Links and Thoughts

Posted in General at 1:49 pm by Nicole

When I got to Beijing two and a half weeks ago I started to notice something I hadn’t seen on previous visits: uniformed officers on the subway platforms. Security, I thought at the time. Then yesterday morning I noticed something wonderful about them: they have foghorns and when a train arrives, they make an announcement that goes something like this: “Please let people exit the subway car before entering. Please make room for exiting passengers.” And it works. Before this week, getting on or off a subway was an exercise in squeezing through a sardine-can of a train car, stuffed to the gills with people, all of whom seemed to be moving with absolutely no regard or recognition for the people around them. Now, people are waiting at the sides of the doors on the platform and letting people get off the subway before they get on. Thanks to the guys in the uniforms with the foghorns.

“So, Nicole, what does that have to do with the Olympics?”

Funny you should ask. :) The press has covered the issue of “manners” in China fairly extensively in the last few months and the ways in which local officials are training Beijing residents to be more polite. It’s true that lining up is not necessarily expected, that public spitting, um, happens, and that cashiers sometimes just about throw your change at you. But the foghorns made my day because they worked. And it makes life easier for everyone, and makes me feel like we don’t have to push our way through life just to be able to live and work here. So thanks to 2008, I had a nice commute this morning. Hats off to the foghorns.

The news…

Olympics: USOC working to improve its image (USA Today); Morning swims could be even more golden for Phelps (IndyStar.com)

Track and Field: Ca$hing in on Liu Xiang’s feat (The Star, Malaysia); Chinese Olympic medalist turns rock star (Pacific Epoch)

Doping: Weightlifting doping cases are “tip of iceberg” (Associated Press, via the Globe and Mail)

Cricket in China: China enters cricket arena (NDTV, New Delhi)

Football scandals in China: Soccer fraud not limited (Shanghai Daily)

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