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Born in the UK but now living in Australia, Paul Fox has travelled to many places throughout China. He has seen the lighter side, the darker side, both the gentle and the seedy sides. He documents his experiences and is willing to share them with anyone who wants to listen. He is not afraid to say things exactly how he sees them, and is quite happy to "name and shame" when necessary.
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PoC - Homage to the 'Flob-God'    

By Paul Fox
1819 Views | 9 Comments | 11/15/2015 12:56:53 PM

Spitting in China remains a serious matter for those with weak stomachs.

~~Moving to any country to live and work can often lead a person into some kind of ‘culture-shock’, and China is no exception. They have some strange and wonderful cultures and traditions, many that always make me smile. One such culture is the lunch at 11.30 (or noon) and dinner at 6pm



“Have you eaten?’

“No”

“Why? It’s 6.45, you should have eaten dinner by now”

“I’m not hungry!”

‘But it’s DINNER TIME!”

“Yes, and?”

“Well you MUST eat!”

“Why? I’ve just told you, I’m NOT hungry!”

“But you MUST be hungry because it’s DINNER TIME”.....



I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had this type of conversation and it always makes me smile.....Tradition!



Another one that made me laugh out loud was a conversation I had with my boss at work a week or two ago. It kind of went like this....



“Morning!”

‘Morning Paul. Oh, I see you are still wearing short-sleeved shirts?”

‘Yes, all my shirts have short-sleeves, I don’t own or even like shirts with long-sleeves’

‘Oh, well you should be careful not to catch cold’



I looked at him with amazement. I’ve worked alongside this guy for 9 months already and he has NEVER seen me wear a long-sleeved shirt, because I don’t own any.



‘What do you mean, catch cold?’ I asked...

‘Well yesterday, in the Chinese Calendar, there is a kind of line drawn. Yesterday was the last day of summer and today is the first day of Autumn, so we should be careful not to catch cold’

‘But it’s hotter outside today than it was last WEEK!”

‘Ah, that doesn’t matter. It’s not SUMMER anymore, it’s AUTUMN, so you must wear long-sleeved shirts or you will catch a cold’



I tried to explain that the Chinese calendar doesn’t dictate the weather and that it’s some kind of thing we call ‘Mother Nature’ - but it fell on deaf ears. The best part of 60 years of tradition and culture was not going to be changed by some foreign teacher wearing a short-sleeved shirt and trying to tell him that his argument is stupid.



On top of his nonsensical argument, I have had to ‘steal’ a remote control that operates the air-conditioners in the classrooms. There is a function that turns the lights on the air-con units OFF, so if someone walks past my classroom and we have the air-con turned on, it appears as though it’s not. You see, it’s AUTUMN now (at least according to the Chinese calendar) so we don’t NEED air-conditioning in the classroom, despite it still being 32 degrees C, so all the remote controls have been locked away until next summer!



These types of Chinese cultures and traditions about living by the clock (for meals) and the calendar (for the weather) are just something we get used to quite quickly and can be amusing

However, one thing that I never find amusing in the slightest is the culture that some people have of paying homage to the ‘Flob God’



I don’t know who the ‘Flob-God’ is, or what he is supposed to do, but certainly many many people across China (both men and women) seem to pay homage every day.



Before I moved out of my school apartment into my own, I would be woken every morning with some old critter paying his morning homage at around 5.30am



Essentially the ritual appears to be quite simple and comes with 3 ‘stages’



Stage1. You snort like a pig. You make it as loud as possible and for as long as possible - a whole BREATH if you can



Stage 2. Make a very loud scraping sound from the back of your throat. Again, as loudly and for as long as possible



Stage 3. Flob that ‘big green mother’ out of your mouth as hard as you can onto any surface.



The old critter outside my apartment would continue with his morning ‘offerings’ to the Flob God for at least 30 minutes - DAILY !



I have seen people give their ‘offerings’ to the Flob-God in cafes’s and restaurants on many occasions and I even lost my cool with one Flob God worshipper on one occasion.



I was in my mates little back-street cafe one evening with a couple of friends having dinner.

One of the cafe owners mates came in with his wife and sat on the next table to us. I know this guy and we often have a laugh and a joke when we see each other in this cafe.



This night, he was a little drunk and as we were eating our meal, he started paying homage to the Flob God, right there in the cafe, with his ‘offerings’ being directed at the floor.

We tried to hold things together for as long as possible without succumbing to the worstening feeling of nausea, when suddenly I just ‘lost-it’.

I picked up an empty beer bottle and told him that if he made one more ‘offering’ then he would ‘wear it’ across his ear!



