure who had in the past supported the idea of democracy. “So I spoke to her and she said: ‘I am surprised that they would be bothered but if there’s a problem of course take me off.’”
I am struck by her readiness to kow-tow. “It’s foreign to me but I can’t have it both ways,” she explains briskly. “If I want to work with a Chinese publisher in China, writing a book for mainland Chinese, it would be unworldly of me to do anything else. It’s a deportment book.”
When we talk about the Bo Xilai case and the uncertainties for the foreigner doing business in China, she suspects Neil Heywood, the British businessman who died mysteriously in a Chongqing hotel room, to have been the author of his own misfortune. “He was clearly in way over his head,” she says. But how do you know when you are in over your own head in China, I ask. “I think you know it when someone is poisoning you.”
我俩谈到了薄熙来(Bo Xilai)事件与外国人在华经商面临的不确定因素，她怀疑神秘死于重庆某酒店客房的英国商人尼尔?海伍德(Neil Heywood)可能是搬起石头砸自己的脚。“很明显,e世博娱乐城，他做事太欠考虑，”她说。于是我问她，在中国，自己如何能知道何时考虑欠妥当？“我觉得当别人开始败坏你的名声时，你就应该明白了。”
The lunch reaches its conclusion. Collinsworth dabs her lips with a napkin as the waiter brings the bill. She thanks me politely, and takes her leave, anxious not to be late for her next meeting. It is only when the waiter moves to take away her plate that I realise how deftly she has given the impression of lunching, without actually eating or drinking anything at all.
Jonathan Ford is the FT’s chief leader writer
Caffè Caldesi餐馆地址：伦敦W1 马里尔伯恩街118号
118 Marylebone Lane
Saltimbocca alla romana ?19.00
Sogliola alla mugnaia ?22.50
Glass Malvasia Nera Salento ?6.00
Glass Pinot Grigio Banfi ?7.30
Double espresso ?2.60