Laowai Gives Free Driver’s Ed.

I don't know how many times I've watched absolutely retarded things go down in China and said to myself, "I really should kick that guy in the teeth for cutting off that old women shuffling across the street" or "I should have just let that bitch on the bike hit me, instead of jumping out of the way and losing 6 yuan in change, and 29 years of self-respect."

But I, just like the 1.3 billion patriots of this massive country, do nothing. I try to live in that small space that separates us foreigners from 'dem Chinese in that I at least thought of doing something. It's a small space, and crowded. But finally one of our own, a fellow laowai, has made a case for all of us doing our part to show the dickheads that bully the roads in China that we don't need to take it no more!

laowaicarblocker01.jpgI caught this story via ESWN translation , and really feel this woman needs applause. As it was reported at Lao An's blog , the story is basically thus: An unidentified foreign woman made a scene in the streets of Beijing the other day when she used her bicycle to block a car trying to use the bike-lane as a quick way to avoid the city's infamous traffic.

laowaicarblocker02.jpgDespite being cursed at, the woman smiled, held her ground, and would not let the car pass. The driver went so far as to throw the woman's bike to the side, but it did no good and the woman again insisted he return to the car lane. Despite repeated threats, the driver eventually drove off in the appropriate lane. When yet another car tried the same thing only moments later, the woman repeated her stance, this time apparently freaking the crap out of the driver, as it immediately reversed and corrected its ways.

The blogger reported that they heard spectators utter to each other, "The Chinese really need to be educated this way!"

Has this been so ingrained into 'Western' culture that for me even the statement that it requires "education" makes the Chinese just look like the most compliant people the earth has ever produced?

Honestly, if I were much into believing biblical things, or popular current opinion… I might be found thinking there was some truth to that "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth" bit.

UPDATE (Nov. 7): I just saw the news and buddy the-bike-thrower was interviewed. Apparently after the incident his license plate was posted online, somehow allowing people to get his phone number and harass him. His son was so embarrassed, he begged his father to go on TV and apologize to the woman and to Chinese people for losing them all a bit of face.

In his defense, he explained that the only way to access the place where he was going was through the bike lane. I've taken notice of this here in Suzhou, and it definitely stands up. Not 100m from my apartment there is a long bike lane with no direct street access that provides marked parking for the cars of various restaurants' patrons.

I wonder if the mysterious lady laowai will go on TV and apologize?

19 Responses

  1. Hey Ryan!  I'm confused.  I don't get what your point is?  Bike lady is fascinating and I couldn't help but grin while reading it.  I'm always a fan of relatively peaceful protest.  Coming from a place where bike lanes are a joke, I had to smile at her tenacity.  I just don't understand your observation.

  2. I sympathize with the woman and applaud her for taking matters into her own hands when dealing with Chinese traffic violators. However, in the same breath, i think she is a dumb bitch. Who the hell does she think she is? superkunt? Is is a police officer? a traffic attendent? Who bestowed traffic powers onto her that she may stop others from violating traffic violations. I hate it when laowai wants to instill their own code of ethics or morals in a country in which they are not a citizen. Sure their are chinese dipshits who drive as if they have a vibrating dildo stuck up their ass, but they are within their rights as a chinese national to do what they fucking want in their own country. Just like we do when we are in ours.


  3. Hek,  I disagree. I carry a bundle of rights with me wherever I go. Some rights I give to whatever state I happen to be either a member of or a visitor to. I do this in exchange for certain protections and services. This wonderful country insists I give it/not exercise certain rights. I consent. Other rights it sees fit to allow me to keep. One of the latter is the right not to have some idiot ram his Geely up my ass. At least until he buys me dinner.  I'm with you on the whole ethics or morals thing, but this is different. Would it have been acceptable if the SuperCop had been Chinese?

