Babies and toddlers in China don’t wear nappies because they are ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘mafan’. Not to mention an ‘unnecessary expense’. Having witnessed it, we know that adults are happy to lift up a child from behind, gripping the back of its thighs, and allow it to urinate (or worse) in full and clear view of passers by in public places such as parks or pavements. Underwear doesn’t have to be removed because there isn’t any. Just a rudimentary hole cut out of the child’s lower-body wear.
As strange as it may sound, its certainly no more backward than the sight of fully grown men urinating in public on nights out in Britain. At least these children don’t know any better.
Unfortunately though, kids pissing in parks and pavements (in complete HD view) is only the tip of the iceberg. The worse thing we saw was a child in a Kunming KFC, whose nether regions were thrust into the public eye and who proceeded to create a rancid pool of pee that flowed freely on and around diners shoes. Nobody batted an eyelid. Maybe because Kunming is less ‘sophisticated’ than other cities, or maybe there is another reason.
We were pleased to learn of a recent debacle on the underground subway network of Shanghai; the most wealthy, cosmopolitan, modern and international city in China. A young couple, accompanied by a male, spread their toddlers legs and encouraged him to pee on the subway carriage floor, amongst tens of other passengers in the immediate vicinity who were essentially trapped.
The child’s urine splashed onto a woman standing immediately next to them. And with that – FINALLY – we establish the breaking point; it’s okay to piss anytime and anywhere – just as long as you don’t piss on me.
The woman let off a volley of abuse at the father of the child, who was holding the baby. To everyones surprise, this ‘man’ reacted very aggressively, and even enlisted the help of his friend, also a male, to intimidate the woman. An elderly gentleman got up and spoke out:
“Children can’t just piss on the subway! Can’t you bring a bag, or something?”
The father responded angrily; “Motherfucker, its none of your fucking business!”
To which the older gentleman said “How is none of my fucking business, am I not riding the subway like you, did I not buy a ticket?”
The father and the woman who was peed on continued to argue. The situation escalated fast and when the man successfully tried to kick the woman, the public finally stepped in with massive condemnation.
Backed into a corner by subway passengers, the two men were in danger. They both made calls to friends:
“Come quickly to station ____, we’ve run into some trouble on the subway, hurry and bring people with you!”
Presumably these men thought these calls would deter the crowd; they were wrong. “How many people can you call? Not more than the amount of people on this carriage!”
The argument had lost its momentum when the two men realised they had bitten off more than they could chew. They meekly offered to get off at the next station in mumbled words, so they could ‘deal with’ their detractors, but had no intention of doing so.
Our opinion is that the public’s reacted reasonably. However, disappointingly, comments made by netizens on Weibo have shown that there are still those who think pissing on a subway or kicking a woman is acceptable.
“the child’s father is young and handles things a little extremely…but shouldn’t we be forgiving, especially in public?…how would you feel as a father being scolded in front of your own child?”.
Though comments like this show that domestic attitudes towards excreting waste in public must be adapted for cities like Shanghai or Beijing to be viewed abroad as ‘international class’, the fact that this caused such a scene should be seen as a move in the right direction.