What anti-social behaviour bothers you?

It’s the blog post  you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to get it all off your chest.

The Chinese city of Guangzhou is considering issuing a penalty system for anti-social behaviour in government housing. The offences could include spitting in public, parking illegally or drying laundry on fences. Gather too many penalty points and you could be evicted.

China’s been on the case of anti-social behaviour for some time. Have a look at this 1950s campaign to stop spitting in public places. It certainly made me smile.

Earlier today our sister programme Newshour  discussed this story. We’ve since been overwhelmed with emails from listeners sharing examples of anti-social behaviour that gets up their nose.

Jesse emails with some sympathy for the Chinese
“The most disgusting habit that I can think of is criminalizing natural processes such as spitting.”

Gerry got in touch from New York
“I take the subway to work every day and I find it incredibly rude when people have their headphones loud enough that I can hear their music 10 feet away; not everyone wants to listen to your Bee Gees album!”

For WHYS regular Donnamarie, there’s something a lot worse than spitting.
“The Swiss don’t spit, but in certain parts of the country whole rooms full of people are apt to break out yodeling at any time. The awful din will make me abandon my fondue and get out of earshot a lot faster than a spot of spitting.”

It might be not stamping out cigarettes, not picking up dog poop or eating smelly fast food on public transport (yes these are my top three pet peeves) – what anti-social behaviour bothers you? And would you like to see this kind of system in action where you live? Should bad manners be enough for you to lose your home?

43 Responses to “What anti-social behaviour bothers you?”

  1. 1 T
    January 7, 2010 at 16:48

    One of the worst is when people keep mispronouncing or misspelling my last name.

    You try to be polite and go thru it again. Sometimes you have to do it four or five times. You speak slowly and in a clear voice. And yet, the other person suddenly loses the ability to spell, listen. And to comprehend English. Then, at times you go to the next person. And it’s like a chain from hell.

  2. 2 T
    January 7, 2010 at 16:52

    If ASBO’s become common in the States, this could mean lots of work for everybody from cops to attorneys to everyone else connected with these. Maybe we could finally fix the economy.

    Then, the Nobel Prize Committee will call and say that I won the Economics Prize. But, being the modest person that I am, I’d say acutally I got the idea from WHYS. Which could mean a highly rated special from Oslo.

    It’s a win-win situation all around :0.

  3. 3 Jenni from NW
    January 7, 2010 at 17:10

    Smoking. I wish the smoking ban had never come into force, because atleast back then we could avoid smoking areas through choice. Now these smokers are forced outdoors to spread their toxic fumes to passers by or people waiting to catch a bus etc. It always catches in my throat – makes me feel sick.

    I always find it very impolite when they don’t seem to have a care in the world as they blow smoke practically in people’s faces. They should atleast show some consideration and position themselves so that their smoke is being blown dowstream in the opposite direction to where ppeople are standing.

    • 4 my right!
      January 7, 2010 at 18:04

      You need to understand that the smoking bans came into place because of people like you in the first place. You complain that you don’t like smoking because you don’t do it. That would be like me saying that I don’t like whistling because I don’t do it but you do. Then, on top of that, us non-whistlers, make a law that you are not allowed to whistle indoors or anywhere were other people can hear you whistle. There are no legitimate studies that second hand smoke has killed people. That may sound wrong to you because you hear all these things in the media, but they have not successfully been able to prove that. Truth be told smoking is a choice and smokers have the right to smoke if they want to. With that said, non-smokers also have the right to avoid places where people smoke if they don’t like smoke. Smokers in my county are taxed at ridiculous amounts to build stadiums and many publicly used areas. All in all you should be thanking smokers for allowing such things to be possible without you, a non-smoker having to be taxed. Not to mention we are not able to smoke in these places that we as smokers have basically paid for. I suppose what I’m saying is that your personal opinion and negativity towards smokers is unfounded. I am sure that you have gone places that has been paid from smokers tax. Therefore, if you don’t like my smoking…don’t breathe.

  4. 5 patt in cape coral
    January 7, 2010 at 17:14

    It takes a lot to bother me. My family says I’m so laid back I’m almost comatose! But seriously, the kind of thing that bothers me is usually related to mean/rude behavior in public, especially when it involves excessive and loud swearing. Some people don’t even care if there are young children around. Should you be at risk for losing your home due to bad manners? In the article sited above they are talking about government housing, so in that case, the government could set the rules for living there.

