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August 13, 2008

Westernized China: The Queue

If you’ve never been to Asia, it would probably be safe to assume that simple Western customs such as lining up to get on a bus, buy food at a concession stand, or check in to the airport would be observed in China with just as much enthusiasm as they are at home. That couldn’t be more wrong. Until Westerners began to arrive and officials started cracking down on violators (with nothing more than a shout and a stern look), Chinese would push and shove their way to the front of the line everywhere from grocery stores to subway stops.

But as mentioned in previous posts, officials have been Westernizing and refreshing the city for months -- it’s just taking residents a little longer to adjust. Subway workers stand on platforms during rush hour, enforcing single file lines between trains, but when the doors open, those at the back of the line push their way to the front as workers stand idle and watch helplessly. During off-peak times, however, locals respect the lines, waiting their turn to get on the bus.

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