Peeps – January 2009

February 25, 2009

Underpants vs. Wisdom Window

The time has come to christen the new CCTV Building – and like any proud parents, Beijingers are full of name ideas. To the chagrin of CCTV (and likely Rem Koolhaas), “Big Underpants” has taken hold, and seems likely to stick. The broadcaster, desperate to establish an official name to eradicate references to large undergarments, has launched an online promotion drive in which netizens are encouraged to send in name proposals. Submissions include “Magic Cube,” “New Angle,” and “Peak of the Ages.” Online news sites are reporting that thus far, zhichuang (智窗), or “Wisdom Window,” has emerged as a popular alternative to the abhorred “Underpants.” Unfortunately for CCTV, zhichuang is also a homophone for hemorrhoids (). 

 

This just in: Use a condom when having sex with a sex worker

December 1 was World AIDS Day, and Chinese officials took notice this year. Premier Wen Jiabao traveled to Anhui to visit AIDS patients and workers, and vowed to increase state funding for disease prevention and control. Back in Beijing, the municipal public health bureau estimates that only 47 percent of the 90,000 sex workers frequently use condoms. This revelation is all the more disturbing because sexual acts, at 55 percent, have replaced intravenous drug use [currently what percent?] as the most common means of HIV transmission in the city, Xinhua reports. 

 

Borrow a ride

Rental bicycles are also gaining momentum on the streets of Beijing these days. With the arrival of a new program sponsored by IBike Media, residents of the Maizidian community can now commute to work hassle-free. By the end of the year, 40,000-50,000 bikes will be available for free rental around Beijing at the swipe of an ID card or passport. Rental stations will be set up at supermarkets and transportation hubs all over the city, so those leery of purchasing yet another bike just to have it stolen again can pedal around town worry-free. Thanks to GPS tracking devices, as long as the bikes are parked in designated areas, renters won’t be held responsible for theft. Even the most determined thieves will find peddling their loot tricky, as the bikes are specially designed to stand out. 

 

Traffic violation amnesty

There’s also good news for those who still insist on firing up the engine every morning. Beijing traffic authorities have finally put a cap on late fees for traffic violations, which previously accrued at a rate that rapidly outpaced the actual fines. The decision comes three years too late for the unfortunate migrant worker who inadvertently racked up 105 traffic violations to the tune of RMB 10,000, but savings could be substantial for other drivers in the capital city. The Ministry of Public Security is currently collecting opinions on other aspects of the traffic violation laws, particularly regarding the placement of surveillance cameras. Make your voice heard to save yourself a few kuai, and possibly a dent or two on your rear bumper. Send your suggestions to english@mail.gov.cn.

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