Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Software Reprogramming

My friend who is a flight attendant, flew in late yesterday afternoon.

We met up for dinner at Ding Tai Fung and had a fantastic meal.

The dishes we ordered included xiaolongbao or steamed pork dumplings that were absolutely delicious and delicate, fresh stir-fried vegetables, dan dan mian or noodles with peanut sauce and a tad spicy, and "lion's head" or a meatball with pork and minced water chestnut in a chicken broth with vegetables.

For dessert we had white steamed buns with ground black sesame paste inside.

Overall the service was friendly and fast, everything neat and tidy.

Then my friend went to the bathroom.

She came back and told me she saw a well-dressed mother holding her son sideways as he peed into the sink.

He was about five or six-years-old, old enough to stand on his own and do his business in the toilet.

My friend was so shocked she didn't know what to say.

Then the mother explained to her son that the taps at the sink were turned on by sensors and he said that he wanted to wash his hands himself. So while she is well-dressed and somewhat educated on hygiene, why is this woman holding up her son so that he can pee into the sink?

This is a perfect illustration of China at this moment: while everything looks great on the outside -- the decor, quality of food and relatively cleanliness -- the culture and thinking of the people need to change.

And with the Olympics coming next year, this software programming has to be updated.

The sooner the better.

1 comment:

Roving Rambler (& blog-less) said...

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make her drink." Historically, the Chinese culture has been held back (blame politics) from developing the same social mannerisms of the west. Now modern technologies (and fashion have been placed in China at a speed nobody could expect to adjust to. Just like ten yeas ago the story would have been related to the humorous fashion sense. Nothing but time and their own influences will change the ways the Chinese use (or abuse) the domestic environment they have placed around themselves. Who knows what the common comment (cultural complaint) will be 10 years from now.