Video: Rude Laowai arguing with Chinese on a train

30 Comments

Yet another for our “Bad Laowai” category.

From Shanghaiist:

A video now going viral on iFeng.com shows a white blonde male putting his feet over the seat before him and a Chinese female passenger’s head on a train from Shenyang to Beijing. It is not clear what happened before the start of this video, but the woman was clearly irritated by the man’s behavior. She stood up, turned around, and hit the man’s feet with a magazine, saying “you are a big shame to your country.” (“你真给你国家丢人”)

However, the foreign man showed no intention to move his feet away and instead called the woman’s beating a “a massage.”

The woman finally threw her magazine at the man as the man hurled other insults at her, saying she was “Shabi” (傻屄: “silly c*nt”). (read more)

Talk on Video: Rude Laowai arguing with Chinese on a train


30 Comments
  1. One of the very first lessons I learned about Chinese customs after my arrival here was to NEVER show the bottoms of your feet to people. The person who sternly shared this intel with me had once made the mistake of playfully pretending to nearly step on one of his young students, who burst into tears and told mommy, who made sure that the “boorish” laowai was reprimanded for his (obviously unintentional) insult.

    My significant other here also makes it a point of slapping my knee whenever I unconsciously cross my legs with the bottom of my foot facing someone.

    Mr. “Shabi” above speaks a semblance of Putonghua, which demonstrates that he has been in China long enough to at least become familiar with the most basic customs, which leads one to believe that he is purposefully being boorish and clearly reveling in the reaction of the insulted Chinese woman.

    If this man is a working professional in China, then this video will undoubtedly come back to haunt him. Good!

    (BTW, India has an even more strict taboo against exposing your soles or stepping on someone’s foot, all which require profuse apologies; this guy might have gotten away with it in China, but in India he would have been beaten to raw meat).

    • Oleg “Shabi” Vedernikov has officially apologized via video, though it seems he now is playing the “ignorant laowai” card as an excuse for his behavior despite the fact that he lives and works in China as a professional cellist for the Beijing Symphony Orchestra – the symphony supposedly being the epitome of high-class manners.

  2. This guy is a total tool, and should have been arrested by the cop. He would have gotten his butt kicked in America for this kind of behavior.

    • The guys an #$%$ hole and makes the rest of us look bad in the eyes of the chinese here. Id personally help escort him to the nearest airport and check him through it and wave goodbye.
      Im sick and tired of seeing arrogant pricks coming into this country and thinking they are superior.
      Respect the way things are here. This coming from an American.

  3. Regardless of the Chinese custom of not showing the bottom of your feet, the fact that he was repeatedly knocking the back of that woman’s chair would have been enough in any culture to buy him a knuckle-sandwich. What a moron. He should have been put off at the next stop no matter how far he was from his destination.

    • Avatar of

      I agree. There is a bit of question surrounding the video regarding what happened before the recording started rolling, and I’d be curious to hear this guy’s rationale for being such a dick. As it stands though, what a knob.

      • I’m affraid it will be hard to find any rationale for his behaviour… he doesn’t look drunk, and obviously enjoys situation until police arrives. Pure arrogance, nothing else. The guy thinks he is a star, and this gives him a right to insult people around.

  4. If this SOB would have pulled this stunt in my home city, he would be lucky if he just got ass beating instead of being shot or stabbed.

    This video posting will probably inflame many Chinese to say, ” See the damn foreigners act like they can get away with anything in China!”
    Plus the other video of that British national that attempted to sexually assaulted that Chinese woman did not help the foreigners here in China. I do agree with the Chinese netizens, the police should start cracking down on these chowder heads. I

  5. Chinese people are ridiculously rude in public situations…shitting on escalators and pissing all over the place…making an absolute racket when people are trying to sleep…I say, so what…I don’t apply my western manners when dealing with Chinese people either…but this guy is Russian, so he’s not a westerner in the first place…If the guy was Chinese and he was pissing off a westerner the train conductor wouldn’t even have gotten involved…typical Chinese bullshit…well done to you for spreading it…

    • I saw a kid shit on the platform of the metro once! To think, these people get offended by the soles of feet but they shit all over public spaces! Hahaha…and we are supposed to care?! I lived in Japan for a while, I followed all their customs, I would never have shown the soles of my feet like that in Japan, but here anything goes. I totally agree. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. This is a non story.

