Habits can vary a lot from north to south, but the most important thing is to respect one another. Someone used the PTT bulletin board system to share an experience about how a friend took his northern girlfriend back to his home in south Taiwan for a family meal, but to his surprise, as soon as his girlfriend saw newspaper being used as a tablecloth, she complained that it was “really gross.” The couple then got into an argument over it.
The person wrote a post on PTT’s “Gossiping” board under the heading “Do northerners think that spreading newspaper to eat off is unhygienic?” He said that the previous week a friend had taken his northern girlfriend home for a meal. The man’s mother prepared a big spread of tasty food for their guest, but unexpectedly the girlfriend thought that covering the table with newspaper was unhygienic, on the grounds that it smelled of ink and no one knew whether anyone had taken the newspaper to read in the toilet. The boyfriend disagreed. He thought that spreading newspaper was very convenient because you could just drop bones on it, then wrap them up in it and throw them away after your meal instead of having to wipe the table. This difference of opinions got the young couple into a fight. The original poster was puzzled by the whole thing and asked, “Don’t northerners spread newspaper at mealtime?”
After the post appeared, it became a topic of heated debate. Most people agreed that using newspaper as a tablecloth is not very hygienic. As someone said, “When you hold a newspaper, your hands will be blackened by the ink, so it is really not a good idea.” Other comments included: “It is ugly and dirty.” “At least use leaflets. Newspaper is thin and absorbs water, and it has a funny smell.” “At least buy some blank newsprint paper to use. It’s yucky if it’s covered in ink.” “Seriously, for your health’s sake, don’t use newspaper as a tablecloth.”
Screen grab from PTT 圖片擷取自PTT
Another group of people took the view that using newspaper as a tablecloth is very convenient. Some of the comments were: “Using newspaper is ultra-convenient — What a bunch of snobs!” “Anyone can see that spreading newspaper is more convenient — If you had to wipe tables every day you would know what a drag it is.” “What’s the problem? Did anyone tell you to eat the newspaper?”
(Translated by Julian Clegg, Taipei Times)
Screen grab from PTT 圖片擷取自PTT
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