Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Little Red Book of Etiquette for the Beijing Olympics

Don't dress in more than 3 colors?
"The Little Red Book," the sayings of Chairman Mao, was replaced by a little red booklet that instructed Beijing's residents in how to act and dress ahead of the city's 2008 Olympics.
  • Don't mix more than three colours
  • Do shake hands for three seconds only
  • Don't wear your pajamas in public
Citizens were ordered not to dress in more than three colors, wear white socks with black shoes or parade in pajamas, in the dos and don'ts of Olympic etiquette. 
Like a totalitarian version of "Trinny and Susannah," from British television's "What Not to Wear," Zheng Mojie, deputy director of the Office of Capital Spiritual Civilisation Construction Commission, penned a booklet posted to four million Beijing households stating acceptable standards of dress and behavior.  
On the black list was handshakes that last longer than three seconds, quizzing visitors about religion or politics and spitting. (Spitting was a popular habit which was banned in the city in 2006.) 
The etiquette booklet was part of a slew of admonitions on manners, said Ms Mojie: "The level of civility of the whole city has improved and a sound cultural and social environment has been assured for the success of the Beijing Olympic Games." 
There should be no more than three colour groups in your clothing, the committee advised, and wearing pajamas to visit neighbors, as some elderly Beijing residents like to do, is also out.
It recommends dark socks, and says white socks should never be worn with black leather shoes. In the last few years the government prepared people for the Olympics with the slogan: "I participate, I contribute, I enjoy."
Dog meat was struck from the menus of officially designated Olympic restaurants, and Beijing tourism officials are telling other outlets to discourage consumers from ordering dishes made from dogs,according to the official Xinhua News Agency . Waiters and waitresses are being instructed to patiently suggest other options to diners who order dog meat. Dog meat, known in Chinese as "xiangrou," or "fragrant meat," is eaten by some Chinese for its purported "health-giving qualities." But Beijing isn't the first Olympic host to ban the dish. South Korea banned dog meat for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. South Korea invoked a law prohibiting the sale of "foods deemed unsightly." After the Olympics, the ban was not strictly enforced. Dog meat is eaten in Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines. 

Measures such as the ban on spitting in the capital city and the introduction of a day to show more patience in lines – on the 11th of each month – have paid off, Ms Mojie said. Campaigns involving nearly a million volunteers have been launched to give etiquette tips at schools, universities and government offices.

Ms Mojie said: "Such campaigns and educational activities are now improving the lives of Beijingers. Now you'll find more smiling faces and people are more elegantly dressed." She said people have formed a habit of queuing and at more than 1,000 bus stops people are forming orderly lines. "This has already become a habit for the Beijing citizens," she said. 

The booklet also advised there should be no public displays of affection and feet should be slightly apart or in a V or Y shape when standing. It also says residents should not ask foreigners their age, marital status, income, past experience, address, personal life, religious belief or political belief. 

Another book, published in April of 2008, detailed how to be a good fan when watching Olympic competitions, saying spectators should cheer all teams, and accept that a victory or loss is temporary whereas the impression of the culture inside a sports venue lasts forever.