- Babies shitting all over public walkways, subway stations and trains
- Entire waves of cars idly cruising through red lights
- 10+ phones ringing during each cinema sitting
- People completely oblivious to anyone walking towards them, ram out of way regardless of space
- Using a small child to skip in front in a queue, save the spot and then bring the entire family to their ‘rightful’ place in line
Just a few things that spring to mind when I think of Chinese culture.
Ok, sure, there are reasons and excuses:
- Nappies are expensive
- Lack of education
- Too large a population to control
- Only recently open to the international community
- Cars are…too fast to stop?
But they just don’t justify anything. If it’s too expensive to buy a nappy (diaper), and there isn’t enough time to rush your kid to the bathroom, for crying out loud at least take him to the SIDE of the street or walkway. If the kid is sitting in the train and lets loose on your lap, as I witnessed, GET OFF THE TRAIN. Don’t just sit there, slip a couple of paper map handouts under its arse and continue the journey for all to smell.
This is not an ‘education’ issue. This is a ‘common decency’ issue. Something that is innate in all human beings. It is intrinsic to an intelligent, social species.
You’re from the countryside and don’t know how the city etiquette works? What on earth are you doing with that smartphone? You found it and are using this cinema time to figure out how it works by testing the ringtones?
You’re all, simultaneously late for work – including taxi drivers – and can’t stop for irrelevant human beings crossing the road? Well, go die in a hole.
I’m sorry but I’ve been to and lived in much poorer, more underdeveloped places than Shanghai, the most developed and westernized city in China. This isn’t culture, it’s carelessness, it’s thoughtlessness, it’s ‘me first’ and ‘f*ck everyone else’.
I do not hate China, nor do I hate Chinese people or think I am better than they are. But as we all know, it’s far more interesting and fun to complain than it is to talk about nice things.
The food is great, the travel is cheap, there’s almost an endless supply of places to go and things to see, the people are – despite how they sound – mostly pretty friendly and open to foreigners. The great majority are atheist (good for people like me, anyway). The streets feel mostly safe, the language is simple to learn but challenging enough to be interesting, the girls are pretty, the weather is great and so on.
Conversely, in England, the streets feel dangerous, the language is a pain in the arse, the majority are religious, they are idiots and suspiciously incestuous, the weather is lousy, the girls are (I’m going to stop here before people I know over there start kicking off).
So there. I hate and love a little bit of every place. But right now I’m in the mood to tell China to get a fricking grip and stop shitting in front of the train doorway for me to step on. Buy a nappy, wait 30 seconds to get out or find the nearest corner and warn people. Dogs and cats can be taught to hold it. So can humans.
Stop making life worse for everyone else and start spending 2 seconds a day considering others around you. Stop risking the life of countless pedestrians and wait 30 seconds for the light to go green. Even the CEO of China isn’t important enough to avoid this rule.
If you own a smartphone, you are not from a place so alien to universal etiquette that you just can’t fathom it. It takes 2 seconds to learn the crazy, outlandish concept of ‘silent mode’ on phones.
If you are in a queue, you QUEUE. If you are in a wrestling match then by all means, push forward. Otherwise, I hope you get run over by your peers.