  4. @hek: I disagree. Just as I would disagree if you said the same about some random tourist in the States stopping a mugger from robbing a lil old lady. Should we call him a dickwad that should mind his own fuckin' business when he's a guest in a country? No… we look at the situation for what is right and what is wrong, not who's nationality is closer to the flag. The ethics and morals are not resting in grey fringes on all things – and there wouldn't be a bike lane if they wanted cars driving in it – so I'm leaning towards him definitely NOT being within any rights – any more than that woman is completely within her rights as a visitor of this country to stand, with a bike, in a bike lane, and appreciate the beauty that <i>is</i> Beijing.

  5. Well, I say well done that woman.  My Aussie mate (a big bugger) often strides across the road when the lights are on green for pedestrians, and fearlessly steps in front of offending vehicles that try to mow him down.  He has a large vocabulary of Chinese (including swear words) and I have seen him punch a car or two.  It's not a matter of 'instilling our ethics or morals', there are laws which we have to obey, so why don't they.  My old man drives in Dalian, and it scares the shit out of me, but he olds his own with the taxi drivers etc. who always try to cut in, and always stands his ground.  As a matter of interest, out gardener loves to go out for a ride in the car and will jump in at the slightest excuse.  Although a simple country man (he still doesn't understand why Canadians, Americans, English and Irish can all understand one another's language) he is very quick to learn new words.  Imagine our surprise yesterday!!! We went to the village to pay the phone bill, and he came along for the ride.  When a car cut us up, he quite distinctly said "Wanker".  If only our students learned so quickly!!  As another footnote, both my daughter-in-law and Richard's brother are driving instructors in England.  They have both (independently) said that the only people they can't get through the driving test are Chinese.

  6. Why do you first write you sympathize with her and applaud her when using the rest of your lenghty post to diss her and what she did with more or less harsh language?!?! So basically you think shes a stupid bitch for doing what she did… why not delete the first sentence of your post to better reflect your true opinion of the matter! 😉 Whatever – traffic in China is crazy and awful. I must really say chinese people dont show a lot of intelligence or patience in traffic. They just think of themselves and dont care for the lifes and safety of other people especially if those people are on foot or even dare to use a bike. IMO the lady did a great job. She certainly showed more wit and courage than you or me combined… Also you wrote: "Sure their (FIX: THERE) are chinese dipshits who drive as if they have a vibrating dildo stuck up their ass, but they are within their rights as a chinese national to do what they fucking want in their own country. Just like we do when we are in ours." Aha so just because you are a citizen in your own country means you can behave like an idiot. Wow with that sentence you really showed your moral standards…

  7. Hey Patze, I wouldn't worry, look what the guy's website name is.   Ridiculous.  Actually when you look through the commentary on the original Chinese story, some people support the Chinese guy, most oppose him, but some say this isn't the business of a laowai but of a Chinese person.   Have other Chinese people ever stopped to think that as a "laowai" living in their country that they should have the ability to criticize and oppose other's stupid behaviour?  Especially if they have been here for god knows how long (the laowai)  I would certainly never want to become a Chinese citizen, but even if I wanted to it would be impossible.  On the contrary, Chinese people can become citizens of quite a few countries in the world, including most of Europe, the US, and Canada.  Then they have all of the rights of said country bestowed upon them.  On the contrary, in China, no matter how long you live in China, you will never have these rights. So, Chicanohek, you are a f*****g moron.   You should realize that laowai are people just like you and have every right to stand up for what they see as bullshit.  Within the law, of course.  Thing is, it wasn't the laowai who was violating the law.  It was the dipshit driver.  And we see them all the time.   Especially the rich ones.  Notice how the second car backed off?  Know why?  His car wasn't so nice, so he didn't feel as proud and arrogant as the first driver.  Cheers! 

  8. Thanks for the heads up about that site.  It has made viewing my site easiser.  I wish I knew why they blocked it again. I quiet liked the freedom of just clicking of my favorite button and going right there.  Grr to the Chinese government.

