I’ve decided that years of having really crap State-controlled TV has taken a huge toll on the populous population of China. It has caused near all 1.3 billion inhabitants of the PRC to view the world around them as nothing but an uncontrollable, intangible source of entertainment.
It would seem to me that a numbness has overcome the gross majority of this nation and that when not directly involved in the situation around them, it all glosses over and an ignorant shroud cloaks them into thinking that the entire macrocosm exists simply in their being.
Having to venture out of the little oasis of my apartment a lot lately for hospital trips, I’ve been forced to revisit ‘China’ and forced to realize how much it disagrees with me and why I’ve been hiding from it. If it’s not the asshole that’s decided to stand in the doorway (of every doorway ever constructed in this country) thinking that it was built just for his leaning, it’s the visitor of a patient talking to another visitor in decibels that would make Spinal Tap proud, while seriously ill and in need of rest patients grumble but say nothing.
And when it’s not abounding ignorance to their surroundings, it’s a complete antipathy for getting involved.
Not getting involved but happy to watch is a past-time in this country like no other. There are no shortage of tales from expats about seeing twisted car wrecks accompanied by a massive (and equally twisted) crowd of people staring with morbid amusement while not so much as dialing three numbers to help. I’ve seen domestic violence carried out with an abeyant audience of double-digits. I posted near exactly a year ago on how laowai are punished for getting involved, so that excuses (to some extent) us… but fuck… what’s the Chinese excuse? Liability? Legality? Repercussions of some other sort? Lack of desire to grow a pair? Lack of knowledge that this, in fact, is what they should do? What?
Now perhaps I’m being insensitive to the Chinese, and perhaps I’m bordering on racism lumping such a large (and pseudo-diverse) group of people together – I’ve watched the BBC special, the CBC special … I saw the interviews with people who do care, people who are welcome additions to the human race … they do exist. It’s just unfortunate that none of them were standing in the gawking crowd of people at Dalian’s Victory Square when my friend T and her sister were assaulted.
“[We] were walking over the escalator down to victory plaza when a dirty middle-aged Chinese man in a black jacket came up to me and tried to grab my water bottle away.
There are people in China who collect plastic bottles to sell back to somebody, recycling plants, I suppose. Thinking this man might be one of those (though he admittedly didn’t have the usual bag), I pulled my bottle out of his grasp and held it up so he could see there was still quite a bit of water in it. This is usual enough to get such people to leave you alone, but this guy saw my watch and made a grab for it. I wrestled my arm away with a stern “no” (a quick side note for those questioning why I’d be speaking English at this point: Chinese doesn’t really have a universal “no” like English does, so I couldn’t figure out which of the many Chinese verbs floating through my head to negate—“no” was just easier). The man then decided to go after my sister who also wriggled away.
At this point, we were in a very crowded area outdoors (for those in the know, we were in the plaza outside New Mart at the escalator by the Daphne shoe store), approaching a very crowded escalator. There were no shortage of people watching us the entire time because people are always staring at foreign girls, so there would have been no shortage of people watching us speed up, watching this man follow us, watching him swing his arm, and watching as he hit me directly in the face. There was also no shortage of people watching as I began screaming my head off, as the man made a swing for my sister, as she ducked, and as he finally walked away.”
In the post she mentions that the experience has unfortunately tainted her feelings about staying in China, and rightfully so. I keep looking for reasons to stay in this country now that the DVD thing has grown old and the cheap beer thing has lost its taste… and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find one. Well, there is one, and she’s currently trying to will herself to sleep in a room full of women completely oblivious to the fact that sick people need rest, not conversations about the price of cucumbers delivered with constant fortissimo.