  5. 6 Dan Lukudu
    January 7, 2010 at 17:25

    Public urination is punishable by about 50 Euros in Holland. Allowing your dog to leave its poop in a public park is also punishable by law. You must carry a plastic bag with you. Smoking has been banned in some places including the pavements of the metro stations. But two problems remain (1) leaving chewing-gum on the pavements of metro and train stations, and (2) spitting on the pavements.

    Although the Rotterdam city council encourages the public to drop their chewing gums in the garbage bins in public, with stickers on the bins, people still seem to do the opposite.

    About spitting: One time I was sitting, waiting for the train at one station in Rotterdam, when an old lady came carrying two bags. She wanted to place them on the ground, but saw saliva whereever she looked, and she kept moving ahead. When she looked towards me, she said, “They spit everywhere here. People should be fined for this!” I told her, “I agree.”

  6. 7 chip johns
    January 7, 2010 at 17:32

    Ignorant and uninformed posts made on on-line forums.

    The imposition of bigotry.. I do not care if you are a bigot, just dont try and convert me.

  7. 8 Peter Gizzi
    January 7, 2010 at 17:53

    Mobile phones on buses and trains! The users often use an elevated volume so that all the passengers are aware this “important” call. I recently inherited a mobile phone from a much loved relative who passed away last July. Yes it has its uses occasionally but no it does not rule my life.

  8. 9 Tom K in Mpls
    January 7, 2010 at 18:07

    What I hate is when people lie to be ‘acceptable’. It is called being PC. There is the safety issue issue of using small electronics while driving. Then there are the people in theaters with crappy sound that tell you to shut up if you whisper something to your friend or laugh. Why should you be denied enjoying the movie the way want to because of poor theater design?

  9. 10 Wilfred Ayaga, Nairobi
    January 7, 2010 at 18:41

    Urinating in public, it must be. Unfortunately, I think this behaviour has become socially acceptable. It’s common for someone to just lean on a wall, pee, zip up and then nonchalantly walk away like he’s been doing it the whole of his life. Infact, people barely notice. Children grow up thinking there is nothing wrong with this behaviour. And men are the culprits. To be fair, I never saw a woman at it.

  10. 11 patt in cape coral
    January 7, 2010 at 18:48

    Wow, the comments above reminded me how annoying it is to be out to dinner or dancing and your companion starts texting. GRRRR! I had a family member actually texting while they danced with me! Texting while they danced, can you believe it? Some people say it only matters if you are on a date or with your spouse or boy/girlfriend, but I think it is the summit of bad manners no matter who you are with! And as Tom K brings up, I haven’t lied to be PC, but I am guilty of rephrasing what I want to say to avoid being offensive. Sometimes I wish I had the cojones to say what I first wanted to say.

  11. 12 Tom D Ford
    January 7, 2010 at 19:00

    ‘What anti-social behaviour bothers you?’

    What is more anti-social than Conservatism?


    I don’t see how you could outlaw it though. We can only educate people out of it.

  12. 13 gary
    January 7, 2010 at 19:28

    Folks who treat waiters, housekeeping staff, cabbies, etc. poorly irritate me.

  13. 14 haraway
    January 7, 2010 at 19:32

    The tenant in the apartment below me uses those plug-in air fresheners. Last summer I noticed a sickly, sweetish, chemical smell coming into in my windows, but it took me months to identify it since I don’t use those ghastly things. I had to knock on his door on another matter and sniffed out the source. The smell drove me crazy, especially since it would be present almost all day and night, and I developed headaches & other symptoms. These products are pushed by the manufacturers in our craze for “cleanliness”, but the opposite is the result since they contain a plethora of chemicals dangerous to health. Now that windows are closed for Winter I’m alright, but I dread the return of warm weather when I will have to confront my neighbor about this. Our building also uses solid air “fresheners” in the elevators that make me choke. Why not just keep living spaces clean in the first place instead of covering up imaginary offensive smells with dangerous chemicals? And why are these products not regulated?

