Police do something
I was walking down the street yesterday when a car right in front of me pulled out and smashed straight into an electric bike. As the bike rider lay on the road moaning, I watched to see who would take charge. Nobody. The car driver started chatting to her husband. The traffic coming along the street bumped up on the kerb to get past. Onlookers stood around and stared. I'd heard before this is the typical reaction to accidents in China, but I'd not seen it up close before.
I grabbed a teenager who was having a look and told him to call the police. "No phone", he replied. "Use mine" I said, removing my jumper to put under the victim's head. So he rang the police who, rather impressively, arrived within five minutes. "Get up!" they barked at the moped rider showing little sympathy. "My leg, my leg", she cried back and the cops finally relented and called for an ambulance. Five minutes later my phone rang - a stranger asking for directions in Chinese. Luckily, I guessed it was the ambulance driver and passed my phone to the policemen, somewhat to his surprise! Once the ambulance arrived, I retrieved my phone and my jumper and headed off, a little shaken but with a new perspective on Chinese attitudes. A wise colleague of mine described it thus: Chinese friend/family ties are really strong, as is their patriotism for the country. But, in between those two, strangers get little respect or help. People feel their "duty" lies elsewhere. And for one unfortunate lady yesterday it lay in the road.
Paul (the other one)
25/2/2014 07:04:28 pm
And I bet all they are talking about is the strange foreigner busy body who interfered!
25/2/2014 10:17:02 pm
On a really wet and rainy night in Shenzhen a few years ago, I spotted a girl lying on the ground curled up in pain clutching her stomach. With everyone else ignoring her despite her cries for help, it was left to me to stem the blood flow from what I assume was a stab wound, keep her warm using my own clothing as she only had very little, shelter her from the rain, comfort her and stay with her for 30 minutes while the ambulance struggled to find us due to my inability to give clear directions in Chinese. Eventually she was taken away by the ambulance and I was left by myself on the side of the road. I have no idea what happened to her afterwards. I was aware that the Chinese didn't get involved in other people's accidents, but this attitude when faced with something so severe really shocked me.
Paul (the one)
26/2/2014 09:06:36 am
Woww. Interesting, and a bit scary. What if were me on that road...
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Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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