These post belongs to the new category, called Chinese myths, where I will comment on some stuff that for us, Western people, are a typical expected trademark for Asians. Now, this is only from my own limited personal experience!!! Very possible I will change my mind with after more time here, and I will of course appreciate comments from real Chinese or laowais that have lived in China longer than me!!
In Western country we imagine Asian people living by Buddhist “code” or Zen, all in peace with themselves, trying to accept the good or bad of life in a very balanced way. OK, this, once written, is clearly not the general idea of all big Asian cities (Hong Kong is quite famous for underground criminality). Contributing to this idea it is probably also the Chinese peaceful rise concept, true or not as it could be!
As often, in Western countries we do not have such a deep understanding of what it is going on in Eastern ones!
I was just watching the video no repubblica.it about the unfortunate choice of a Chinese Milan supporter to go to Inter training wearing a red-black jersey. First he was surrounded by Inter supporters, insulted, and then “of course” attacked (so common in European fields).
The couple of guards there do not do anything to prevent the attack since they are clearly outnumbered by the people that want just to fight. And the people that want to take pictures!
The comment of the Italian journalist is wondering if this is only too much Inter-Milan agonistic feelings or trying to copy the bad European habits.
Unfortunately I must say that this has nothing to do with anything like that: Chinese people have a quite dangerous tendency to explode in extremely violent behaviors. I have read and seen this, luckily very seldom in live fashion and never happened to me yet.
Last Saturday I was in a club, Mei Gao Mei, I used to go quite often, for dancing and having a good time with 潘蕾 after a nice dinner at Perfetto, where we could enjoy the water polo men tournament final for 14th FINA World Aquatics Championships - Shanghai 2011. We had good spirit, her for the food, me for the food and the gold medal to Italy!
Once in a club I saw a few foreigners I knew and just exchanged hellos, but then 潘蕾 and I stayed mainly to ourselves. The club was packed as usual. People dancing, having fun. Around 1am we decided to go back home and right out of the music area I see 2 of my foreigner friends standing there, surrounded by several other people talking to them, one of the laowai holding his head and the other one without t-shirt, with a nasty cut over one eye and a trail of blood from the head to the torso.. I was shocked!
I must say that violence always leave me extremely bad feelings in my stomach. Not the sight of blood, no problem with that, but just I do not like fights or violence in itself: I have never been in a fight, but I have been a few times trying to divide fighters, until once I got a punch on my head for the “service” (that time, in Norway, ended funny: both fighters stop and both offered me a beer!).
Anyway, talking with my friends, that were waiting for the police, it seemed they were blindly attacked when strolling around the club, and the attackers used bottles or glasses (the nasty cut seemed a bottle hit result). My friends never really saw the attackers, one even was kicked when on the ground.
The thing is scary because when it happens in a dark club full of Chinese people that look more or less the same, it becomes impossible for us to point fingers. Also the police when arrived was not that interested or committed to find the attackers. They just sent my friends to the hospital and just talked with the Chinese girlfriend of one of them for some time, moving actually out of the club as soon as possible.. to not disturb the people in the club? Not surprisingly nothing came out of that, and the police managed to discourage my friends to file a complain.
Not the first time I hear about fights against foreigners, and usually the best is not fighting back for an easy mathematical reason: any way you turn it, even if we are no the right side, we will always be outnumbered, and since for a Chinese is not acceptable to lose face, how could you think he would take losing a fight against a laowai? And his friends? And other Chinese just passing by?
Some time ago colleagues showed me a video of a fight that took place in a KTV in 郴州 (Chēnzhōu, Hunan province) and the images of violence are scary! A fight stating for some reasons unknown, but probably related to alcohol and women (not so much different from Europe) takes a completely different turn when the “security guards” of the place arrive armed with steel pipes and keep on inflicting damage on people laying helpless on the floor. Ok, the fact is borderline crazy and the whole thing was investigated by the police, after several people were seriously injured.
Not long after I had just arrived in Hefei I read a blog of some English teacher over here that also wrote about a sudden fight for apparently no reasons. This time the foreigners were only spectators.
I have no complains and nothing bad has happened to me so far, and I also I know that in this kind of situations assuming either the turtle position on the floor and caring later about the amount of spit there or just put on wings and fly away might be the best solutions!
Better a live rabbit than a dead lion!! ;-) (I don’t like the more used version of this saying, with dog or rat instead of rabbit..)