  6. There is no reason whatsoever to give Mr Vedernikov a special courtesy consideration following his base public behaviour; physical and verbal. He is neither a child nor a characteristically unrepentant adolescent. He has come forth with a public apology for the world to review only because he has been recorded in action and identified by those who recognize him. Without that alert fellow passenger to record this unfortunate event as well as he did there is no reason to believe that Mr Vedernikov would have made a statement of any kind to anyone.

    An open question about the ease with which he misbehaved in this incident is, Can we be convinced that this arrogant disregard for ones fellows is a rare event or, more likely, Vintage Vedernikov.

    If The Beijing Symphony Orchestra has wisely chosen to discontinue his employment; I should not like to have been in Mr Vedernikov’s position the first time he might have walked onto the stage for the next concert of the BSO. http://www.bjso.cn/en/index.php/default/ Should Mr Vedernikov be dismissed from employment for misbehaviour unrelated to his work? I think the management of the BSO has shown best how to protect the integrity of its public reputation.

    Requisqat in Pace, Mr Vedernikov!
    __________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

  7. Mr Vedernikov should have remembered, at all times, that regardless of how many years – a decade! – he has resided and performed in China, he remains a guest in their house and should have continued to comport himself as one. I do not believe his foolish public misbehaviour would have been viewed differently in his native Russia. If the proper offices in Beijing appropriately invoke their authority Mr Vedernikov will have a renewed chance to test the tolerance of his homeland.

    This man is a public blot on the noble art of classical music!
    ___________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    • All well and good. However the Chinese have developed a good reputation of treating their guests very badly. The Chinese are very good at dishing out the bad behaviour but are unable to take their own treatment.

  8. Aren’t we exaggerating a bit here? The guy comes across as a complete moron in the video, but in the end he has broken no law, and now he’s lost his job. I can’t help but feel sorry for him. Perhaps he was just having a bad day.

    • Jixiang is overlooking an important consideration with his suggestion that Mr Vedernikov may have been excessively punished for what may seem an isolated piece of coarse behaviour with no serious consequences beyond the event itself. I disagree with Jixiang most heartedly.

      The field of classical music is significantly different from various kinds of popular music production in its well-known demands for public behaviours that reflect well both on the art itself and its practitioners. The continued employment of Mr Vedernikov with The Beijing Symphony Orchestra would surely have an unfortunate influence on its audiences, who look to such an ensemble to represent the best possible features of art music in China.

      Consider the statement coming directly from the management of The Beijing Symphony Orchestra. To wit:

      His behavior “has seriously damaged the reputation of the orchestra,” it said in the statement. “In accordance with the orchestra’s regulations of his employment contract, the decision has been made to remove him.”

      Tan Lihua, head of the orchestra said in the statement that members “should act in a civilized manner, maintain good manners and safeguard the image and reputation of the orchestra. The orchestra will further strengthen the orchestra’s management to prevent such incidents from happening again.” http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2012/05/22/beijing-symphony-axes-russian-cellist-after-foot-video/?mod=google_news_blog

      Note : “In accordance with the orchestra’s regulations of his employment contract . . .” As the saying goes in America, “He does the crime he does the time.” [The "time" being the punishment.]

