Hawk This Way

Beijing Travel Blog

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I'm amazed that the undeniably enterprising Chinese missed a clear opportunity to add to their impressive medal tally at this Summer's Olympics in Beijing. If I'd have been a Chinese government bigwig, I'd have been on the blower to the IOC a few years back, convincing them that if they wanted a smooth-running 2008 games, they'd damn well better sanction the inclusion of a brand new event.

Forget swimming and gymnastics, this is a sport that China would win by a country mile by virtue of the fact that they've had millennia of practice. And the name of this new event? The Hawk and Spit of course. In its non-competitive form the act consists of an individual noisily hoiking a mix of phlegm and spittle from the nasal passages and throat, forming it into a mass and then casually flobbing it out onto the floor in plain view of all.

The competition for a place on the Chinese team would have been fierce; I've witnessed some remarkably skillful practitioners at work right across China. There are clearly many different hawk and spit styles at work but I've identified five principal techniques for consideration as event divisions:

The Classic Two Step

This one might seem over simple but, performed by a phlegm veteran, it becomes a thing of casual beauty. The hawk comes first, it should be of medium volume and fluid length without gaps, sounding like a slightly drawn out: “Hthccccctttthhk.” Leave a pause, a second is enough - no more - don't over egg it, to properly form the mass on the tongue, then spit it neatly onto the ground. Simple, unpretentious and in the right mouth, elegant. As a Flobspotting purist, the CTS is my personal favourite.

The Attention Seeker

The hawk is everything in this one. It's for when you want to announce your presence, to shout: “Hello world! I'm here, I've got an industrial load of green-black gunk in my nasal passages and I might, just might evacuate it noisily all over the floor.” Some advanced AS's choose a high volume 1-2-3 staccato sinus scrape rhythm strategy: “Hthcthk, HTHCCTTHK, HTHCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCTTTHHKK...” This neatly accentuates the conclusion of the hawk, ending in a long pause that begs the question: will you spit or will you change tack at the last minute and swallow it down instead? Carried out properly, this will have fellow bus passengers on the edge of their seats.

The Shanghai Express

The new kid on the block of the Hawk and Spit world, The Shanghai Express is favoured by cool youngsters who wish to ensure that they seem casual in their delivery. They've moved away from the rigid structure of the CTS, replacing it with a swift, fluid delivery method of their own. For all of you who wish to be down with the kids, the drill is to go for a good length hawk of medium volume. Then, with no pause between throat-mouth transference and expulsion - spit it all out. You should be looking for a continuous hawk-spit “Hthccccccthk-ththoo” sound. Carried out whilst on the move this is cool as an eskimo watching Pulp Fiction in shades.

The Beijing Blunderbuss

This is the one to choose when you wish to spray the feet of those nearby. It's best used in places, (e.g. train carriages) where many people are in a proximity close enough to fully appreciate a shoe shower. The hawk can be either staccato or one long slurp - just as long as you get yourself some attention. The BB is really all in the expulsion stage which must have as wide a “spatter arc” as possible. Beautifully effective in disconcerting spit-virgin foreigners - they might frown at you, but they love it really; it's a cultural experience after all.

The Direct Nostril Blast

Not strictly a hawk and spit, this is one that football fans worldwide might be familiar with. The DNB consists of holding one nostril closed whilst noisily evacuating the fluid/solid masses from the other. You can use a receptacle (a streetside bin perhaps) or, if you're a little more daring, just snort directly onto the ground. It's not the most elegant of techniques but, when you've got a noseful of big city smog snuff, sometimes it's the only way. Try it - you just might like it.

So there you have it folks, the Hawk and Spit is clearly an all-action spectator sport in the making - the only thing required is endorsement by the IOC. In the inexplicable absence of a Chinese request for the event to be included in Beijing I will be advocating that it be premiered at the London Olympics in 2012. I have no doubt that it will be accepted, after all, the IOC are well known for their spirit of fairness. What could be more egalitarian than a sport in which everyone worldwide can practice and improve without the need for any expensive equipment whatsoever?

London 2012 - The Games Are Only Spitting Distance Away

Saladin79 says:
Yeah I heard about the anti-spitting thing. I saw some old men in Tiananmen Square who were clearly about to flob a fat one onto the ground then catch themselves and do it in the nearest bin instead. Happy Xmas btw Charlene - Ho! Ho! and indeed Ho! Dave.
Posted on: Dec 23, 2008
cmgervais says:
This is hilarious.
Did you know the government conducted an anti-spitting education program before the Olympics?

I guess it didn't work.
Posted on: Nov 27, 2008
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