Monday, December 25, 2006

Cultural learnings from Hong Kong - sputum

This is the last of my cultural learnings posts for the time being. I shall call it "Cultural learnings from Hong Kong for make benefit glorious nation of Australia - the question of what to do with sputum".

I have been lurking at Hong Kong airport during a long and tedious transit. One of the less pleasant aspects of this sojourn has been the chorus of snorting, coughing, throat-clearing and expectorating in the men's toilet. Often a group of men will visit the loo in company and engage in this practice while carrying on a conversation and urinating.

It goes something like this: "Yadda yadda snort yadda hawk hawk hawk yadda yadda ptuie cough ptuie ha ha ha ha snort hawk hawk yadda ptuie ha ha hawk".

This is of course repulsive public behaviour to one brought up in glorious nation of Australia. However, perhaps Honking Hong Kongers are just as repulsed by the thought of furtively SWALLOWING sputum. Perhaps their view is "better out than in" when it comes to infective snotty slurry.

I have decided on a cultural compromise to honour the sputum solutions practised by both cultures. I will hawk, clear, snort and spit, but I will spit into my freshly washed and therefore hygienic hand. I will then lick up the resulting expectoration and swallow it. It may start a new trend of cultural compomise. I will try it for the first time this evening when I fly Cathay Pacific (a Hong Kong airline) into Brisbane (an Australian destination). I hope in my own small way to foster cultural understandings for make benefit for both Australia and China.