This Happened When Mike Reported a Traffic Accident to the Police

When I told the story of my car accident here, there were different voices. Needless to say, making a report to the police is the most favorable. But sometimes what you know about the legal system or the Chinese society is not the same as you would have believed. And this happened to my friend Mike:

 

捕获

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

Hello. I’m Mike, an educator and a manager of educators in China for the past 6+ years. It’s been a rewarding experience, one that has allowed me to learn much about Chinese culture, particularly the national language Mandarin. Chi kui is a Mandarin phrase that means “to eat a loss.” And Chi ya ba kui, literally means “to eat a mute person’s loss,” or to suffer losses or grievances in silence. I found myself with a new appreciation for this phrase recently, when as a cyclist I was involved in a traffic accident in which the other party ran a red light and collided with me, giving me a concussion and a shoulder injury—and I wound up having to pay him. If this sounds unbelievable or insane to you, then you can imagine how I feel.

 

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—Credit: Google | 图片来自:谷歌

 

For the past 3.5 years, I have been living and working in Kunshan, a city just outside of Shanghai, China. Last October, I rode a shared bike to work as usual. When I approached a green light at an intersection, I saw several jaywalkers crossing from the left side of the road to the right side of the road. Just as I was about to pass safely in front of them, one of the jaywalkers broke into a run, charging into my left side. His head slammed into my left shoulder and knocked me over, hard. My right shoulder slammed into the pavement hardest. My right hip also hit hard, and my head (despite not hitting the ground) was jolted badly enough to leave me with a mild concussion. Amidst shock and adrenaline, I didn’t take note of any pain or injury. The person who tackled me, an older fellow, was sitting on the pavement looking bewildered. In frustration, I yelled at him for his carelessness before getting back on my bike.

 

--- Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

— Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

 

Upon arriving, I mentioned the situation to coworkers. My bosses advised me that I must report the accident. We went to the police station. The older fellow had already made a report and had gone to the hospital for a thorough examination. It was later determined that he had broken a bone in his thumb, and this broken bone would require surgery to repair.

 

--- Xi'an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

Fortunately, the police were able to obtain video footage of the accident from traffic cameras. This footage confirmed that the accident occurred exactly as I remembered—he was jaywalking, he unexpectedly started running (to catch a bus), and he slammed into me. Unfortunately for me, none of this matters—the legal system favors him. He is older, I am younger. He is a pedestrian, I had a vehicle (even if only a bicycle). His injuries required expensive medical care, mine required time and rest. He is uninsured and has no income, I am apparently rich (or at least that’s the perception of foreigners). His financial damages included the cost of his surgery, his other medical costs, estimated future medical costs, and wages lost from his part-time job. The portion of these damages which I ultimately had to pay amounted to 23,000 RMB, roughly $3300 USD.

 

--- Xi'an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

The whole episode felt like a descent into madness. My side of the story mostly fell on deaf ears. I was eventually advised to stop telling it. What if I just stayed quiet, humble, and contrite (although there was nothing to be contrite about)?

 

--- Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

— Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

 

Now that it’s over, I am sharing my story to boost awareness among expats. In any case, if some good comes out of this, one way or another, I’ll feel better about the whole situation. Perhaps I’ll ultimately have to chi kui, to eat the loss. I can live with that. But I don’t want to chi ya ba kui, to suffer the loss in silence. Nor should anyone. If you agree, please share.

 

quote-it-often-requires-more-courage-to-suffer-in-silence-than-to-rebel-more-courage-not-to-booker-t-washington-53-20-96

—Credit: Google | 图片来自:谷歌

--- Xi'an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

Mike’s story made me wonder, why do the innocent suffer?
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— Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

 

About Heather Cai:

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!

 

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When You Are Hit by a Car, and You Are Fine

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

If you are hit by a car, then normally you would not be fine, but would know what to do, right? However, if you are hit by a car, and you are fine, what would you do?

