The Chinese show great deference to those they consider elderly and are always wanting to help them. In this culture, I qualify as elderly. When people even a tad younger go walking with me, they are inclined to grab me by the arm and guide me. This is supposed to connote protectiveness and respect. To me, it feels like they're shoving me around. The woman in the above picture tried to "guide" me through Yentai on a snowy day. Her English is limited-- she is the friend of a friend. She was helping me bargain in the downtown shops.
Older Chinese ladies walk in tandem with the person guiding them. Since I am American, I have not acquired this skill, nor do I want to. I was polite to the woman when she took my arm, though I did feel crowded. Then, as we moved across an ice patch, she upset my balance and nearly knocked me off my feet. I yelled at her. Her feelings were hurt. She got my friend on the phone, and we straightened out the misunderstanding.
People keep saying Americans are exceptionally independent. I have learned to agree. Then I tell I don't like to ask for help. "The day I ask, you'll know I am really in trouble." As a consequence, people jump out of their skins on the few occasions I ask for help. The lady in the international office who negotiated for my airline tickets seemed more upset about the problem than I was.