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Chinese Tourists Are Tossing Their Garbage Into South Korean Mailboxes

Posted: 01/16/2015 10:00 am
korean mailbox

Written in Chinese: “This is not a garbage can.”

It’s always hard to fault someone for having good intentions, and there aren’t many other groups as derided as Chinese tourists when traveling abroad. But even when they try and do the right thing, sometimes it’s completely wrong.

This is the case in South Korea where a newspaper is reporting that Chinese tourists visiting Seoul are in the habit of mistakenly disposing their garbage into the capital’s mailboxes.

The Korean Daily reported on January 9 that the problem has gotten so bad that mailboxes located in front of the Lotte Department Store need to clean out 10 liters worth of garbage every week. Over at the entrance to East Peace Gate Plaza, the situation is less severe, with two to three liters of garbage every week piling up.

While this could be an honest mistake made by any foreign visitor to South Korea, it looks to be a particularly Chinese problem. The trash includes cigarette butts, orange peels, and opened sunflower seeds which are commonly associated with Chinese tourists.

As embarrassing as this may be, a Chinese report explains Chinese tourists may not totally be at fault. It says there is a lack of proper signage for Chinese tourists and few public garbage cans in South Korea. In fact, South Koreans are in the habit of taking their garbage home with them, or giving it to a shop or restaurant.

The Chinese report further explains that the situation in South Korea isn’t so strange since garbage cans are rare throughout many Asian countries. Lan Jianzhong, a Xinhua reporter in Tokyo, said there are no garbage cans on the streets and in parks of Japan. Chen Jipeng, a Xinhua reporter in Singapore, said garbage cans are rare in subways, carriages or on public transportation throughout the city-state.

Public garbage cans became hard to find in the 1990s in Korea after the government implemented a restrictive garbage policy to reduce garbage production. While some still argue that garbage cans are hard to find in Seoul, public trash receptacles are actually making a comeback. Just last August, the municipal government agreed to add 1,000 more public trash cans to the city in response to the high use of disposable coffee cups. This stands in addition to the 4,400 trash bins already in place throughout the city.

If you’ve never seen one before, this is what a public trash bin in South Korea looks like:

korean garbage cankorean garbage cankorean garbage binPhoto: Shenzhen Police,, thatbackpacker, blog korea


Dameisha Beach in Shenzhen is Teeming with Fecal Bacteria

Posted: 08/15/2014 9:40 am

dameisha beachAnyone interested in going to the beach in Shenzhen for a reprieve from the summer heat should be mindful that Dameisha Beach has already exceeded water safety standards three times this season.

Results from tested water samples taken on June 3, 9, and 16 have been just been released, and all three have failed, reports Sina. The test results for the three dates showed excess amounts of fecal coliform at 3,400 parts per liter, 7,500 parts per liter, and 3,500 parts per liter, respectively. The allowable standard used by Chinese authorities is 2,000 parts per liter.

Authorities explained the beach failed the test as a result of too many people swimming in the area. Yantian District is currently investigating if a be a fee should be charged to better control the crowds of people that frequent the popular Shenzhen attraction. Other than coming directly from humans, sources of fecal coliform include human sewage, pets and animals, or agricultural uses.

The danger to human health posed by fecal coliform include ear infections, dysentery, typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, and hepatitis A. A representative of the Yantian District chengguan office expressed shock at the findings:

Previously, we only knew that the water quality of Dameisha was poor, but this is the first time that we have a grasp of a precise number (that shows us how bad it is).

It is unclear if this the first time that the water quality at Dameisha was scientifically tested.

Photo: Weibo


Anger As Chinese Toddler Empties Bowels in Aisle of US-bound Flight

Posted: 07/24/2014 12:00 pm
delta airline child poop

From a previous incident that occurred in 2013.

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.

That was the case for one toddler on board a Beijing to Detroit Delta Airlines flight. The kid urgently had to go to the bathroom — so urgently, in fact, there was no time to go to the lavatory on board. So the kid’s father laid a newspaper down in the isle and the child squat and pinched.

Other passengers requested the child’s parents to take the child to the bathroom. However, the child’s grandfather, who was also on the flight, persisted in having the child make full use of the newspaper. Airline staff were unable to stop the airborne bodily evacuation from happening.

Fellow passenger Mr Wang from Oregon said the family made all Chinese people lose face, reports the World Journal.

[h/t @niubi]

Photo: 163


Mom Too Busy on Phone to Notice Daughter Peeing on Shenzhen Metro

Posted: 06/20/2014 8:00 am
phone mama daughter pee

The trail of pee is visible in the photo.

Every few minutes, the hum of Hong Kong’s MTR trains is punctuated by a monotone female voice that announces, “Dear passengers, please hold the handrail. Do not keep your eyes only on your mobile phones.”