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

This question might confuse everybody. Let me tell you a fresh story, my story.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

One ordinary morning in April this year, I was hit by a car. It happened at a pedestrian crossing with no traffic lights in Jiangsu Road. I’ve crossed this two-way road for nearly five-hundred days since I moved to Shanghai. It was during the week but after the peak. And the traffic was not busy. As usual, I was enjoying some music with earphones plugged in and following a guy in the front. It was just another morning on my way to work.

 

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Then, all of a sudden, a car just missed the guy and drove straight at me. Scared, I slightly turned away and raised my right hand sending out a signal: “Stop!” But the driver didn’t stop. It first hit my right hip and made me lose balance. I fell towards the car. My right arm was pressing on the hood and my left hand holding my phone tight in the air. The speed was not enough to make me fly, but fast enough to lift me up. My feet were dragged along till the end of the zebra line. Finally, the car stopped. I fell onto the ground and rolled once. It happened too fast. But my subconscious was in slow motion, almost like a dream. There were no sounds, no colors, no pain, nothing. I couldn’t remember how I got up. The moment I started hearing sounds and seeing colors, I found my phone was missing. It took me several minutes to find it behind one of the front wheels. When I found my white earphones were stained black, I began to feel angry. All the while, the driver wearing glasses, remained in his comfortable seat. Thinking about this and realizing that I was supposed to be in a hurry, I couldn’t help shouting at the nerdy driver.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

“I was walking right after the guy. How could you just drive straight at me?”

 

“Sorry, I didn’t see you.” He didn’t even look at me. Or was he ashamed to look at me?

 

“Are you blind?”

 

“Sorry…” He said indifferently. I became more angry.

 

“Bullshit! You hit me!”

 

“Sorry…” He repeated it, throwing me a glance with the same indifference.

 

“Aren’t you going to say something?” My anger almost exploded.

 

“Sorry…” He turned into a stone, and the car horns were blowing behind him.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

I was too shocked to think further and too speechless to stay longer. In the end, I gave him a middle finger and left.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

By the time I entered the metro station, my mind spun. How could I forget to take a picture of his car number? Idiot! I should report him. But what would I do if I did? Would I like to deal with the police? Would it be worth reporting him?

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

All day long, I was looped by questions. I didn’t feel any pain until the water ran over my body in a shower. There were bruises on my knees, my palms and my hip. And my left little finger couldn’t move. But this didn’t worry me. I actually laughed. Because my family’s newest superstition says that my luck would turn in 2019.   

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

Now, two months have passed. The only thing that still bothers me is my little finger. I often play with it, in a way like one long-bearded philosopher would touch his beard. And meantime I would wonder: If you were me, what would you do? Would you report him right there? Or would you walk away feeling shocked and lucky?

 

About the Author:

 

Heather in Sri Lanka, Mar 2015.

Heather in Sri Lanka, Mar 2015.

 

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

 


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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A Little Complicated

That shadow is relatively of my father's, as white as a ghost.

That shadow is relatively of my father, as white as a ghost.

My father suddenly called me early morning on Friday. The last time he called me was more than a year ago as I just realised. As before, there were only bad things happening.

“Lotus (my Chinese name), last week, Sheng, (who was one of our relatives younger than my father), fell from a bus and died because the driver let the door open while driving.”

(Sheng’s father and my grandfather were cousins who lived under the same roof for a couple of years before my parents built our new dirt house in the village.)

There was a brief silence, cast by darkness, sadness and uneasiness.

“Everyone has returned to Shouning and now are gathering  around the traffic police station for justice. I wish I could go, but I can’t. How about you go for me and for our family?”

My mind was shocked and blind. I didn’t know what to say at that moment.

Then his low voice continued on the other side of the phone.

“Look, his wife died of cancer the year before. His parents passed away one after another last year. All these funerals, none of us went. Now he also has died without a word, but with three children. How can I face them and all with my conscience if I don’t go? How can I call them if one day the same thing ever happens to us?”

“No. What would I do if I go?” said I bluntly, imagining the worst picture of me being there, with the white pale death, many familiar yet strange faces and me having nothing in my life to stuff in those warm mouths but a mere dream and some luxury travels.

