My wife watched a Chinese woman hock a gob of spit onto a child who was bitten. Here’s why.
A student at the school my wife works at was bitten by another student. So far, so normal — this stuff happens in kindergartens. My wife and another teacher rushed to the aid of the kid who got chomped, and began applying care.
The Chinese teacher took the lead. She grabbed the kid’s arm, inspected the wound, then hocked a glob of saliva on it. She then rubbed it in, and told the kid he was good to go.
The teacher then looked up and apparently noticed my wife’s horrified expression –she had just witnessed the head teacher at her school spit on a kid as a form of healthcare.
“I know that may have looked strange,” the teacher began, “but in 15 years of providing child care that’s the only thing I’ve found that works.”
Now, there is some Chinese folk knowledge AND scientific evidence to back this claim up. Saliva has been used as a healing salve in Chinese medicine for a very long time, as it has in many other ancient cultures. Saliva has antimicrobial agents, enzymes, antibodies, an analgesic, a protein called lysozyme that can break down bacteria, and other antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. But, when it comes down to it, a little boy was spat on by his teacher. There is something about that that just doesn’t sit right in the typical Western mindset.
But China is different. Even after years of being here, even after you think you’ve seen it all, you witness something that compels you to exclaim, “What the f’ck?!?” This country may have a 5,000 year old civilization, but it is a place that never, ever gets old.