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10 Beijing things Beijingers ignore

Don't ignore these things? What are you, not from Beijing?

Sketches from a Beijing hutong toilet scene. Image: Robert Ennals

1. The VJ-Day Parade on loop on the subway

Nothing says welcome to Beijing like an anti-Japanese military parade looping tirelessly on the underground. If you haven't taken the subway in the last six months, head down and treat yourselves to 65 minutes of the choicest Chinese propaganda.

2. Extracting cash money from the jaws of peril

Go on, take it.

Not sure why you have to reach into The Chokey to collect your just kuai.

‘Much too good for children’

3. Groups of naked dudes shitting in a row, staring at you like you’re the bad guy


Also smoking. Sure, they're only naked because it's summer and their shirts were already off. Doesn't make it any less naked.

4. Beijing International Travel Healthcare Center aka Beijing Shame Palace


Those of us on work or long-term student visas know what this is about. That trek to that hospital at the end of the earth. The hour spent rebounding from doctor to doctor like the logo on a DVD player idle screen. The over-the-counter blood test. The eye-roll at your request for something to cover the resultant bleeding. The eyesight exam:

‘Read that one.’
‘Sorry, which one?’
There – the "E".’
‘Perfect. Leave.’

5. All of the children wearing the split pants


Make it rain!

6. Social media trends featuring boobs and pens


For those of you who weren't here earlier this year, you missed an online breast challenge. It went like this: place pen under breast. If pen stays, snap a selfie, for the bosom is irrefutably buxom.

Darn nearly broke the Weibo when it went viral in January, but don't take her word for it, check out more boobs holding pens here.

7. Dogs wearing clothes


Perhaps not strictly something Beijingers would ignore – it's not every day you see a scurvy dog.

This guy though.

8. The things your poor kuaidi packages go through






Gone. Remind us to never kuai di that priceless Faberge egg, or pretty much anything remotely breakable. Stick to fapiaos and weird dog clothes.

9. Pollution


'Nuff said.

10. Shops blasting 'Going Home' by Kenny G at closing time to scare you away

This song. Musicians legitimately used to play the soprano sax before this song. People in general could identify it in a saxophone line-up. Not anymore. Nowadays, people watch this clip and are all ‘what's up with that golden clarinet?’.

Well this song is the sole reason the soprano sax is endangered, for 'twas this song that confirmed Kenny G as a heinous and dangerous sax offender. It's called hui jia (Going Home) in Chinese, too, and has been used in China for years as a way to encourage people to leave shops at closing time.

Time Out Beijing recently asked a tobacconist in Chaoyangmen if she liked hearing this song everyday. Know what she said? She said this:

‘No, no I do not’.

Speaking of closing time, 'Closing Time' is also used in this capacity.