To this day he still cannot understand WHY I got so annoyed at his homage to the Flob God while I was trying to enjoy a quiet meal with friends.



Sadly, China has many ‘un-educated’ people who wouldn’t know the meaning of ‘manners’ if it was spelled out to them.

People who make homage to the Flob-God are obviously un-educated. However, many of us Western people should be forgiven for calling them ‘Dirty-Bastards’!





Please note that there are NO photos enclosed with this blog - for reasons that should be obvious - even for the un-educated - lol


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 9 of 9) 1
#2015-11-15 14:15:35 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

First, Paul has apologized (sort of) for not posting a photo, but I decided the blog deserved one and added it. I decided that I should leave Paul's comment in because it had some meaning, being that watching people spitting in the streets in China can be quite disgusting for us uninitiated foreigners.

Like almost all social faux pas that seem to be related quite proportionately to lack of education, meaning the less educated a person is the more likely he/she will commit social blunders, spitting in China is so related. Paul mentions this but it deserves being repeated. You will find far more people hocking big wads onto the sidewalk in rural communities, even if they are large cities by our standards, than in the cultural centers of China, like Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou (to mention a few). But you can't escape them no matter where in China you are.

One mitigating factor for Chinese who have carried this 5,000 year old culturally accepted practice right up into the 21st century is that while the habit has been around in China forever, it may be difficult to completely give it up in spite of one's best efforts when you are busy breathing in smog so thick you can hardly see through it. It can be hard to resist spitting out that layer of black, ugly stuff that has started forming on your tongue and in your throat. I've been tempted to hock out a gob or two myself. I am not sure if it was good manners that prevented me from doing so, or the fear that, having had so little practice at it, I might accidentally dribble my intended projectile down onto my own shirt, as opposed to blasting it across the street as Chinese hockers seem able to do.

Which brings to mind a good example of Chinese spitting at its best.

My wife and I were off on a walk in Hangzhou (a cultural center remember) and had chosen a street that lead us into the hills off the river we lived on, and down into another parklike area of Hangzhou, which is renowned for it's amazing parks and natural beauty. It was a weekend and this particular park had attracted a number of young soon to be married Chinese couples who were there to have their wedding photos taken, it being the tradition in China to have your wedding pictures taken, in full dress, sometimes including several changes of attire, about 6 weeks before the wedding. This allows for the pictures to be available to be handed out at the wedding dinner so that every guest can presumably go home and replace all their own photos adorning their walls with those of the newly married couple (please excuse all sarcasm).

Anyway, one stunning couple appeared in front of us on a narrow trail we were following, and as we came up to them, they (along with a substantial entourage) walked ahead of us down the path, so we had the pleasure of following in their footsteps and genuinely admiring how stunningly refined and attractive both bride and groom looked. Then, while the entourage continued on its way, the Bride and Groom stopped for a quick hug.

This forced my wife and I to stop too, a mere few meters behind them. We tried to be inconspicuous and not ruin their lovely romantic moment. Then, after a lingering kiss, the handsome groom stepped back a couple of feet, and his lovely bride turned and hocked a gob that seemed the size of a tennis ball somewhere into the next county. I do not recall seeing anyone ever eject a gob of spit that big or that far in my entire life. And I worked the pipeline with a crowd of heavy drinking, redneck yahoos during my youth. That crew would have applauded this young Chinese Miss for a feat they had only dreamed of.

In any event, having proved herself an Olympian at the sport of gob hocking, she turned to us, beamed the smile of joy one can only feel when they've set a World Record, then turned and, hiking up her fabulous and no doubt damned expensive wedding gown, raced off to catch up with her entourage. Her soon to be husband trailed faithfully behind her.

Sorry Paul, I didn't set out to write a comment longer than your blog.

My last thought though, is that the Chinese Government is working on cleaning the whole spitting situation up (pun intended), and have started a major television campaign to educate Chinese people to the health concerns, the environmental issues and the downright ugliness of having human saliva and all it contains being flagrantly ejected from the mouths of a maybe half a billion people, frequently, throughout everyday.

Hopefully they will have brought an end to it before we all find ourselves swimming in the stuff.

