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On toilets and smoking

km2005 (4 posts) • 0

I am a lover of Salvador's -- the food, the service, and especially the decoration. But there are two things I hate about Salvador's: the toilet and the cigarette smoke.

'No poop'? Come on! The toilet stinks without the poop. What's wrong with a 'Western' style toilet in a place which serves 'Wester' food? The Chinese deco is cool, but do you have to have a cheap Chinese toilet where used toilet paper is collected in a bucket in the open? What's wrong with a 'Western' toilet, which most Chinese (and other Asian) families have adopted?

As for cigarette smoking: please have at least a non-smoking section. China should learn the best habits of the West -- one of which is the respect for non-smokers who do not want to inhale second-hand smoke.

Otherwise, a good place!

kirmish (16 posts) • 0

Wow, someone really needs to go get some cultural senstitivity training! I haven't read anything this offensive in quite a while.

Firstly, if you haven't noticed, you are in CHINA. You are also in Kunming, which is *not* a semi-westernised city in the same way the Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing are. The Chinese are not western, and I, for one, think that is a good thing. It wouldn't be an interesting experience for me to live in China just to have everything the same as at home. I could just stay at home and save myself a lot of time and money.

Secondly, the sign at Salvador's clearly states that the building is old and it cannot support "pooping" or toilet paper. Installing a western-style toilet will not fix this problem. It is an infrastructure issue. Ironically, whilst I find your post culturally insensitive to the point of being offensive, I do actually agree that the toilet is the greatest weakness of Salvador's. I strongly suggest that whinging about it here is not constructive, and that maybe you should go talk to the management (two of whom are American and even speak English reasonably well!), and suggest a more thorough and regular cleaning roster and the use of air freshener.

Thirdly, you need to understand that "most" Chinese families have NOT adopted western-style toilets. As I have said above, maybe they have adopted western style toilets in the more westernised cities, but the vast majority of the Chinese population does not live there, and they have not (lothes.blogspot.com/2006/03/asian-toilets.html). In any case, I would take a dirty squat toilet, which I don't have to touch, over a dirty western-style toilet any day! (www.escapeartist.com/efam/75/Surviving_In_China.html)

As for the cigarette smoking assertion, if you don't like the smoking, I'd strongly suggest that China is not the place for you, as they have the highest incidence of smoking in the world (www.wpro.who.int/media_centre/fact_sheets/fs_20020528.htm). In fact western cigarette companies are trying to break into this market, and the government is trying to stop them (www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1099728,00.html). So the west is actually *contributing* to the problem, not trying to solve it. Is that a good habit? Once again, I suggest you talk to the management at Salvador's and see what they have to say.

Maybe you could raise a petition for a better toilet and non-smoking area? I think that would be a better use of our time, rather than me feeling like I have to write this demonstrating that not all ex-pats are as culturally insensitive as you.


Ahmet (98 posts) • 0

I'm surprised by the passion in both of these statements. First, for km2005, I'm always a little suspect about expats looking for "Western" food in Asia. I usually try to stay away from any place that tries to duplicate Europe, North or South America and Africa while living in the heart of Asia. I think that a very significant part of cultural experience is the local cuisine.

Second, Hamish, I understand your shock at what seems to be cultural insensitivity, but I have to say that km2005's remarks were not about some tiny family restaurant in a rural village. The remarks were about a place that is set up to cater to Western expats in the capitol of Yunnan Province. What I find frustrating about Chinese culture is the attempt to have it both ways: trying to appear "Western" but only superficially while being indignant about anything/anyone that's critical.

Yes, the plumbing in much of China is terrible. The reaons are 1) China is a developing nation with very low percapita GDP 2)building codes, if they exist, are not enforced because the entire system of government from the premier in Beijing to lowest level bureaucrat is not accountable to anyone and is rife with corruption.

