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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
7426 Views | 24 Comments | 8/28/2013 2:40:02 PM
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(Showing 11 to 20 of 24) Previous 1 2 3 More...
#2013-08-30 14:44:56 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Yes, I really like the ´proper urination for high culture´ sentiments. My bathroom in the building I work has one that shows smiling sanitation workers doing a ´thumbs up´...Good Job man!

As a regular user of both squat and seated bathroom appliances, I must say, I actually find the squat most comfortable - once you get all your clothing, foot position, mobile phone location and aim sorted out! In fact, it is probably ´cleaner´ than a shared sitting type!

The ones I can´t handle so well are the ones you often find in public buildings in rural China that are essentially a channel of high-speed water...dropping pennies in a river! Oh, and they are often shared with 5-6 others as well with no partitions - nothing is too private in China!

#2013-08-30 14:46:04 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Sickest man on CLM...thanks for the brag!

Wasn´t my intention for sure...

#2013-08-30 17:24:23 by downunder @downunder

Yeah - there are some terrible toilets in China, floors awash with liquids, squat positions coated in... umm, non-liquids. But are the ladies toilets any worse? As bad as it is, ignore, hold breath... stand back when flushing for their design is sub-optimal.

@aussieghump is right - squatting to evacuate is comfortable and better for you - once everything else (clothes etc) is in order. Aids to semi-replicate the squatting are available for standard toilets now days.

@woaizhongguo - ta for the sign's correct words, aka "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".

Worst toilet visited was at a large construction site in Beijing (we're talking toilets here, I won't shorten that to 'BJ'!). Asked someone where a toilet was and he very kindly took me to this communal open cesspit that reeked badly. Security at the site was uncertain whether to let me through but we ignored them. I expect someone hoses down the continuous channel periodically. Still, I wasn't complaining and was indebted to his kindness.

Perhaps the 100rmb fines will work - during a week in Hong Kong recently I only saw two people bringing up their lung's contents onto the footpath.

Right then, what's the next topic?

#2013-08-30 21:25:31 by sandy339 @sandy339

sorry Garreth, for my unpolished comment,
but it is my true feeling about the picture, not for your blog...
I am grateful that you didn't respond tit for tat. I regretted sending the comment, but there is something stuck in my heart and got shocked at the picture....

#2013-09-01 07:48:47 by anonymous7271 @anonymous7271

hehe,,,你为什么总喜欢揭中国的阴暗面?你的心里也太不阳光了??你说的这种地方只是各别现象,相信中国的绝大部分卫生间还是令人满意的,有的甚至比你的家还要上档次!!

#2013-09-01 21:05:28 by RobertB @RobertB

@Sandy339
Poor Sandy, you did not understand the article neither the men's nature and the need for men. In the perfect world possibly there would be no men because all would have been 100% perfect. Then either some women would become "toughies" or they would be extremely frustrated not to have anything to complain about. In this world though, men are especially designed to extra "dirt/inconvenience" resistant. Thanks to that they actually agree to work on roads and mines and other dirty places.
You ladies may be can work there too but you do not want to really. It is a mistake. You should get down and dirty. If not, then you need species that can do that job for you. So, be grateful.
The fun was definitely not fun, just the way we have to deal with horrible problems and not get totally mad or crazy. Normal person would have started a war immediately. So, what? Maybe extremely effective could kill few people, like cleaners, officials and so on, then possibly the "enemies" of China would have fun talking about Chinese suppressing their population, because you cannot win with millions of soldiers, bankers and so on.
So, the best thing you have left is not to take it too seriously, understand that most of things that happen to us, do because officials feel that they have to deliver "results", which of'course is false, because you have to approach every matter carefully not to rush for effectiveness.
So, all over the world we can observe scandalous behavior of officials who want to prove themselves without any sort of consideration for real conditions in the field and of'course none for the citizens.
It goes true for China, Japan, US, UK, EU African states and if I did not mention a single state, I am sorry, I only have this little space here.
So, what we can do is: first try to stay healthy (if we can), second try to watch both our cash and our backs.
The rest, we need to have fun as much as we can and no one can stop us, providing the previous conditions have been met.
The reason for religion is that allows us to postpone life till later.
That is the belief in better afterlife. So, we can ease on this one.
That is one of the reasons why many states support religion. Yet, when religion becomes too organized then it becomes the problem itself, that is the reason why Chinese government does not support religion.
So, Chinese are very religious but keep it for themselves. That is probably the best solution to the problem. Yet, because the state is so old and have so many people, then official problem has become bigger.
moreover, nowadays the western approach does not always improve the situation. Maybe the officials feel threatened and thus they want to introduce quick fixes, that seem to be taken straight from a grotesque play.
I know, as I said, absolutely everywhere this happens and it is possible that even ourselves have done something to that effect in our lives at some point. It is just going overboard with trying to achieve some results without paying attention to surrounding conditions.
Otherwise we may feel trapped and unable to act.
In our world we have so many rules and conditions that we often cannot do anything. So, at extreme situation we just charge ahead, hoping that this will help. That just reveals how frustrated and stressed officials are. I am not surprised. There might be more foreigners in Shenzhen than anywhere else. So, the officials want to improve the way China is seen in the world by trying to introduce more "culture and restraint in personal unhygienic" behavior.. Well done! Now, you can start thinking!

#2013-09-01 21:16:06 by RobertB @RobertB

@Zhen012
Thank you Zhen. I know, it may seem that it is horrible. There must be life possible if we have in China more than 1.4 billion people. So, we cannot really complain. On the other hand, we cannot say that let us say life in Luxemburg is not possible as there are only 0.5 mln citizens.
Although to a degree it is true. Life in Luxemburg is not possible to much bigger population, while China could take another billion.
It is surprising how simple albeit extremely important health operation, emptying the bladder,can give rise to variety of answers.
So many more questions of various nature. It is related to city planning, social sciences, architecture, mathematics and physics, politics and religion and myriad others.
Here, I can just go to my bathroom and do what I want.
Lovely. I am in no need now, just it is nice to think about it.
By the way, if you had no chance to read my other response to the same article, I will tell you that such ridiculous things happen all over the world and are result of overtheoriticized (too well educated but with no real thinking skills) under pressure and trying to impress officials. Office workers of sorts. Never saw the thing, but try to control it.

#2013-09-02 00:00:20 by anonymous7283 @anonymous7283

@Sandy339 - do not apologize for your comment. I had the same reaction! I am truly disgusted by this.

@anonymous7271 - Excellent comments. I hope this is an individual phenomenon.

#2013-09-02 14:19:34 by aussieghump @aussieghump

I am sorry that people take exception to the picture - it is a one of many 'public conveniences' that I have visited and due to high use, poor design and poor cleaning regime, has come out that way! It is not the worst I have visited either!

To those that think that I always paint a poor reflection of China, really all I am doing is commenting on differences between society, culture and tradition and that is not searching for 'the dark side' - in fact, it is just explaining differences in expectation, actions and behaviours.

It may not be too obvious to Chinese readers, but this article actually starts by speaking about my poor toilet hygiene habits!

A comment about my China experience is NOT an attack on China! It is a comment about my China experience! Please remember I have lived in China for a long time and live here by CHOICE...if I really have a bad day, I can go somewhere else.

#2013-09-03 08:31:08 by Scaramouche @Scaramouche

Dear zhen012,

I've been to Beijing, Tianjin, Luoyang, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Macau, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Quanzhou, Putian, and Wuyi mountain.

I can assure you most public toilets are like the picture above, sometimes even worse. Please, don't take offense.

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