Come On Beijing! No Spitting On the Olympics

Beijing is trying to clean up its act before the 2008 Olympics. I’ve been to Beijing multiple times (in fact I’ll be there tomorrow!) and all I have to say is: Good luck with that!!

No Spitting on the Road to Olympic Glory, says the New York Times. The article discusses some common issues that confront the government as they prepare for the games, among them spitting, littering, not waiting in line and bad English translations.

Chinese are hawkers and spitters. They love it. It is ritual of everyday life. Hardly anyone views it as unacceptable. It is something you get used to. You just know that you are supposed to keep one eye on the pavement to miss the spit slicks. (and the other eye open for potential bicycle-car-pedestrian collisions.)

Chinese are also queue jumpers. Why wait in line?

Chinese used to be big litterers, but I notice they do that a little less these days. (Doesn’t look like it from the view to the side of my apartment building, though. What do you think of this little toxic pond?)

Toxic Ditch

Okay, sorry for that pic. EEwww. This is going to be terrible in the summer. I don’t even want to think about the smell…

Chinese translate signs and menus into Chinglish. It is fashionable to have English on your business, even if it makes no sense. Chinglish often delights expats. I know I would be beside myself with joy if I were to come across a translation like this: (mentioned in the NY Times article. If you don’t read the article, at least scroll down to the last paragraph and read this gem.)

Some translations are trickier, like describing pullet, which is a hen less than a year old but appears on some menus as Sexually Inexperienced Chicken.

If I saw that on the menu, you’d better believe that menu would be leaving with me! I think something will be missing from Beijing if they take all the Chinglish away! Although, personally, I could really do without the spitting.


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