A couple who allowed their two year old toddler to pee in the middle of a busy Hong Kong street have sparked a huge debate about acceptable standards of behavior in Chinese society.
The umbrage came to be after a mother was filmed holding a nappy under her two year old daughter as she relieved herself in the middle of Mong Kok, one of the world’s busiest shopping districts last Tuesday.
Noticing that they were being filmed, the child’s parents tried to make off with the filmer’s memory card to no avail.
Whilst the couple and the individual argued, another passerby began filming the ensuing scene (see below) which they in turn posted on Chinese social media forum, Weibo.
It wasn’t soon long after that the video would go viral causing wide consternation.
Many who complained would strike a chord with how the standards of social behavior in mainland China differed with that of the former colony of Hong Kong.
The law makes it illegal to let a child relieve themselves in the street in Hong Kong and doing so can result in a HK$2000 fine. That said, the practice is relatively common in mainland China with few seeing fit to make an issue of it.
The incident in Mong Kok last week occurred because there was a long line for a public toilet and the child could not wait, according to the Want China Times.
Onlookers surrounded the family to take pictures and then blocked their path as they tried to flee with the child and the pram.
‘The child was going to pee in her pants, what do you want me do?’ the mother can be heard telling onlookers in the video.
She was arrested for allegedly slapping one of the locals across the face and ramming another with the pram.
The row came to light after a Hong Kong reporter, Luqiu Luwei, posted the details on her blog.
An anonymous user of China’s popular online forum, Tianya.cn, has now escalated tensions by calling on mainland parents to bring their children to Hong Kong this week and let them urinate in the streets in protest.
‘Bring children to Hong Kong and let them urinate in Hong Kong’s streets. Let’s see who will come and take photos. They will see it as natural after they have been familiarized with the act,’ user Haijiao No68 posted, according to the South China Morning Post.
Since being posted online, the video and images of the toddler has drawn more than one million comments on Weibo social media alone.
‘Why don’t the couple let the child wear the diaper as a precaution in the first place?’ Ivan lam posted on Weibo.
‘They could talk to the people in the line to let them use the bathroom first or let the child pee inside the bathroom instead of on the street.’
But Chinese citizens weighing in on the debate have hit back at the treatment of the couple and child.
‘The man had no right to take pictures of a little girl peeing and violate her privacy,’ Weibo user youyouyu wrote.
One editorial commentary described the incident as ‘just a trivia in society which could have easily blown away in the wind.’ but added when scuffles and discrimination comes into play, it highlights a wider problem in society.
Adding further: ‘It takes a lot of self-reflection and learning to achieve civilization, while experiences are also required for traveling. Both the tourists and [the people at] the destination need to raise their level of civilization to get along with each other. The crux of it is understanding.’
And then there was this comment on the web that had me ruefully smiling:
Such a lie as many parents will realize – that when children need to go, they have to go.
What Hong Kong is objecting to is the casual self-excusing attitude where the culprit is claiming that they themselves are so irritated by the situation so why are you making such a fuss?
What Hong Kong knows is that such a self-excusing feint is actually commonly employed by fellow Hong Kongers – it’s a snitty stupid evasive maneuver common amongst Chinese, correct?
It just probably is not about peeing in the middle of the street in front of multiple stores because as the parents are claiming, the q was too long at a real lavatory.
Really? So you didn’t use the diaper inside a crowded public restroom but took to the sidewalk?
You did it because you weren’t too considerate of your kid. You weren’t making him go every twenty minutes at his age by locating a proper restroom at the 20 minute mark. You weren’t attentive, you’re on vacation, you’ve got this kid so it’s not exactly a second honeymoon for you and your spouse – you’ve got parental obligations.
In this case, despite all the abuses filmed and posted on youtube, POOR HONG KONG.