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Home >> EAS FAQs >> What is a Tai Tai? (pronounced tie-tie)
What is a Tai Tai? (pronounced tie-tie)

You may have noticed that the EAS offers TaiTai activities. These activities are generously organised and sponsored by the Suzhou Municipal Government and their aim is to educate, interest and amuse the non-working spouses of hard-working expats.
A TaiTai was traditionally the senior wife of a wealthy man, distinguishing her from the other wives.
These days it is taken to mean a “lady who lunches” or a non-working (as in not employed) wife.
It can also be used in the same way we use Mrs/Frau/Fru/Madame in front of our husband’s name to indicate our marital status. Chinese women do not change their family name upon marriage, so the only way to indicate that they “belong” to their husband is to use the title TaiTai. TaiTai comes after the family name, ie Mrs Smith is Smith TaiTai.
TaiTai is sometimes used in a light-hearted manner to indicate a lady who shops, lunches, goes to spas, gossips, plays mah-jong and generally lives a self-indulgent lifestyle. However a TaiTai also does charity work and cares for her children!
In Suzhou, most accompanying wives do not have the opportunity to undertake paid employment. We are therefore considered to be TaiTais and we do enjoy lunches, shopping, spas and mah-jong (and gossip) but we also undertake charity work in the local community and are very conscious of our role in looking after our families in what can be a challenging environment. We have the unique opportunity to make friends from many countries and cultures and to learn about Chinese culture.
TaiTai can have different connotations in different contexts, but the EAS TaiTais are proud of the title and enjoy our TaiTai activities and trips.

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