Blog: Observations
by SqueakyClean

Chinese Spitting

Spit a loogie to the ground. In public. Did you know?

Date:   9/22/2006 11:32:48 AM   ( 17 y ) ... viewed 4837 times

Did you know?

Chinese people think it's bad to swallow your own saliva. They try to spit it out instead of swallowing it. When you are walking around in China you will see a LOT of people spitting! It's mostly older men, but you can see anyone doing it. Sometimes you can see a person walking around with a drink bottle or can, which is their "spit bottle", a portable disposable spitoon. Ew!
By the way, I've been to China and Singapore, seen it done. Numerous times.

Here's some info about it.

During the 2008 Olympics,
"Volunteers wearing uniforms emblazoned with the Chinese character for "mucus'' will hand out "spit bags'' to encourage "civilized spitting,'' said Zhang Huiguang, director of Beijing's Capital Ethical and Cultural Development Office."

Here's some discussion about it:
One person there mentioned this:

"First off, yes, I agree that where, when and even how one eliminates excess mucus is important, but to answer the question of "Why" - well, because it is far healthier to jettison that excess mucus than it is to suck it up an swallow it as so many do - and after all, "health" and working with the body instead fighting against it is something the Chinese culture has understood for over two millenia.

The autonomic reaction of the body to expel excess mucus is a design of nature to assist the body in preventing unwanted "reserves" of mucoid matter that provide prime growing ground for disease-causing bacteria - and that is a very good thing; and if more people would realize that "sucking it up an swallowing instead of getting rid of it" is one of the worst things one can do, then the healthier many would be.

I am far more disgusted when I see/hear some poor fool trying to clear the excess mucus from their pharyngeal tract - who then "swallows" what the body is trying to get rid so as to defend itself - than I am by someone allowing this natural defense system of the body to function as nature intended."

From hearsay, some people swallow everything. Others swallow regular saliva but spit out "loogies" (mucus). Others spit out everything.
Spitting out mucous makes sense, I do that, too (but into a tissue).
A lot of chinese men smoke, so it makes sense that they would have a LOT of "stuff" to spit out.

Also related is Nose Blowing:
"In Germany, however, people tend to blow their noses really hard and loud (I swear, it sometimes sound like a loud fart!) in public. Heck, they even do it while they are all quietly eating. Some still use handkerchiefs but most use tissues. They’d rather that you you get it out than sniff the whole time.

And in China… blowing your nose into a tissue is considered rude if you do it in public. They think it’s disgusting. The best way to do it while in China? Blow your nose straight into the ground. Seriously."

Singapore has a lot of Chinese, who spit and blow their nose on the street/sidewalk/grass.
"I saw a man blow his nose, but the mucus just strung out, suspended half the distance from nose to ground. He was only a metre away from me having lunch at a coffeeshop. For an interminable one and a half seconds, I was confronted with this disgusting sight."

On a slightly different note, apparently the Malays have a thing about spitting while fasting:
"One of the cardinal rules of fasting, the older kids would teach us, is that we must not swallow our saliva. To do so would nullify our fasting, so we would constantly spit all day long until our throats became so dry. But we must not spit indiscriminately. If we did, and if a non-Muslim were to step over (langkah) our spit, our fast would batal (nullify). So, whenever we wanted to spit, which was all the time, we would look for a drain where there was running water to ensure that our spit got washed away and there would be no danger of an Indian or Chinese langkah our spit."

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