We don’t know if there are similar announcements made on the Shenzhen Metro, but parents who are so fixated on their phones that they refuse to take their kids to the toilet deserve a similar announcement: “Irresponsible parents, please keep your eyes on your kids, not your mobile phones.”

We don’t know what the woman was doing on her phone at the time, but whatever it was, it was compelling enough to ignore her child’s plea for a toilet. And as any parent can attest, it often requires the discipline of a Zen Buddhist to ignore a whimpering child.

READ: Photo of Boy Taking a Shit on Guangzhou Subway Goes Viral

On June 17 on Shenzhen Metro Line 5, a little girl was seen crying on the train, asking her mother to take her to the toilet. After two stops of receiving the silent treatment, the little girl could no longer hold it, squatted, and proceeded to do what comes naturally.

The trail of pee flowed as long as three to four meters according to a witness who posted the images online, Yang Cheng Evening News reported. After relieving herself, the little girl was dragged back to her seat by her mother. The daughter was seen sobbing on a suitcase while her mother continued to stare at her phone as if nothing happened.

READ: You’re in Luck: Guangzhou Public Bathroom App Streaming Online

According to the report, each subway stop on Line 5 has a toilet, but it did not matter to this mother or the two other guys who were seen peeing inside the metro earlier this May: one at Laojie station, and one inside a moving subway.

As usual, Weibo users were quick to speculate as to what happened: “She is not the little girl’s biological mother.” Another user Waymend added: “Her phone must be her biological child.”

It seems that for the expressed purpose of ignoring your child, there is in fact an app for that.


Photo: Yang Cheng Evening News


Not Again: Guy Pees On Shenzhen Metro Line 5

Posted: 05/30/2014 8:00 am

Almost two weeks after a man was caught answering nature’s call at Laojie MTR station in Shenzhen, another man riding on the Shenzhen Metro was filmed relieving himself inside a Line 5 subway carriage around midnight on May 27.

The man in red relieves himself inside a metro carriage

The 13-second video uploaded to Youku (now encrypted) was filmed by Mr Fan, a teacher at Shenzhen Tsinghua Middle School, who unfortunately witnessed the entire scene. Around 11pm, a man that appeared to be drunk and wearing a red T-shirt, a pair of black pants and a backpack, teetered and waddled to the last carriage of the train. To Mr Fan’s surprise, the guy did not find a seat and sit down in the empty carriage. Instead, he was seen standing close to the carriage’s door and going through the rituals that all guys are familiar with when nature calls.

This is however, not the first time ill-mannered commuters have been seen peeing or pooping on a metro station. In 2013, a high school student was seen sitting with his pants off on top of a trash can and pooping in the Guangzhou Metro.

Guangzhou recently introduced a bathroom-locator app for passengers who need to use public toilets. Perhaps, Shenzhen should consider introducing one too, the sooner the better. No one wants to read the next tragic headline: Man’s private parts caught by the metro door while peeing.


Home page and content page: Nandu


In Praise of…The Laobaixing

Posted: 04/30/2014 11:00 am

If you live in China, you see these people every day. You see them getting onto the subway before other passengers have had the chance to get off. You see them standing outside their stores clapping to attract attention, even when they’re being drowned out by happy hardcore music. You see them dressing up flamboyantly, convinced that they are fashionistas, even when their hairstyle alone is enough to prevent them from ever being allowed into Milan. You hear them shouting “hello” when they see a foreigner, which some consider to be the height of sophistication.

How is this group of people best defined? The workers? Too communistic. The great unwashed? Not communistic enough. The salt of the earth? We’re here to praise them, not worship them. Let’s settle for “The Laobaixing”.

Literally translated as “The Old 100 Names,” the meaning of Laobaixing is richer and more fluid than any possible English translation. In her book “Dreaming in Chinese,” the closest linguist Deborah Fallows got to finding a definition she was happy with was: “All those who are making the staggering adjustments to survive.”

It appears that China’s government, whose officials are by definition not Laobaixing, has little faith in the Laobaixing’s ability to behave well. Last year Shenzhen rolled out the nation’s first civility laws to crack down on spitting, littering and other uncouth behaviour. Vice Premier Wang Yang called for his compatriots to have a sense of ambassadorial responsibility when abroad as they have gained a reputation for the kind of behaviour that got Chinese tourists barred from one chic hotel in Paris.

Both Wang Yang and the Shenzhen government were probably doing the right thing. Clearly this behaviour is not acceptable and needs to improve, but since we are in the habit of praising things, let’s look at it from a couple of angles.

What is “rudeness” anyway?

In one of the most cringe-worthy China expat-related moments in the history of the internet, an American declares that “Chinese people are rude” while verbally abusing a Chinese girl who is in no position to fight back. This goes to show that the term “rude” is so vague and its definition so subjective that good users of the English language tend not to say it too often, like the words “weird” or “random”.

