I need to come clean

So, let us talk a bit about hygiene today. China is a very two-sided country to live in with regards to this. On the one hand, no one will put bags on the ground and restaurant staff will be quick to bring you something to put your bag in or on. Furthermore, once you drop something on the table it is deemed to be lost. Contaminated and poisoned for only the bravest to pick up. And of course food preparation itself is something that is under increased scrutiny these years, to make sure no mice, cockroaches or other foreign object end up in your mouth.

On the other hand though, this is the country where people spit freely on the streets. Where people will rather sit on the toilet itself than the seat. And where cleaning is being done to spread as many bacteria as possible, by using the same cloth to wipe counters, tables and the toilet.

All in all, it seems that there is a notion of hygiene, but it is not always very logical. For example, many large shopping malls and office buildings have cleaning ladies. Oftentimes, they are middle-aged and clearly cleaning the building the way they have always done. With age comes this certain tenacity, so you get the feeling that no matter what you say, they will stubbornly continue doing what they have always done.

Putting away the part of people cleaning useless bars, fences and glass panels, I want to focus on the toilets for now. I have literally seen the worst techniques for cleaning toilets being used here daily.

Exhibit A: I once entered a toilet where some mango ice smoothie was spilled on the ground. Not only was it wet, it was also sticky. No problem, the cleaning lady simply got the bin from the toilet (keep in mind that we do not flush toilet paper here in China, it is thrown separately in those bins), emptied it above the mango stain and in a few swipes brushed it away. Needlessly to say, the floor was not clean.

Exhibit B: just yesterday, I wanted to go to the toilet at my office building, but the cleaning lady was doing her rounds. With a familiarly greasy mop (I do not think I have ever seen clean mops being used here) she absent-mindedly swept the floor. When one of the stalls opened, she swiped the floor, put the mop into the bin with all the toilet paper to make it humid and stomped it a few times, swiped the mop past the toilet itself and was then generous enough to let me enter.

A few days ago I saw a cockroach in the toilet which was so large it made me instantly flee the stall. When I came out, another girl went in and went out again immediately as well. We connected on a spiritual level.

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