Culture clash over kid peeing in a garbage can in a Richmond shopping mall

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      A photo of an Asian toddler peeing into a garbage can in a Richmond mall won't come as a surprise to some long-time Hong Kong residents.

      I've heard complaints from one Hong Kong–born Canadian about the arrival of large numbers of mainland Chinese into the former British colony after it was returned to China in 1997.

      Some have lots of money, but not all were schooled with the same manners as those born and raised in Hong Kong.

      I don't want to paint all mainland Chinese with the same brush. And we don't know if this mother was from the mainland.

      Keep in mind that people from Shanghai are known for their urbane sophistication and business savvy. Their kids rank highest in the world on math scores. And those from Beijing are often incredibly knowledgeable about political issues.

      City dwellers from around the world—whether they're from Tehran, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, or Cairo—often make the transition as immigrants to Canada more easily than those from small villages. That's because urban residents are usually exposed to far more diversity than those from rural backgrounds.

      So if one mom allows her kid to pee in a garbage can in a Richmond shopping mall, it shouldn't be that big a deal. After all, how many white adults have you seen peeing in the streets of downtown Vancouver in the early-morning hours?

      I'm sure that over time, this woman will adjust to Canadian ways. Culture is never static. And given all the media attention this is receiving, she probably already knows that this isn't something that most Canadians want to encourage in this country.

      There are far bigger issues to deal with—for example, the high likelihood of climate change raising sea levels to a point where Richmond residents will have more important concerns than a little kid peeing in a garbage can.

      Look at the bright side. At least he didn't urinate on the floor.




      Aug 30, 2013 at 10:00am

      Well I use to live in the highrise apartments next to Rogers Arena. Every day before and after events such as hockecy games or concerts, there would be lines of Canadian men and women who would piss all around the building walls. Basically anywhere near the lobby and some even pissed on the glass of the lobby wall (on the outside) so its not just a cultural thing. Trust me.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 10:33am

      We caucasians are known for relieving ourselves in public so we shouldn't complain too much. However, in a mall?

      I don't think a native Hong Konger or Taiwanese person would let their child do something like this in public. More of a mainlander thing. Cruder and ruder.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 11:45am

      It's not a culture clash. There is no bystander anywhere that approves of this behaviour.

      Yes you can reduce the pool of perpetrators down to rural mainland Chinese. Ultimately it comes down to disrespecting everyone around them because they would rather be lazy and exploit the safety they feel from anonymity.

      Even poor tired farmers who choose crotchless pants over expensive diapers for their children, will not allow -- let alone encourage -- their children to urinate and defecate in the kitchens of their homes.

      These problems occur when they are out in public, when they think they are away from anyone that knows them. In a subway train, on to the shoes of the person sitting next to them at the bus stop, walking down a market street -- they will take over and trash anywhere they can, if they believe there are no personal consequences. It never matters how near a clean, free, and well marked public bathroom is.

      There should be a human flesh search for this woman so that she can tell us why she thinks this is acceptable behavior.

      Alan Layton

      Aug 30, 2013 at 12:32pm

      I'm guessing it was a choice of this, or the kid peeing his pants. Nature has no respect for manners.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 12:46pm

      This is the only place I have been that isn't sure if we should say something when people are out of line. "Oh, who are you to say anything about what other people do?" This is the melt down of a nice place to be where people look out for one another. The expectation of decency and health is worth bringing to the attention of everyone. Please grab a pair and say something. The standard of all our lives is made better by caring about each other. No, its not ok to pee in the garbage can.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 2:50pm

      Malls have restrooms for Gods sakes....after celebrating a night on the town there's very few options to relieve yourself on the streets of downtown comparison folks.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 3:51pm

      This peeing in public thing is unfortunately very common. I have seen Chinese grandmothers allowing their grandchild to pee from pavement to road, behind field benches and in bushes. And this is not unique to mainland Chinese because the parking lot close to my office reeks of urine daily and it's often done by construction workers waiting for their call-out to their work site. Thank goodness for Vancouver's rainy weather.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 3:54pm

      In the absence of a convenient trash can, what was the fall-back position for mom? Pissing on the floor?

      Bah. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see an adult male cough up some phlegm and spit it out on the sidewalk for others to step in. Worse, there are males who blow their noses on the street by blocking alternate nostrils, spewing a stream of ... of ... there are no words.

      No worries though. We are all alert for evil cigarette butts and candy wrappers!

      RMD mom

      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:11pm

      This isn't news. I've witnessed multiple times living in Richmond. I love where I live but am getting tired of being spit and coughed on also.


      Aug 30, 2013 at 8:20pm

      Dogs and cats pee everywhere, who cares.