‘Cultural Differences.’

My banker student told me a pretty mental story the other day.  In Pudong airport, a son was returning from Japan to see his mother, who had just informed him that she could no longer pay for him to study abroad.  Greeting him in the arrivals lounge she was promptly stabbed in the stomach nine times by her furious offspring.  The errant child then did a runner.  As the stricken lady lay on the polished floor, her life ebbing away, people just stood and stared.  Nobody offered to help.  Eventually a foreign bloke came forward, took the lady’s scarf and put pressure on the wound, while yelling at the onlookers for not helping.  The ambulance finally made it’s way to the scene, the victim was whisked away and did thankfully survive, and as the for the heroic foreigner – nobody knows.   You can watch a video of it here:

http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/videos/shanghai-pudong-airport-stabbing-only-a-foreigner-helped.html

That’s right – somebody just filmed it all on their mobile rather than try to help.  This weird apathetic behaviour is distinctively chinese.  J.M Ballard writes about locals watching executions unflinchingly in ‘Empire of the Sun,’ while I’ve seen men hitting women in the street as people look on, like it’s a boring game of cricket.  I’ll never understand it and I’m not sure Chinese people could ever explain it either.  Their mindset, forged by some of the most brutal events in 20th century history, is so different from ours it’s beyond simple explanation.  Still, watching an old lady slowly die while you await your baggage is pretty shameful in anyones book.

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