Christmas 2008

Dinner and a tragedy.

(Before I begin the main entry: I’m sitting here at home listening to We wish you a Merry Christmas blaring out of the primary school. I assume that it must be morning exercise time there.)

The school took us to 老房子 (lǎo fángzi) for dinner last night. The restaurant is on the side street just south of Wuhou Temple. The food was good, but I’d had a biggish lunch yesterday and wasn’t that hungry.

Last night, Tianfu Square was full of policemen with others in coaches and police vans waiting in reserve further up Zongfu Lu just near the mobile phone district. I think it must’ve been inflatable bat night last night, which we went along to last year, although fun was verboten. I saw some people with those inflatable bats a couple of days ago, although no one in the square appeared to have them.

I had to go over to school this morning on a small matter of business this morning. I wondered what the security guard was looking at and could see a crowd of people outside the library. There’d been an accident. Some old woman had been knocked down and killed by one of those large construction site trucks. She was lying there in full view while the police cordoned off the area. As I stood there, a bus full of people stopped right beside the body.

The intersection is dangerous because the back street behind the school is quite narrow and usually has little traffic, hence cyclists and the electric bike jockeys ride through there against red lights. I have no idea what the exact circumstances of the accident were, but all things considered, I wouldn’t be surprised if both parties were culpable in some measure. Pedestrians and cyclists don’t pay proper attention; motorists are arrogant bastards who think they own the road.

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a dead body and a death from a traffic accident in China. It’s a surprise that I haven’t seen a great many more, although I’ve seen the aftermath of a fair few crashes. I don’t think I mentioned another road safety campaign I saw not so long ago. The images in this were even more gory than the images in the other, including a sequence of pictures showing some guy trying to cross a motorway, getting hit by an SUV and getting flung into the air. But such campaigns seem ineffectual because people still go around as if they still live in a pre-industrial age.

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