Beijing is not known for its manners. People there hold one nostril down with their finger and exhale violently in order to clear their other nostril of snot. Other people will hock a loogie on the sidewalk as they walk without missing a beat. This happens all the time and is acceptable in their culture. The Chinese government wants to change that. Since the Olympics are coming to Beijing in 2008, the government is teaching its citizens manners, such as “the right way to spit” and “the right way to sit.”

I am not sure why the government is teaching people to sit. Perhaps the men flash people when they are wearing shorts, I really don’t know. Anyway, spitting and sitting is the tip of the iceberg. Most of my Chinese friends tell me that people will light up cigarettes in elevators, waiters will have cigarettes in their mouths as they bring you food, and even the people cooking the food don’t stop for smoke breaks! Needless to say, teaching manners in Beijing will be tough.

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