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2013年04月22日 星期一
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Give if you wish, get if you want

  Suzhou restaurant joins ‘suspended meal’movement

  SUZHOU –Miss Cheng had lunch in a lo-cal noodle shop last Tuesday noon. The noodles didn’t  taste good enough for her, so she  left some  in  the bowl. Cheng was gathering her stuff to leave, when an old woman came in and sat  down  across  the  table  from  her. Cheng walked away, only noticing that the old woman wore clothes presentable enough.
  But when Cheng stepped out of the door, she was surprised to see through the glass door that the old woman was eating her leftover food.
  Cheng felt quite sad. She told the story on her microblog, the Chinese version of twitter. One of  her  friends  tweeted: “Girl,  you wasted food!”Another said: “You should have bought her another bowl of noodles.”To this Cheng re-sponded: “Wouldn’t that be humiliating?”
  The old lady might not be too poor to afford a bowl of noodles –she just couldn’t bear to see Cheng’s wasted food. But there’s more to this story. Is there any way we can give free food to the needy without humiliating them?
  Cheng’s  case  fell  in  coincidence with  a good-will practice emerging in some Chinese cities –buying one or two meals in a quick ser-vice restaurant for any complete stranger who can’t afford one.
  A rice noodle shop in Suzhou’s Shizi Street, located between the main campus of Soochow University and The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, began to offer suspended meals to the needy  last week. Chen Keyong, shop  owner  of  the  rice  noodle  shop  called “Chengkechengpin,” literally  honest  guests and  honest  quality,  said  he  initiated  the good-will act after noticing  that many of his customers were in poverty.
  “My deliver workers told me that when they delivered meals  to  the nearby hospital,  they found many families very poor, and my work-ers  said  they  blamed  themselves  for  having those  families pay  the  food  they delivered,”Chen told Suzhou Daily.
  So when Chen saw a “suspended meal”movement in a few other Chinese cities, he ap-plied to join the movement immediately.
  Now the national “suspended meal”move-ment has  its official microblog (  and  website (, since it is impor-tant to make sure that restaurants that offered free meals are honest and qualified. “We don’t want to see any fraud in the good-will move-ment –some restaurants may take the money without actually offering the free meals. That’s why we want  to make all  the  information of these restaurants transparent,”Chen said.
  A man surnamed Zhou bought four suspend-ed meals, each worth 8 yuan ($1.29), at Chen’s restaurant last Wednesday.
  Knowing  there’s  such  an  attempt,  a  few readers of Suzhou Review sent e-mails to say they agree it would be lovely to see the act of “suspended meal”adopted in Suzhou. Yet they have a few concerns. “It is difficult to be sure the food goes to the people you really want it to go to, the people who really need it,”an American reader told Suzhou Review.
  Roy Mackie from Scotland lives in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). He said it’s possible but he’s not sure how it works. Maybe people can donate money to a charity when they purchase something, then the charity institution can set up a food hostel where people in poverty can go for free or cheap food. “This might keep the re-al beggars off the street, not the kids scrounging for money with  their  parents,  only wanting money,”Roy pointed out.
  Anyway, giving food or drink is so much bet-ter  than giving money, said Doug Warner, a British teacher working in SIP. “I saw a beggar get a free meal from a KFC in Suzhou once, and he looked so happy!”Doug said.
  If you have any ideas that can help the move-ment  go  better,  let  us  know  by  sending  an e-mail to
  If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well. (Suzhou Daily) Related>> “Suspended meal”movement in China
  The People’s Daily, a Chinese mainstream media outlet, reported on April 17 that Chen Li, Deputy-General of Department of Public Secu-rity in Shaanxi province, had started promoting the act of “suspended lunch”over the Internet and in a restaurant in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province.
  Chen said he receives messages every day from disadvantaged groups over the microblog asking for help. “I was inspired by the idea of ‘suspended coffee’in the West,”Chen told the People’s Daily.  Such  act  of  kindness  to  a stranger should be encouraged, Chen said.
  Chen began to promote “suspended lunch”via microblog on April 12 and received positive response from netizens. A restaurant in Xi’an started to offer “suspended lunch”to tramps and aged citizens in poverty the next day, and encouraged citizens to suspend free meals. An-other  three  restaurants  in Xi’an  joined  the movement on April 14.
  The idea soon became known in other cities. As of April 16, over ten restaurants in nine Chi-nese cities –such as Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou and Suzhou –have joined the “sus-pended meal”movement. “Suspended coffee”overseas
  According  to The Kyiv Post,  the  idea  of “coffee  in  suspense”has  spread  to Ukraine. “This international trend of buying two coffees and leaving one ‘in suspense’is a new incarna-tion of an old trend in Naples, Italy, where it is called caffe sospeso,”the newspaper said.
  Now, this trend has made its way into about 20 cafes and restaurants  in Kyiv. The coffee someone decides to buy is marked on a special board and remains up for grabs for anyone who has no money or simply feels like being treated today.
  More than 150 cafes across Bulgaria have al-so  joined  the goodwill  initiative modelled on the Italian “caffe sospeso”tradition, according to a Facebook page to the movement.
  Some cafes use a pot of small cards or bottle caps  to count  the number of coffees already paid for, which can later be claimed.
  Apart  from cafes, several  fast  food places and grocery shops have also joined the Bulgari-an  initiative, proposing  that  their clients buy someone a loaf of bread or a snack.
  Every Russian who finds themselves in a dif ficult life situation can now have a free cup of coffee and feel the warmth of other people’s care, The Voice of Russia proudly declared in an article on January 7, 2012. Many cafes pro-vide a special social service now, “suspended coffee”, or coffee free of charge.