  14. 15 Josiah Soap
    January 7, 2010 at 19:40

    Political correctness is the only anti-social behaviour that bothers me. It makes a mockery of decent hard working people and their beliefs simply if they do not fit into the victim or minority status required.
    Political correctness rules mean that it is impossible to dish out harsh sentences for criminals, especially if they come from a minority group. We are too concerned about peoples feelings getting hurt.
    Maybe with a change of government we will get some good old fashioned morals and manners back, although I won’t hold my breath.

  15. 16 viola
    January 7, 2010 at 20:14

    Bad driving manners leading to road rage, which is an unmannerly and dangerous reaction to others’ unmannerly driving habits or poor driving skills or simply a result of the enraged persons being in a big hurry because they have poor time management skills and were late getting started. Instead of correcting themselves or being a little forgiving toward others, they get enraged and then do stupid, dangerous things with a big, dangerous machine.

  16. 17 Carole in OR
    January 7, 2010 at 20:57

    What is interesting to me is that the less considerate and tolerant we become as a society, the more we try to legislate respect which, of course, fails. We no longer raise our children to respect others, but tell them (by our actions) that others need to earn our respect first.

    The more we point out the “wrongness” of others, the more we expose ourselves as critical and self-superior. Then those who step out and are polite and forgiving are seen as weak. The adage “do unto others…” requires someone to risk doing the “right” thing and possibly still being done “wrong”. But the question we always have to ask ourselves is “what example are our actions setting?”

    Maybe that is the real issue, too many people are proud of the fact that they don’t care what others think, and then are annoyed with others don’t care what they think either. A small dose of shame or humility would be a valuable tonic.

  17. 18 Angela
    January 7, 2010 at 21:10

    Here in Portland “Bike City, USA” Oregon, the one that irritates me is — cars that stop for cyclists when the car legally has the right-of-way. I understand that at the root of this behavior is a driver’s respect for cyclist or a sincere concern for the cyclists’ safety. However, people don’t realize that this kind of behavior is actually quite dangerous. Arbitrarily yielding for a cyclist creates confusion, not only for those of us on bikes, but also for the other cars on the road. Cyclists do not need special treatment. Just honor the rules of the road as we all understand them, whether you be in a car or on a bike, and riding conditions will be safer for all of us.

    Oh yeah, and get off your bleeping cell phone!!

  18. 19 patti in cape coral
    January 7, 2010 at 22:03

    Just a question for the anti-PCers out there, does it count as being PC if you just happen to agree with the PC point of view? Or is it only being PC when you fake your point of view to agree with the PC view?

  19. 21 Vijay Pillai
    January 7, 2010 at 22:38

    it is pathetic if one is annoyed if some one miss spell one’s name.it si not the fault of the others but inability to explain properly how to spell correct first time. Riodejenero. How many people can spell correctly on one go? Spilt into to three or four, it becomes Rio De jene Ro. Now add all again, it becomes easy as ABC.Greek and german names are mouthfull but split and add, they become easy ,like Mao Ze Dung.
    The isssure here is anti-social behaviour. In asian countries more than 3 decades ago these behavour considered a norm and i ahve seen in singapore in 1976. Rules were brought in and all became a thing of the past. No wonder china has started to implement the anti social behaviour probably after exposure to olympic of 2008.

    I have seen in india it can be seen wall full of decorations with chalk after eating beetles or red spittings everwhere.Give people a chance to think of the damage they cause to health of people, airpollution and environment in general let alone unsighty encounters on roads and pavements.education,education and more education about health and safety that counts not threats of eviction. culture of 1000 years need understanding, education and win people over not by harsh methods.Air pollution of cities and constructions of buildings around causes people to lung diseases and it brings out phlem which need to be ejected to impove breathing.

  20. 22 Barbara Caravello from Long Island, NY
    January 7, 2010 at 22:54

    While I value our first amendment right of free speech, I am appalled whenever I am out in public with my six and eleven-year old boys and we are subjected to foul language by people who apparently feel it is acceptable to speak that way in the presence of children.

    As for myself, I may not find the use of extreme language especially considerate or kind on the ears but I can tolerate it if necessary. I would prefer, however, that my impressionable children not hear profanity and feel as if my ability to protect them from it is stolen from me by self-absorbed strangers who need to abuse their free speech guarantees by using all manner of crude words in public places. The outlawing of such obnoxious behavior might open a can of worms that would deprive the rest of us of too many of the rights we now enjoy but it is at best, irresponsible.