#2015-11-16 03:41:36 by ferlo @ferlo

@Paul Fox
Short sleeves shirts: Short sleeve shirt are usually worn at small poor companies that can't afford air conditioning so the employee could be cooler and more efficiently. Besides long sleeves is a formal way of dress in any company or institution of good value.
Have you eaten? Is not a question, formally in China is the former way of greeting people that many have replace with the Ni Hao. Like in any part of Mexico or now in the United States is use even if you not know the person he or she come along your way. In Mex we say to people is coming in places no one else is like in a lonely pat. Buenos dias, or tardes depending of the timing of the day.In Estados Unidos you say the same. Good morning or good afternoon all depending of the time even you never have seeing the person in your entire life. But regarding to good manners here in the US many people spit and not only that but in the Freeways stops and some other places leave bottles full of urine and garbage on the ground. Now I don't think any country is perfect not the riche ones less the poor all have their bad habits and blunders.

#2015-11-16 17:12:12 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@ferlo
Thanks for your comments Sir. Yes, I am well aware that "have you eaten" is exactly the same as 'Hello' in China, however I was trying to highlight the point that many Chinese people live 'by the clock' or 'by the calendar' as opposed to eating when they are HUNGRY or dressing for the WEATHER!
As for the short-sleeve shirts, I have never heard such rubbish. I work as a teacher in a well-respected school and I dress formally everyday. The fact that my shirts have short-sleeves does not make me feel (or appear) any less formal. Some of my 'work-shirts' are extremely smart and several were quite expensive. I would rather dress in a short-sleeved shirt than wear a long-sleeved one and roll up my sleeves.

Thanks for your comments

#2015-11-16 21:52:11 by Barry1 @Barry1

@PaulFox1

Very entertaining stuff, Paul. I agree with everything you've said. I can thankfully say that even though she's Chinese born and bred, Tina is NOT a spitter of gobs. Like me, she thinks it's a dirty habit. Good on her! In fact, my view is that spitters in China are now in the minority and would predominantly be men. It seems maybe the government advertising is achieving some results, as John alluded to.

Another interesting phenomenon in China is the fact that wherever possible, people do NOT drink the tap water.

Just about everyone here pays for a proper clean water dispenser in their home or else they continually purchase bottled water.

This begs the question though - what do the poorer folk do who cannot afford such luxuries? Is the tap water in China really unsafe for human consumption? (think)

#2015-11-18 08:31:42 by ferlo @ferlo

@Paul Fox Then you are not properly dressed
Eagerly I read your blogs and Barry’s, I found them very interesting and educative about the China culture.
Barely my education was beyond of fourth grade grammar school, Therefore I say that I am autodidact, my knowledge come from reading interesting books of various topics, some very good some other simple. One of this books was kind of simple but interesting theme, the Business dress code, this describes what to wear with suits of plaid patterns or plain colors, what ties to use with the same for shirts solid colors or patters designs. This book emphasis on long sleeves and short sleeves, like I said before short sleeves are worn in small companies where for economy don’t have central air conditioning and a long sleeve shirt would be uncomfortable. No CEO or CFO would be seeing in short sleeves by their subordinates, this would be a lack of self-respect. No person of important in a well-known Corporation or government officials would dare to be in short sleeves conducting business. I don’t think that the Chinese don’t know this code, I have seeing many Asian movies; Japanese, Koreans and Chinese portraying big impresarios of different important companies and no one is wearing short sleeves.
But like you said, you feel you are well dressed that is what is important and give a damn what anyone say.

#2015-11-18 11:43:42 by anonymous14203 @anonymous14203

Good article Paul, I don't think ferlo was talking about you specifically I believe he was trying to say that in many smaller companies or poorer companies they encouraged short sleeved shirts for their workers as a way of combatting no A/C.

Barry I disagree that spitters in China are mostly men, women are just more discreet/quiet when spitting. It seems that the men think the louder and more gourish spitting noises they make, makes them more of a man lol very funny indeed.

#2015-11-18 23:45:18 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@ferlo
Thanks mate

Perhaps you would be better spending your time reading books on English grammar and spelling rather that bullshit books on business etiquette
Your 4th grade education certainly shines through in your post
But thanks anyway (no offence intended)

#2015-11-20 09:53:44 by ferlo @ferlo

@paulfox
Duibuqi compañero, Eso es que hago en mi tiempo libre, It's what I do in my free time. El Ingles no es mi idioma de nacimiento, English is not my language of birth and I know that I make lots of mistakes when I write and speak, I try to do as best as I can. I came to this country United States when as an adult and is much more difficult to dominate the the language when grown up, quite often I stop writing to check with dictionary to see if my written is ok.
Don't get upset I only made the comment what I learn about dressing code. I do not pretend that you dress accordingly, En gustos se rompen generos.

#2015-11-25 20:23:11 by anonymous14226 @anonymous14226

They annoy me too because I have a weak stomach about spitting. I often wonder why they have so much to spit!

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