Tolerance to Infinity Guest Post by Bob Grant

Originally published at Speak Without Interruption on February 17, 2010 by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption. Posted on iLook China, 3/13/10 at 08:00

(Note: There are more photos at the original site. The Nanjing Road photo here does not appear at Speak Without Interruption.)

Wherever people normally congregate in groups—shopping areas, elevators, subways, airports, city streets, and the like—there are a lot more people in China congregating in those same places.  Again, I can only use my own experiences – in these types of crowds in China – but I was amazed how tolerant people were of each other.  In some cases I was squeezed to the people next to me so closely that I could almost feel their hearts beating.  In these situations – personal space was at zero.  I was crammed into a subway once and could literally stand – without holding on to anything – because we were packed so close together (not that I really had anything to hold on to anyway).  The exit from this subway was orderly and people were polite to each other – and me.  At our stop, we had to ask people to move, which was difficult for them, but we got off with no problems or delays.

Nanjing Road, Shanghai - this is the normal crowd

 I am not certain the Chinese people have a choice living – and working – among that many other people.  However, I saw it as another attribute of China and its people.  As a “Westerner” I could have easily been accosted by anyone in these large crowds as most of the time I was the only non-Chinese among them.  But this never happened.  No one stared at me or otherwise acknowledged me as anything other than one of them.  Perhaps I am reading too much into these situations, but I will go with my feelings here and believe this is a nation of extremely tolerant individuals. 

 Places I went did not always have these types of crowds, but in the locations where large crowds congregated, I was always impressed by the politeness of my fellow “Crowdies”.  I can’t say the same for other crowds, in which I have found myself, in the US and other parts of the world.  I think China is unique in this area and its people have Tolerance to Infinity.

 Read China Trip 2008 at


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