“You don’t have to do anything. Just follow the people. If they march on the street, you go with them. If they gather at the police station, you follow them. If they eat, you eat too. If they sleep, you sleep too. And don’t worry about food and bed. Just go, okay, for heaven’s sake?”

“No, I won’t go.” I said firmly.

“Why? Only you are not working…” He raised his voice which sounded angry. And his last words turned almost mockingly hurtful. Thus our old topic was, once again, fatally  thrown in, no matter what.

My throat was blocked, my face turned pale and my blood stopped running. Why do I have to go through this over and over again? My brain has lost the ability to defend me and the power to convince him once again. Yet, I know, all useless, whatever I say.

“You are the only one staying at home and doing nothing; the only one going traveling so often and making no money; the only one getting old but making no effort to do anything. Shame on you! What do you expect from your fucking book? It has been two years, and you are still doing the same thing. Even the beggars are doing better…”

…I deliberately took my phone away from my ear.

“If not, you come here to replace my work (as a night watchman). You know how to guard the gate for the factories here. Just for three nights.”

He must be so mad at me that he had gone far out of his mind. Everyone knows it’s not safe for a little woman like me to work there.

“Why not ask Ping? Have you talked to him yet?” Ping is my only brother. He’s still on his summer vacation from teaching.

“He’s still tired from traveling. He’s been busy receiving his school friends in our new apartment since he returned. These days his phone rings all the time. What have you done? Nothing! Nothing! “

“I’ve got something to do…” I bet he didn’t know I have been traveling for a month and just came back days ago. Or he would point it out more angrily.

“You’ve got nothing but shit to clean. We all know that. Now listen carefully. The sooner you give up dreaming, the better. You aren’t going to make a fortune out of that fucking book. Your mind is blind, corrupted, rusty and rotten. You are useless, the worst of the worst.”

My last words were drowned in my tears, my sorrow. The phone was hung up long before I realised it. I just held the screen still, kneeling on my bed, numb and powerless.

The day was a ruin. I called everyone in my family. In the end, I transferred six hundred rmb to my brother to see what he could do – whether he could find anyone available or work himself in my father’s job.

The next day was a total disaster, because my dad fell in the toilet. My brother said these days he’s been suffering from the pain and he couldn’t even stand up after squatting. It was something terribly wrong with his knees. My mother once mentioned it to us. But my father insisted there was nothing wrong.

However, my brother made the appointment and yesterday my father finally agreed to see the doctor downtown. After seeing the scans with a report, the doctor said, “If necessary, a major surgery ought to be done – the sooner the better. The cost will be around 70,000 to 80,000. Think about it.”

“No, but what kind of surgery?” My dad said promptly.

“It will be surgery to replace your whole knee. Your left one is much worse than the other. Luckily your body is not big and you are not fat…”

“Yes, but does it have to be such a surgery? Eight years ago, I went to see the doctor in my hometown alone and he said it cost more than ten thousand. Without thinking, I refused. Because ten thousand was impossible. Now you are saying eight times more, it’s more impossible. I’m soon sixty. I’m afraid even if the surgery is successful, my bones are not strong enough to recover fully. Besides, I have important work to do; I have a family to take care of; I have many debts to pay… Couldn’t you just give some medicine or anything without that surgery, please?”  

So at last, he left with a bag full of medicine. Out of the hospital was the scorching sun above our heads. My father was wearing a pair of brown sandals. He looked around the surroundings with his eyes forming into a straight line, murmuring, “The buildings are taller; the traffic busier; more cars, less legs. People walking more quickly, though. … The downtown is even hotter, a shitty place with no wind at all.”  

I watched his figure becoming shorter and shorter, lighter and lighter. Until his back disappearing into the crowds and the mist of heat.

Since when did he begin to see things in a way sharp and sarcastic?

After all, before coming to Shenzhen in 2007, all his life was out in the open fields, as a true honest farmer, only looking up at the sky for a glimpse of the weather or looking down at his feet for the way ahead of the land.