Monday, May 2, 2011

Considering others

Remember back when I used to have a small problem with a “spitting boss” in Suzhou? Well, I’d almost forgotten about how much it can annoy you to sit next to someone who constantly feels as if s/he needs to clear his/her throat and spit, until last night when I went see a concert by the Moscow symphony orchestra at Daning Theatre. I’d managed to score a good seat, just behind all the “important” Chinese guests that had been “decorated” with a flower in their suit jacket. Most of them were 50+, dressed up, and looked genuinely happy about being there. Except for the man sitting in front of me.

Clearly bored with the concert and music, he kept twisting and turning in his seat, reading about sports car in a magazine that he had brought along… and… clear his throat and spit in a napkin! The latter made me see red. It was just horrible to sit and listen to him interrupting the atmosphere by clearing his throat in the middle of a beautiful piano solo! I thought I was the only one that was bothered, until I realized that a number of Chinese men and women around me actually turned to him and gave him a long, cold stare. Also, the people sitting directly next to him ended up moving to other seats in order to get away from his noise and unhygienic action. Still, the man did not as much as show a sign of shame, but rather, kept coughing, clearing his throat, and spitting loudly into his napkin, throughout the whole concert.

Yesterday, a new legislation came into force in China: banning smoking in restaurants, theatres, public transport waiting rooms, hotels, and several other enclosed public places (I only feel a tad bit excited about this because I know it’s not going to work for a long time still –Chinese people smoke everywhere. In our office building, white-collar workers smoke at the fire escape staircase –despite being told not to by the management). I seriously wish that they could ban the spitting in theatres/offices/airplanes too. By all means: clear your throat at the bathroom/on the street. But don’t spit in a napkin. At least not during a concert, in the middle of a soft, beautiful piano solo.


R og D said...

I really hate the spitting - yesterday I saw a man spitting ON THE FLOOR in one of the G-trains between Wuxi and Shanghai!

I read about the new legislation regarding smoking, and as you thought: It is not going to work!

James said...

Yeah, the spitting thing can be pretty annoying. I remember there were a group of spitters when I went to see "Green Hornet" in 3D. My first 3D experience. Ruined by spitters! :(

Miss Daisy said...

These poor people have lung problems. You know the air quality in China.

Don Tai said...

LOL No Smoking legislation in China! This is China saving face and keeping up with the Jones', they being located in North America or Europe.

I hate spitting but it is a learned behaviour in the countryside and will be impossible to eradicate.

yan said...

The smoking ban will start slowly, as it did here in the U.S. But it'll eventually take hold and reduce smoking rates.

Anna Davidson said...

I find it so funny that China is banning smoking in most public places ... as if that will ever happen! It's quite a comical thought!

Jonna Wibelius said...

R og D -yeah, it's not that nice. Train spitting and airplane spitting is quite common... but concert spitting?! Naaaah...

James -yuuuuk... that's just so sad!

Daisy -I live here too. 5 years now, and I ran a lot outside when I first came here... no spitting from me, no. Nah, seriously. Maybe they do have lung problems, and if that is the case it is really sad. However, spitting in the middle of a beautiful piano solo?! U have to choose your moments!

Don Tai -yup, it won't change for many years yet. I don't mind spitting on the streets etc.. but not on concerts/at cinemas.

Yan -U think so? I think they are up for a biiiiig challenge.

Anna -I think it is awesome that they are now thinking like that... but implementing it is going to be hard. Extremely hard. But before they have established some real punishments for those still smoking inside I don't think it's going to work.

Anonymous said...

But you know, I can understand why. That old man must be the general of 2nd artillery corp or something. Someone important enough to cough and spit in a god damn concert is no slosh. Either that or a kung-fu master who has lived for the 235 years and he just heard the worst Yangqin performance of his life!