    I have begun to ask the boys to cover their ears when they hear bad words in public. By that time of course, the horse is already out of the barn. I’m hoping, however, that by doing so they might at least impress on the offending loudmouths the importance of looking around to see what little ears might be listening the next time they need to demonstrate the inadequacy of their own linguistic skill.

    Finally, you commented on air that many of your responses are from the NY area. I don’t know if that speaks to the profusion of bad habits among New Yorkers, our loyalty to your program or our willingness and/or ability to articulate our opinions. In any event, the last time I experienced the type of incident I described herein was in our neighboring state of New Jersey. I’m just sayin’…

  21. 23 Ronald Almeida
    January 7, 2010 at 22:57

    Living in India, if I was to think what anti social behaviour bothers me, I would probably mention almost everything. Indians not only spit but also shit all over. They also believe their vehicle runs on its horn. I could go on and on. I wish the Indian govt. would learn from the Chinese example.
    One thing that has changed in recent years is that far less louspeakers force Bollywood music on the public. But then traffic horns have taken their place.

  22. 24 Patrick
    January 7, 2010 at 23:45

    Talking extremely loudly while on the cell phone, not throwing away trash after watching a movie at a movie theatre, and not recycling are things that come to mind when I think of the term antisocial behaviors.

  23. January 8, 2010 at 02:11

    Driving. It pollutes our air, makes many sick with asthma and who knows what else, is anti-social, uses up tons of resources and space, makes it dangerous for others to bicycle or even walk. It’s a socially acceptable way to be in a wheelchair far before one’s time, and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Cars also enable the environment-destroying sprawl that has taken over our country, forsaking urban areas and villages for big box chains.

  24. 26 GB
    January 8, 2010 at 03:28

    That is funny, Tom D Ford, as I was thinking the most anti-social thing to do is be a liberal, but then I thought it is just more idiotic rather than being anti-social. Taxation to the point of ridiculousness just to give lazy people insurance, proponents of aborting an innocent life yet against capital punishment, mocking those who believe in a higher power, passive towards the plight of those who would murder you without a seconds thought – I could go on forever. All those to me seem idiotic.

  25. 27 Tan Boon Tee
    January 8, 2010 at 04:12

    Many Chinese still have a very bad habit of spitting in public. This must stop.

    The government needs to instil right social behaviour in school children. Educate them properly when young.

    Meantime, enforce stringent rule to correct the adult.

  26. 28 Lynn Markham Beebe
    January 8, 2010 at 04:39

    I was fascinated to listen to you while driving on a very rural snow ‘impacted’ back road in Quebec. As far as anti -social behavior, while agreeing with many of your listeners….especially regarding the toe and finger nail clipping people in public…to say nothing of the spitters and the butt droppers…..I refuse to EVER accept the seemingly accepted use of the F word…it is almost commonplace amongst some….young and old…and I hope I go to my grave never using such a vulgar word so matter of factly.

  27. January 8, 2010 at 05:36

    I hate having to dodge the streams of urine and puddles of vomit on the mornings after the weekend nights (Saturday and Sunday mornings). People in this country have got to stop drinking so much.. and the council should install public urinals everywhere in the city centre.

  28. 30 @guykaks
    January 8, 2010 at 09:37

    For me,the worst is when in atrain or bus and the person next to you has smelling armpits.bad habit!

  29. 31 Chintan in Houston
    January 8, 2010 at 16:52

    1. Not picking up the poop after your dog.
    2. Drinking and swearing in front of minors.
    3. Spitting in public.
    4. Having offensive bumper stickers on your vehicles.
    5. Opinionated news broadcast.

  30. 32 Jennifer
    January 8, 2010 at 19:34

    1. Blowing cigarette smoke in someone else’s face (direction) or people who smell like an ashtray.

    2. When people repeat the same loser’s limps over and over.

  31. 33 Bert
    January 9, 2010 at 01:55

    Great comments. I would agree with many if I lived where they were common behaviors.

