Smoking in the Park

I recently stumbled across this short video of things you see people doing in a park in Beijing. Parks in Beijing (and any other cities in China) are where retirees go to hang out. They sing, dance, play cards, and, apparently smoke. A lot!

Seeing all the smoking brought to mind a conversation I had with a tour bus driver in Beijing last year as we were standing around waiting for the group I was leading to board the bus. I had told him that I lived in Beijing for 15 years and he asked me to comment on all the changes I’d seen. Since it was a particularly smoggy day, I mentioned the pollution.

That set him off on a rant about how bad the pollution was and how the government wasn’t doing anything about it and how it was making people sick….all the while puffing away on a cigarette!

“Wait a minute,” I said to him…”you’re standing there fussing about air pollution while smoking a cigarette??”

He chuckled sheepishly.

I have long thought that in a country where upwards of 70% of the male population smokes, the uproar over the smog seems a bit misplaced!

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