Cigarette smoking and the effects of second hand smoke are the leading causes of death in China. 75% of adult males smoke (it's actually a higher percentage in Yunnan, the leading producer of tobacco). In California, by comparison, only 14% of the entire population smokes (it's around 20% for the entire US). The only reason the Chinese government is trying to keep out the American tobacco companies is to protect their interests in domestic production of a highly addictive substance, not to promote the health of Chinese people. Chinese smokers are very much like the smokers in the rest of the developing world: completely ignorant of the dangers, oblivious to the general well being of others, and thoroughly caught up in the smoking "lifestyle."

So, talk to the management of any extablishment you frequent and encourage them to minimize or eliminate smoking. Encourage them to set up non-smoking areas. Encourage them to have better toilet facilities or at least do a better job of maintaining what they currently have. If these suggestions don't work, use the strongest weapon in the capitalist arsenal, your pocketbook. Don't frequent these establishments and discourage others from going.

bonethug (3 posts) • 0

Where to begin with this thread is difficult. First of all I have to agree that the statements of km2005 are extremely insensitive, it's expats like this that are an embarrassment to the rest of us who are willing to accept and live with cultural difference and not try to impose our ideals on others. From a health perspective, squatting is actually better than the laziness of a sitter, which shouldn't matter since you are asked not to "poop" in Salvador's anyway.
As for the smoking, this stance that smokers are a different sect of society infuriates me. Smokers are just as much patrons as yourself. If you spend any amount of time in Salvador's you would know that the evenings are largely a Chinese patronage, and I am fairly sure that the management of Salvador's does not want to lose the business they have worked so hard over three years to establish. As cited above, Chinese people smoke, period. From 16 to 60, the patrons of Salvador's could just as easily move a few doors down Wen Hua Shang if they feel discriminated against. Again, it's expats who are unwilling to accept cultural difference that give the rest of us a bad name. If you want an environment without smoking or "stinky" toilets, GO HOME! There is a reason why China is called a "developing" country and we (expats) don't need small-minded people speaking as though they represent the rest of us.

km2005: "China should learn the best habits of the West"

I ask why? Ostracizing one group of people to please another! What is so progressive about that?!

waingro (1 post) • 0

I'm going to have to defend km2005. Since when does asking for a non-sh** smelling toilet and no smoke in your face, make you culturally insensitive? It actually just makes you seem like a real human using his brain. Why don't you guys go and try that. You guys are defending sh** smell and smoke-in-your-face. Go sit down and think about that for a second.

YllwBucki (9 posts) • 0

I think the bottom line is if you don't like the customs and certain social and living standards in china, why are you here in the first place. This ain't the west anymore toto....

km2005 (4 posts) • 0

Hi all, I have not visited this site for some time now and am glad to see that my original post has generated interest. Just to be clear, I am not a so-called 'expat'. I grew up in Kuming and most my family live in Kunming.

I still think that - a restaurant should not have a stinking toilet; China should learn the best habits of the West or any other place; that Chinese should learn not to smoke so much.

As I said before, I like Salvador's food and the atmosphere, but I do not like the stinking toilet and the smoke. Not all Chinese like stinking toilets and smoking, so what is wrong with cleaning up the toilet situation and having a downstairs non-smoking section?

Terry (7 posts) • 0

I just stumbled onto this post and find it quite funny. Apparently, some people on this post think not appreciating cancerous second hand smoke = culturally insensitive. I think in restaurants or bars people have come to accept smoke in China. However, if there were a non-smoking section I would definitely welcome the choice, at any establishment. What I especially do not like is when people light up in an elevator or at the gym, or in a place where it is clearly marked "no smoking". Just because " we are not in the west" or, "China is a developing country" does not mean cigarette smoke is any healthier over here then in any other country. Accepting differences is more than about second hand smoke. I know plenty of Chinese who don't smoke.

Chicago Coffee (2 posts) • 0

Starting 1.1.2008 you can poop in our toilets and avoid 2nd-hand smoke.

Chicago Coffee
M-Th 9:00-22:00
F-Sat 9:00-23:00
Sun 12:00-22:00

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