In the Western world, we take many sinple manners for granted, and one of them is the line. In general, when a large group of people are all waiting for the same thing, the first person will stand closest to the goal, while each person to arrive thereafter gets in line directly behind the first person, in order of arrival.
In China, the first person in line stands pressed up next to the goal (probably because of the hundred people behind him or her pushing and shoving towards that one point). The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth people (give or take) stand next to and/or behind the first person, while the rest of the line continues to radiate out from there in a half-circle.
This half-circle, with the goal point as its radius, is what I refer to as “the Chinese line”. It takes both cunning and courage to reach the front of the line, and the Chinese people may well become more highly evolved people because of it (similar to the Chinese being genetic gamblers, which I will have to remember to blog about later.)
So when I saw this Reuters article, you can understand why I laughed. The article cites a report from Renmin University:
The 2007 results all pointed in the right direction: 2.5 percent of people spat in public, down from 4.9 percent in 2006; instances of queue jumping dropped to 1.5 percent from 6 percent; and littering fell to 2.9 percent from 5.3 percent.
Mind you, I love China, but the propoganda that the country produces is hilarious. People still spit in China – everyone does it, the beggars and the businessmen alike. They litter too – you just drop your garbage on the streets, and government workers clean the streets on a daily basis. And people still don’t line up – that’s just the way it is.
But most people who go to the Beijing Olympics will never know this, because people don’t spit in the Hyatt, and those people who are not rich enough to stay there, and are not employed to serve those who are, won’t be allowed anywhere near Olympic procedings.