On Friday I was involved in a discussion with a Canadian and a Chinese colleague about the bad habits that prevail here and there was, more or less, a consensus that bad habits do prevail; the lack of hygiene, spitting, kiddies doing their toilet in public places, people forcing their way to the front of queues, etc. etc. Nevertheless, while agreeing the Chinese colleague, who has a PhD from Leeds University, did make a very pertinent point. She said that she has seen grown men in Leeds piss in the street. She was, of course, right and anyone who has witnessed the binge drinking done at the weekend in British cities might, quite rightly, conclude that the British at least are the last people to condemn others because of their bad habits. Moreover, when I was growing up in Glasgow in the sixties and early seventies, you would see men and kiddies and, yes, even the occasional lady, piss in the street. Indeed, on a Friday and Saturday evening witnessing them vomit, fight, break windows and generally disturb the peace was not unusual.
Nevertheless, while my Chinese colleague did argue that we are always free to choose where we go, what we eat and drink, who we talk to, it remains in China today, more difficult to avoid the spitters, shitters, the noise, the queue jumpers, etc. etc. than it does in Britain ….. and when, when, are they going to learn how to drive?
Finally, you might have noticed that this was a comparison between China and the United Kingdom. Most of the last thirty years of my life have been spent in a little town near Munich in Germany where the penalty for spitting is death by electric chair.