      With so many exceptionally talented string musicians from China having refined their craft abroad, might this not be an apt moment for Chinese orchestra managements to reconsider the presumed necessity of engaging musicians from abroad to fill the ranks of Chinese symphony orchestras?
      ________________________

      André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
      Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
      Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
      Formerly Bass Trombonist
      The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
      Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
      The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

      • Dear André M. Smith,
        I think you are overlooking one important fact: don’t mirror your western values of politeness on the Chinese culture… Come here, take a train, take a subway and a taxi. Then you will notice that China is so different in many ways and that even after 10 years in China, it remains difficult to fully grasp the Chinese definition of civilization. Even a better idea, come and attend a classical music concert and you will be delighted with the Chinese sense of civilization.
        So yes, firing someone for this kind of behaviour is harsh. The only reason why it happens because he is a white face.

  9. I am a bit surprised with such “high manners” standards in China.
    Here, in America I’ve seen many Chinese immigrants; students demonstrate quite similar behavior as this “laowai”.

    • Too right. And if he hadn’t been white, no insult would have been taken. A walk down ANY train in China will show the locals with their own feet up on seats as a matter of course…and much more.

  10. By the way, Vedernikov seems to plan his return to BSO in one year or so hoping this storm will calm down by this time.

  11. In reply to Ms Smith, who wrote on 25 May 12 at 6:52 p.m.

    I am quite familiar with the collective Chinese sense of public decorum. I have spent part of each of the previous several years in Shanghai. Although in general it would be difficult to quarrel with her observations about much of public behaviour, it would be equally easy to make similar observations about Americans of the same class. The salient point to be considered on the problem with Mr Vedernikov is that he is not now, nor has he ever been, among the types of examples you have alluded to needing some form of better examples of public behaviour than they have received. Routine taxi, subway, and train can not be compared to the refined, rarefied world of the concert stage.

    Jayro has written on 21 May : Chinese people are ridiculously rude in public situations…shitting on escalators and pissing all over the place…making an absolute racket when people are trying to sleep…I say, so what…I don’t apply my western manners when dealing with Chinese people either

    Jeff wrote on 22 May : I saw a kid shit on the platform of the metro once! To think, these people get offended by the soles of feet but they shit all over public spaces! Hahaha

    Jayro and Jeff don’t write in what city they have made their observations. Jayro says “all over the place;” Jeff writes “once.” Than “once” suddenly becomes “all over public spaces.” Once in a city (Shanghai?) of twelve million? And a child, at that! But, just how does a child unable to contain himself have any relationship to the problem of the principal cellist of the premier symphony orchestra in the nation’s capitol refusing to contain himself?

    Clearly Jayro and Jeff have other issues of importance to themselves beyond the public antics of a vulgar Russian.

    I am in league with Mr Tan Lihua as he has written : “All employees, including foreign musicians, need to abide by the laws of the land, traditional moral codes, as well as the orchestra’s rules and regulations. Employees should behave in a civilized fashion both onstage and offstage, maintain the manners expected of artistes and consciously safeguard the image and reputation of the orchestra.” http://english.sina.com/life/2012/0525/470555.html

    Tan Lihua is the music director and principal conductor of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Tan is also the deputy chairman of the Chinese Musicians Association, the director of the Performance Art Committee of the Chinese Musicians Association, the chairman of the Beijing Musicians Association and the deputy director of the Performance Art Committee of the National Grand Theater. http://www.bjso.cn/en/index.php/life/ A musician with the foregoing professional and public responsibilities himself would be nothing less than a target of further ridicule if he failed to act decisively on the problem with Mr Vedernikov. Like it or not, the operating budget of The Beijing Symphony Orchestra is heavily subsided by the central government of China. (Need I write further on this point?)

    I absolutely can not conceive of a principal performer in The Boston Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony, etc. remaining publicly unaccountable if he had engaged in such actions of body and mouth of Mr Vedernikov anywhere in The United States.

