Beijing spitting

Mar 9th, 2006, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
This is my first time on this forum, but I think it's going to be as informative about tourists/visitors to China as it is about China. It still amazes me that we insist on viewing the world through our own cultural/ ethnic set of goggles without understanding that that's what is happening. Truth would seem to be subjective afterall. Spitting is not as acceptable by "polite" company in China as it would seem to be from the high level of occurrence. You won't find it happening in Taiwan too often, or the more commercial areas of Hong Kong, and Singapore. Spitting to the Chinese is just lower on the cultural totem pole of concerns. It's become an acceptable bad habit encouraged by pollution. The Chinese are increasingly aware of the hazards of unsanitary spitting and air pollution. Hopefully, both will be minimalized in the future. It'll all go the way of the rickshaw and then you'll all be sorry. I also find little credence in the anthropologic theory that the race is simply more prone to sinus problems. That's like saying my next door Caucasian neighbor with the huge brow and deep-set eyes sees in perpetual dim shade. And as for squatting... hey, have you tried it while waiting? Kids squat all over the world. Why? 'Cause it's more comfortable than standing and waiting. As we grew up in this society, we were taught not to squat because (for whatever reason) it's deemed unseemly. As adults, most of us have lost the flexibility and the musculature to squat comfortably. So you all can stand there shifting from foot to foot bearing the discomfort. I'm just plain jealous I can't squat comfortably while waiting.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
At first I was outraged when people blatantly cut into my queue (line), but after a while I noticed that locals didn't seem to worry about it. Why that was, I never worked out, but I decided there was no point getting my blood pressure up about it. I also had to admit that unless our cabbies cut in on other traffic we'd never have got anywhere. Actually we were impressed by the fatalism of Chinese drivers and the absence of road rage.

Another habit that can be disconcerting to foreigners is the use of mobile phones in the middle of a theatrical performance or concert. I assumed that this was a hangover from the behaviour of audiences at traditional opera performances, which apparently was pretty much the same as 16th-17th century English theatregoers.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,281
I think its hilarious when you see some guy holding one nostril and blowing mucus out the other. Just seeing the horror of on-lookers is priceless
Mango7 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2006, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,984
I had ignored this post, thinking it was one of those troll posts. I read many years ago that the origin of the frequency of spitting in China had to do with a traditional belief that spirits in the back of the throat (apparently manifest as phlegm) caused disease and had to be gotten rid of by spitting. I have no idea whether this is true or not. Any Chinese on the board care to comment?

By the way, the worst spitting I've seen was in Kathmandu.
Kathie is offline  
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