Let us roughly divide the definition of rude between “obnoxious” and “uncultured.” Obnoxiousness is intentional, for example making a passive aggressive remark at a dinner party. Being uncultured causes people to do inappropriate things because they don’t know any better. The latter is what has been giving Chinese tourists a bad name and what the Shenzhen government is targeting.

One day in Hunan Province in mid-November 2008, I was on my way to lunch when somebody walking in the opposite direction spotted me under my umbrella and said: “Hello.” After walking another 20 yards or so, the stranger turned around and started sprinting towards me. His first words into the back of my ear were: “Hey, I want to make a friend with you. I want you to teach me English.”

Not knowing what to say, I invited him along to lunch where he explained that he was a 20 year-old I.T. student named Benny who “likes foreigners”. He already had two foreign friends and wanted more.

I barely made eye contact for the whole lunch, not because I was annoyed, just because I was sad to know that I could never teach this guy how to talk to anyone. Friendships tend to be based on some form of usefulness, whether we admit it or not. W.H Auden was right, as always, when he said: “Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.” Benny approached me because he wanted something – a free English teacher – and he didn’t get it because his approach lacked sophistication.

When I describe Benny’s actions to Chinese people who are sympathetic with the idea that they were inappropriate, they usually explain them by saying: “他的文化水平不高” (His standard of culture is not high). But he was not obnoxious. It’s unlikely he is capable of interpreting a passive aggressive remark at a dinner party, let alone making one.

Why being “cultured” is important but overrated

There is value in being cultured, just as there is value in being handsome, athletic or witty. Appreciating the arts does not make us morally better, but it makes us more thoughtful and complex.

Benny had obviously never given serious thought to the Lu Xun quote that says “The problem with our relations with foreigners is that we never look at them as equals, we always either look up to them as emperors or look down on them as animals.” If he had, he would have understood what is wrong with throwing himself at every foreign-looking person he sees.

To become more cultured, members of the Laobaixing need the chance to embrace more difficult works of art, not because Oliver Stone is as awesome as he thinks he is, but because public discourse needs to be more nuanced. As China gets ready to ascend to the status of largest economy in the world, it faces a set of internal problems that seem intractable and needs a sophisticated citizenry to have a chance of overcoming these problems.

However, it is very dangerous to suggest that being uncultured somehow makes somebody inferior. To Hitler, whose program of arts subsidy was one of the largest in the history of civilisation, what was good about art was that it “raised (people) above the petty cares of the moment and shows them that, after all, their individual woes are not of such great importance.” John Carey, author of “What Good Are the Arts?” believes that Hitler’s veneration of the arts wasn’t just a side issue, but the force that shaped and nourished his inhumanity.

Members of the Laobaixing should by all means learn their Shakespeare and their Mozart. But if somebody is an immoral person to begin with, the chances that doing this will make them any less so are low.

Only as messed up as it is

In “Chinese Lessons,” John Pomfret recalls hearing first-hand accounts of the Cultural Revolution from his Chinese friends. In one case, a boy was forced to witness the murder of his own father and help carry the severed remains through the streets, accompanied by his brothers. This boy is now a middle-aged man with a successful career.

Well within living memory, China went through what JG Ballard described as “the brain death of a nation,” in which many of the things that defined China as a great civilization were deliberately desecrated. And it’s not as if everything was rosy before then.

Literary translator Brendan O’Kane said in his final interview before leaving Beijing last year that he appreciated that, considering what China had been through over the past century, credit is due for things being only as messed up as they are. So next time an uncultured person shouts “hello” at you, just remember that it’s not so long since much worse things were being shouted at foreigners.


Fist fight breaks out in Shenzhen hospital after child defecates in waiting room

Posted: 11/21/2012 10:00 am

After a picture of a child seen defecating on a Guangzhou subway led to much public outcry, some of us thought China might be turning a corner in terms of valuing public hygiene.

Apparently debate is still raging as to whether it is appropriate to allow one’s children to defecate in public after a fight broke out in a Shenzhen hospital when a couple were confronted about letting their 1 year-old child defecate in a waiting room, reports. You can see some grainy footage of the fight here.

On Nov. 17, Mrs. Zhang and her husband took their son to Shenzhen Children’s Hospital. When in the waiting room, they saw a couple propping their child over the trash can, even though there was a bathroom nearby which was both clean and almost empty.

When the mother of the child heard Zhang and her husband compare her child to the now infamous boy on the Guangzhou subway, she got angry, challenging them to explain what was wrong with her actions and launching a foul-mouthed tirade.

After Zhang urged the woman to calm down and threatened to record her tirade and put it on the internet, the woman then started to beat her, causing bruises and ripping her clothes.

Mrs Zhang after the incident

Staff at the hospital say Zhang was also guilty of violent behaviour and Lianhua Police Station is now conducting an investigation into the incident.

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