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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Why I can't visit ShenZhen anymore!    

By Garreth Humphris
6903 Views | 24 Comments | 8/28/2013 2:40:02 PM

I read a small article on one of the Chinese news sites that was talking about a rule that has recently passed in Shenzhen that requires men using public restrooms to take better aim. Apparently, the local government is tired of cleaning splash back, drips and other oddities from around public urinals and will fine any perpetrators RMB100 for being a little off-aim.

For me, this means a regular trip to ShenZhen will be out of my budget!

So, my question is how will they police it? Will someone be at a Central Command Center watching voyeur videos of men relieving themselves across the city in real-time? Or will they focus on shopping centres in tourist precincts?

Or will they have a man standing behind you with a camera, or you pay 1 rmb and they give you a piece of paper you place on the floor between your feet and return to them for a Saturation Score?

Maybe an up-market urinal with a laser barrier that detects splash back hitting it? Or a moisture detector on the floor? Cleaning lady with a mop and a wry smile?

I wonder, will there be any pre warning that you might be getting close to your limit...like a flashing amber light? One more drop is one too many Mister!

Maybe they will make you pay a 100RMB deposit and if you leave any deposit, they fail to return the initial deposit! Mind-boggling really!

I can see the employment ads now... new positions in Sanitation and Hygiene Inspection Team - must have fast hands and eye for detail! Rise to the top of your profession quickly, apply now! Generous conditions.

What will they do with the extra revenue? - I hope they actually give the cleaners some soap or disinfectant... the regular pattern is to give the cleaners the worst rag mop that they can find and a bucket of water - resulting in a relocation of dirt and debris from one side of the room to the other every day! Week by week, this just builds up against the walls in a dark smeary paste until people wear a clean pathway through it by walking... a few drops of detergent and the whole place sparkles, but not, it would seem, in China!

So, I have been putting my mind to the task and come up with some possible suggestions:

1) Place a target - a few of those smelly balls, a floating cigarette butt, a painted target, anything to help guidance in low light conditions. Or maybe project a movie of floating ducks onto the device and make it a game!

2) Audible Positioning - glue a theremin (weird electrical musical instrument) to the urinal and attach a speaker, the breaking of the electrical field by the water stream in different places plays a different tone - and splashing the electrical wires of the device would deliver a high voltage, low current electrical jolt that would be sure to make the particular gent more careful in the future!

3) Make wider stalls - one issue with me is I am about 3 ft wide across the shoulders and the urinals and stalls are placed at 1ft intervals...hence trajectory must be a more laid-back long-distance waterfall-like lob rather than pin-point laser accuracy. The closer, the less splash!

4) Add a pipe attachment - after 5000 years of toilet evolution in China, you might think it possible to devise an extension pipe and funnel arrangement that does away with the whole stand back and aim process! Maybe China could turn to it's best and brightest design students in the major universities for innovation and sanitation development.

5) Convert it to a park - just make a circular park and plant a lot of lemon trees and the gents can just stride around, select a suitable view, spray and leave - and the extra urea will really make the lemons grow well!

Well, I've had my fun, better get back to more serious things - like coffee.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 24) 1 2 3 More...
#2013-08-28 14:47:36 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

A fun read Garreth. Personally I'm always happy to escape from the row of urinals in a public Chinese washroom without having the guy beside me pee all over my feet. It often seems to me that they are so far off target that it must be some kind of sport that I simply don't understand.

#2013-08-28 21:21:13 by sandy339 @sandy339

Oh, is it fun to you? I feel terrible when I look the pic, to be specific, I feel disgusted about the toilet and want to throw up, so there is no fun to me at all... and after all those, you want coffee? It is too much for me...

I have to associate your blog to Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil, you two have similar taste?

#2013-08-28 22:17:33 by mary0624 @mary0624

Haha, this was a big joke in my office today, we have the same question as you that how they will police it, we had much fun about those likely answer.:))))

#2013-08-29 00:51:19 by anonymous7239 @anonymous7239

Is China really like this? This is truly repulsive. Makes me not want to visit. So disgusting.

#2013-08-29 06:03:45 by downunder @downunder

Ahh yes, all over China you see signs at the urinals. Eventually I took a pic and asked my gf to translate. "Please take 1 small step forward". Unfortunately when the user (the 'reliever'?) is 2 steps back this will make little difference. Even full wall urinals are not immune to mis-use with many not realising they have to stand on the raised floor... Like your Audible option - like a car reversing indicator, a beep that gets more frequent, keep going forward until it is constant.

"Pot Inspection Service Shenzhen" will be the name given to those tasked with issuing fines (double fine if you manage to pee on their shoes).

Discretely watched in Hong Kong as a past-prime elderly man held onto the hand rails at a urinal and proceeded to just pee all over the floor. One day that'll be me (and you).

Certainly there are some pretty skanky gents toilets around China.
Brings to mind a question I posed to friends recently: what is the correct way to pee at a squat toilet?
- standing, facing the door
- standing, facing the wall
- squatting, facing the door
- squatting, facing the wall
- other

Still not sure of the correct etiquette =(

Indeed, back to coffee.

#2013-08-29 20:15:42 by aussieghump @aussieghump

@downunder
Squatting, arse over the hole... The plateau doesn't get enough water

#2013-08-30 01:46:40 by zhen012 @zhen012

Not all parts of China are all like that, it is just a special case, most is very clean.
Please do not think that all parts of China are all like this.
Thank you!

#2013-08-30 09:10:03 by ciscohawk @ciscohawk

This begs the question... why not do something profound?

Install real toilets and real urinals. They do exist and they can be purchased all over the world.

Perplexed...

#2013-08-30 13:59:41 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@ciscohawk - I think that suggestion reflects a bit of a cultural slight. Squat toilets are real toilets. They're very real in China and most of the rest of Asia. And in other places as well. Because we westerners don't like them doesn't really give us the right to assume other cultures should replace them. In addition, there are pretty strong arguments that squatters are better for your health on a life long basis than sitters.

Having said that I've lived in China for over 10 years and have used a squatter once in my entire life, and my ambition is to never use one again.

@garrethhumphris - you have managed with this one posting to paint more distasteful pictures in our minds than we would ever wish for and than any other blog post has ever done. Bravo! Bragging rights for sure.

#2013-08-30 14:09:02 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

@downunder: Actually, the signs that are translated as "Please take one step forward" (上前一小步,文明一大步) literally translate as: "move forward a small step and you will take a big step for culture," which I think is a lovely sentiment. But the fine may be more effective

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