    Ms. Smith has written that “Even a better idea, come and attend a classical music concert and you will be delighted with the Chinese sense of civilization.” I went, I heard, I was not conquered. Further she wrote that “So yes, firing someone for this kind of behaviour is harsh. The only reason why it happens because he is a white face.” Can we assume that Ms. Smith believes that the same video recorded physical actions and dirty mouth coming from a yellow face in The Beijing Symphony Orchestra would pass without comment? I have my doubts.
    __________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

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  13. I’d say there’s more to what happened before. There’s a white chick next to him, who’s doing absolutely nothing. I’m thinking it’s his girlfriend or wife. If she didn’t know him, she’d have walked up an left. Anyway, the fact that she’s doing nothing makes it seem like she approves of his behavior.

    Why?

    I think they were provoked.

    Plus, he’s laughing and continuing to do in on purpose – reveling in the fact that the Chinese lady is pissed. Seems like revenge.

    Just my take.

  14. JAL wrote earlier this morning, June 10, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Too right. And if he hadn’t been white, no insult would have been taken. A walk down ANY train in China will show the locals with their own feet up on seats as a matter of course…and much more.
    ________________________

    What dream world have I been living in?

    Not once in my annual visits to Shanghai, and less often on several trips by rail to Suzhou and Hangzhou from Shanghai, have I seen a public defecator, a barefoot Chinese native above the age of seven, feet either with or without shoes propped up against any object as a footrest other than a traveler’s own luggage, public spitting on any public conveyance, any need to summon police assistance to address misbehaviour on a train or bus, any attempt by anyone to publicly humiliate a fellow traveler, and so on.

    There are determined efforts on this web site to portray Miscreant Vedernikov as a victim. This often plays well in The United States but I can’t see that it will be so in The PRC. I do not understand how any educated person in any modern society can find a basis for defending a string of transparent impertinences: (1) bare feet in public on a socially prominent middle-aged man, (2) bare feet propped against the head of a fellow passenger, (3) goading a person older than himself into angered reaction, (4) communicating with a seemingly well-turned vocabulary from the Chinese potty-mouthed lexicon (http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictures/niubi-eveline-chao-chinese-bad-words-reactions.html),and (5) then feigning (lying!) to police about his inability to understand the Chinese language.

    Two responses from Russia (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN2OjliAoVw) to the actions of Mr Vedernikov are

    · this is a good example of arrogant foreigners with total disrespect for the host country. It does not matter if it’s a Russian in China or a Chinese in Russia. Such kinds of boorish manners cannot be tolerated. When in Rome …. Verdernikov needs to be booted out. Chances are he is the same way in his own country. If I were on the train, he would not have been so lucky. He can be thankful, they accorded him such latitude..way more than the pig deserves. elliekincaid 2 weeks ago

    · Hello from Russia! I am very sorry for his behavior! it is a shame and he showed the essence of the pig. I was pleasantly surprised that people are not turned a blind eye to this, it shows that you have a good society, good luck! Antinoob2020 2 weeks ago

    LOFFENFELD wrote on May 24, 2012 at 1:15 am

    By the way, Vedernikov seems to plan his return to BSO in one year or so hoping this storm will calm down by this time.
    ________________________

    I have not seen such a notice posted anywhere? Can you tell us, Loffenfeld, just where you have found that?

    ________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    • Andre, I think you are well-intentioned but clearly don’t know much about China. Not condoning the guy’s behavior, but you are saying you’ve never seen any of the behaviors that most of us see on nearly a daily basis.

  15. While I don’t condone his behaviour, I suspect that this woman was probably rude to him before they got on the train. Still I don’t see his behaviour being any different to the millions of chinese walking the streets. They are rudest race of people I have ever come across.

    • Actually, if he has spent a considerable amount of time in China and this is the worst he has done, then I think he has done very well to control his temper.

  16. I’m a caucasian woman living in Toronto, Canada and I’ve witnessed and experienced several cases where Chinese women in particular, behave in a very rude and uncourteous manner. They have no manners!

    To all the rude chinese women out there, learn how to say “excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, “Thank-you”, ect.

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