  9. PATZE:
    i don’t think you can judge my moral standards my a single sentence or paragraph written in a blog but i can certainly ascertain that you are a judgmental person.
    Sure, i mentioned two contradictory statements in the opening salvo to illustrate that we, as foreigners, have all thought about “educating” the Chinese on traffic habits, but in the end i called her a flipp’n moron because its not her country to subjugate. And to conclude, yes, i believe that you are given the right to act like a moron in your own country because that is literally the definition of being from your own damn country. Anything else, such as your elude too, would be borderline fascism. “you, don’t act like an idiot! Why? because i am telling you not too”


  10. @Thea: Hey Thea, it's difficult to explain to someone who doesn't live in China. It takes a few times coming across a serious accident scene and watching a crowd of observers just stare open mouthed – not offering assistance, not calling for assistance, just watching like it's the fucking TV. The fact that a Chinese person was heard to say 'Chinese people should be educated this way' is something I've heard AGAIN and AGAIN. I've been told that I've shamed entire busses full of people when I'm the only one to offer my seat to an elderly person. Much the same when I take my garbage, and the garbage some ass just dropped beside the garbage can, and I place it in the bin. Again, more the same when I put the discarded (in the middle of the lane) baskets in a nice stack so people can get by. All small things, but you can begin to see the pattern.

  11.  chicanohek "i don’t think you can judge my moral standards my a single sentence or paragraph written in a blog but i can certainly ascertain that you are a judgmental person." LOL you call me a judgmental person? You are the one who called the lady bitch and dissed the thing she did. So who are you to call me judgemental. But thanks. If you feel judged by me it means that my post got to ya… 😛 You are quite pathetic… thinking about it.

  12. *chuckles* The lady has guts, I'll give her that. I don't know if I'd do that – some Shanghai drivers here are INSANE! Though a pal of mine has smacked a few carhoods of her own – some o those drivers get so personal with a person's space they should be offering to buy dinner too! Incidentally Ryan – where in the Niagara region do you hail fom? Your name is familiar. Oh well. I'm from Welland, m'self.  Cheers!

  13. Hah!  This is a good story, and it touched a nerve with me, as obviously it did with a lot of other laowai here in China.  The other day, I was walking across the street with a green light, and walked in front of an oncoming taxi, who had to come to a somewhat, but not ridiculously, sudden stop.  He honked and started to get out of his car, at which point I took the hockey sticks (which I happened to be carrying) and banged them against the passenger side window, and told him to 注意一下 (pay attention a little).  I'm not sure that was a very native way of yelling, but I was shocked at his reaction.  He got back in his car without another word, and drove off! I do have to watch my temper a little, though.  Once or twice I've caught myself doing, or almost doing, really stupid things.  They say that the pedestrian who insists on his rights doesn't usually last very long. 

  14. I used to hit the side mirrors on cars (especially taxis) that cut in front of me at green pedestrian lights or pedestrian crossings. These people are selfish and dangerous, regardless their age, sex or race – they are wrong, morally and legally. By scaring the bejusus out of a driver my smacking their mirror hard (they fold back and make a good amount of noise) I helped educate them about the dangers of driving across pedestrian crossings without yielding to pedestrians.  As to whether the Chinese pedestrians appreciate this or not – it is simple – on every single occassion that I thumped a car or smacked their mirrors, I had Chinese come up and say that what I did was good and that the drivers needed education. It is simply a case of people need to know that it is ok to stand up to traffic bullies. So good on this woman for taking a stand, good on all of you who set an example – there needs to be more of it, and hopefully from some Chinese.

  15. A noble effort but you have to be clear about your motives when you pull this kind of stunt on “The Locals”: we pass too easily as outsiders, guests telling the host how to behave. In the present case, wayward sedans are making self-motorizing bikers fall like flies and this image should be kept clearly in mind.

  16. @Arthur: I’m a little lost on your point? I think keeping wayward sedans in mind is exactly what everyone is complaining about.

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