Me and Chairman Mao
  Survey says ...
I just saw an article on Yahoo! about things that people living in Beijing hate the most about living here. Not surprisingly, the rampant spitting was number one on the list. Although I think I'm starting to have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it's a gross, disgusting habit that not only contributes to the spread of disease, but makes setting your bag down anywhere a dicey proposition, and as for wheely bags--well, just forget about those entirely; on the other hand, when you live and walk around in a city with pollution this bad, sometimes you just need to clear things out, if you know what I mean, and it's kind of handy to be able to do it wherever you happen to be when the need strikes. Judge me if you will, but you try living here for six months and see if you don't start doing it.

Anyway, here's some quotes from the article, so you'll know I'm not just making these things up, in case there was any doubt. Notice also the way they say people need to learn how to "stand in line." Um ... isn't that what elementary school is for? Just wondering ....

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing residents say spitting in public is what they can't stand most about living in the Chinese capital ... "Beijing residents say spitting is what they hate most about living in the city," it said, adding nearly two out of three respondents said they often saw people spit on the street and at public places like bus and rail stations.

The city has rules against spitting in public which are rarely enforced.

Beijing has launched a campaign to make its citizens more "civil" in the run up to hosting the 2008 Olympics, and games organizers have repeatedly said the city needs to teach its people to stand in line, stop spitting and littering and generally be better mannered.

But past efforts to stamp out the spitting habit, like a 2003 campaign to help curb the spread of SARS, have not been very effective, partly because many people believe clearing the lungs and firing away is good for your health.

And to think, I just thought it was convenient--I didn't know it was good for my health as well. That's just a bonus, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe I should try to bring the practice back to the US? I think it could catch on ...
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