    My general answer is, what really grates me is when people take up more than their fair share of “space.” That includes things like talking too loudly in public places, on cell phones for example, using foul language in public, letting their pet do his business without cleaning it up, and so on. But, …

    My BIGGEST peeve by far is against smokers. It’s unconscionable that people were allowed to poison the air in airplanes, in offices, on elevators, in restaurants, in crowded meeting rooms, even in movie theaters in certain countries, for so darned many years. Absolutely inexcusable intrusion into everyone else’s life. Apparently, these geniuses don’t understand that their stench causes nausea in non-smokers, and more so in more confined spaces.

    Only in the past couple of months has smoking FINALLY been banned completely from restaurants and the connected bars, in the state of Virginia (USA). What an enormous difference that makes.

  32. 34 Phyllis Elliott
    January 9, 2010 at 02:42

    Like many of your listeners, I am amazed by those who discard their trash or bodily fluids on public places. I suspect someone else cleaned their rooms for them while they were growing up.

    The phenomenon that perplexes me most is dog owners who dutifully put their pet’s waste in a plastic bag — then throw the bag into the street. Don’t they realize choking our waterways with plastic is as damaging as spreading the untreated bacterial pollution? No wonder the vortex of Pacific currents has now amassed a block of plastic twice the size of Texas.

    You in Britain are an older civilization that we are in America. What’s the answer?

  33. 36 Yvonne Alpan
    January 9, 2010 at 09:47

    Intolarence is obviously getting a lot worse. Don’t tolerate everything but please leave some room for others and others culture differences. No I don’t like lots of things but tolerating some actually makes me a much better person and enlightens me sometimes as to how I could be doing intolerant things. I think we have to be sensible about this or else we are just going to have a rugulated society of intolerant people wihich is a bit more than annoying it’s just taken the need for free thougt away and what happens next brain removal maybe ?

  34. January 9, 2010 at 16:28

    I live in over crowded London so there is plenty to bother me:

    1) Tube:

    – People eating smelly food
    – People who talk loudly on the mobile phones
    – People who smell and stand in your face
    – people who take up your seat aswell as theirs
    – people waiting for the tube, who block the doors so that the passengers inside cannot exit.

    2) Parents

    – Who let their children run about in shops, pubs etc so that they end up pestering other people (who have rights too by the way) instead of behaving. Of course, we cannot say anything as children have far too many rights these days

    – parents who let their teenagers play football on the road, hang about outside shops etc and disturbs other people. They don’t care what their teenagers do as long as they inflict if elsewhere on other people.

    3) Street

    – People who walk along the pavement reading a paper. This means they cannot be bothered to look where they are going
    – people eating and walking, that is disgusting
    – cyclists using the pavement and expecting pedestrians to move out of THEIR way
    – People who throw litter or spit and actually think that’ s a cool thing to do

  35. 38 T
    January 9, 2010 at 19:36

    People who use Bluetooth headsets and ramble on about really personal stuff that’s nobody else’s business.

  36. 39 james Ian
    January 10, 2010 at 04:12

    Using any intoxicant or tobacao or being manifestly under the influence of said substances to the slightest degree should be punishable by immediate incarceration for a period of time no longer then 48 hours but no less then 24 hours.

  37. 40 scmehta
    January 10, 2010 at 07:29

    Put only that much in your mouth as you can comfortably chew; Otherwise, you may be accused of anti-social behaviour in China. A corollary to this is: China should enforce only that much control on its people that they don’t feel like human-robots.

  38. 41 Touqeer Chishty (Pakistan)
    January 10, 2010 at 11:50

    Corruption if we want to set an example, the people who are involved in the corrupting should be hanged .We want blood revolution in Pakistan

  39. January 10, 2010 at 15:42

    There’s a lot of toffee talked about asb. A hefty chunk of it is madcap. Most of the people who promote these idealised lifestyles against which all else is judged asb have the private lives of exemplary hypocrites. What is needed is transparency on what constitutes social behaviour.

  40. 43 Richard Stokes
    February 10, 2010 at 00:54

    I have just read that somebody said you (I am British) are from an older culture than America (US I suppose). Unfortunately or not I guess most of us, Certainly us British people and you US citizens have come from or borrowed the Roman/Teutonic cultures because of various colonisations. You have to be remember that even Britain has been colonised from time to time.

    At least you in the US you are citizens. We in Britain remain subjects.

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