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March 30, 2010

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Fewer wearing PJs on street: survey

FEWER citizens appear to be wearing pajamas out on the street. And the nagging nuisances of people piling up their goods and drying clothes in public spaces are diminishing, according to a fresh survey about public manners.

The survey, announced yesterday, showed many people sensing improvements in some long-standing public irritants.

Nearly 44 percent of the survey's anonymous 4,000-plus respondents, those living or working in the district, said they now find many fewer clothes being hung on street-side trees or electric poles to dry than several years ago.

And about 39 percent of respondents said they saw an obvious decrease in the number of citizens wearing pajamas on the street.

Whether pajamas in public should be tolerated became a subject for debate recently after the government called on locals to avoid it in order to make the environment nicer for the Shanghai World Expo.

Although many, including some college professors, held that people are perfectly entitled to wear pajamas outside of their homes, a strong current of mainstream opinion has insisted that pajamas are an inappropriate choice of dress out of doors.

About 37 percent of the people surveyed said they noticed improvement in the disturbing practice of piling up personal goods in spaces shared by residents living inside the same residential building.

The practice, meant to borrow room from the public space, has also long been criticized as a public nuisance. It's also dangerous as such goods may block channel for emergency escape.

Not everything is improving.

City residents and workers said in the survey that some public nuisances are worsening - and some are pretty dangerous practices.

Many complained of a growing risk of being hit by trash thrown from high-rises; loudly barking dogs as well as ill-mannered dog owners who allow their pets to excrete everywhere without cleaning up; and disorderly parking of bikes.

These have remained the most complained-about public-manner issues, as reflected by the surveys over recent years, according to Luwan District authorities, the survey's sponsor, which have been tracking attitudes on civility in downtown Shanghai since 2003.

"I think we need to rely on stricter management and more effort to cultivating people into having good manners," said Gu Jun, a Shanghai University sociology professor from who helped design the surveys.

The survey also showed only about 15 percent of the respondents saying "yes" to whether they should turn off their mobile phones while watching shows inside Expo pavilions.


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