Recently, I met up with a couple of friends who worked together on a theatre play last spring/summer.
As we were casually chatting about having lost touch since our previous gathering, the PRC Chinese lady AH declared to group that ethnic Chinese make friends with a purpose in mind.
[Note: I think she was referring to friends who would be beneficial to one's goals, that is 有利用价直。]
She also claimed that it is rare for an ethnic Chinese, to be like me, who sees a friend as a whole (holistic) person, beyond business and/or networking purposes. And she explained that she compartmentalizes her friends into "for theatre contact only", "for academic studies only", "for business contact only", etc.
I told her that my behaviour could be a Singaporean thing-y -- we mixed around regardless of language, race or religion and the environment that we grew up in wasn't so competitive. I also added quickly that Singapore has changed a lot in the past 20 years.
Frankly, I think my PRC friend/acquaintance was trying to justify her own behaviour and those of the PRCs she know. Haha! :-D Thanks to her candidness and my past dealings with her, I have mentally downgraded her from "friend" to "just an acquaintance". For me, there is a difference between friendship and purpose-driven networking.
IMHO, not all PRCs are like her (thank goodness!). From personal experience, I have had PRC friends who came through for me in times of need/crisis. PRC friends who have interests and pursuits not related to furthering their financial goals or social prestige. I guess "birds of a feather flock together".
At the end of a recent gathering for a theatre awards event, AH complained to me and another theatre friend that she had lost quite a number of friends in B.C., Canada, because of her 2 trips back to China. While I don't know about her other friends, IMHO, chances are her friends "left" her not because of her two long periods of absence.