It seems that Beijing is gearing itself up for the Olympics next year. As I understand it, the infrastructure for the massive event is in place and the New York Times is reporting that the only thing left is to convince the people to straighten out their act. Much as a mother angrily entreats her children to just BEHAVE! (for once in their miserable ungrateful little lives) before company comes over to the house and the mortified Mom must watch in red-faced embarrassment as her wayward hellion pees in a juice cup and eats a jar of paste, the Chinese is government is trying to teach its citizens not to humiliate it on the world stage.
One of the problems seems to be a preponderance of public spitting. I have never been to Beijing, but I buy the assertion that the Chinese are born spitters. I live in the city of San Francisco, which has a huge and thriving Chinese population who bring some wonderful culture and a whole lotta loogies. Every trip through Chinatown involves stepping around the little phlegm smears that cover the pavement. They don’t put those on the travel channel. Spitting and hocking are my constant soundtrack as I wait for the Stockton street bus and I can only imagine how much more intense it is over there.
My favorite part of the article? A man named Wang is on a personal mission to put a stop to all the expectoration. He has started a “Woodpecker” movement to clean things up. Money quote:
“I spent six months trying to figure out how to stop people from
spitting,” Mr. Wang said. “I first wanted to wipe their spit up myself,
but just how much could I wipe? So I decided the best way was to ask
the spitting person to stop.”