I recently read an amusing news article asking whether Beijing taxi drivers should stop eating garlic and onions during the Beijing Olympic Games.
Here are a couple of choice quotes from the article:
No Shi Xiangpeng, a political consultant from Hong Kong, raised the issue last March, saying one-third of the taxi drivers he had hailed here stank of garlic. I believe Shi’s ratio is right but his concerns are misguided.
The fellow who owned the cab always stressed the importance of having fresh odorizers in the car just to ensure a comfortable trip for customers. But considering the massive chunks of garlic Chinese people like to eat, not even an industrial strength odorizer could do the job.
Although it’s amusing, there are some serious questions underneath:
- How far should taxi drivers (and Chinese people in general) go to make sure the Olympics are as successful as possible? Do they have to go as far as even changing their eating habits?
- And what about visitors, especially Westerners – shouldn’t they be expected to be tolerant of things that may seem odd or unpleasant back home?
I’ll write more about tolerance in a future post, but for now I’m interested to know what you think about the first question.