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:

 

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— 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.

 

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—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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Aftertaste


“I read what seduces me, I write what perverts me. “

– Heather Cai –


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–Tian’anmen Building (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

“The Chinese people have stood up!” These words were announced to the world by Chairman Mao on October 1st 1949 from Tian’anmen Square in the heart of Beijing. For that reason, exactly 66 years later, after writing my first English novel, I made a solo trip to the capital city. Standing on the grand Tian’anmen Building where Mao had stood, I wanted to feel the glorious moment with the thunderous applause. But there was no sense of glory, nor trace of history. The buzzing of the tourist commerce sickened me. My imagination was bombed. I was disappointed.

 

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–Inside the Tian’anmen Building (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

Instead of standing a long time on the grand Tian’anmen Building, I went down-to-earth leafing from one hutong to another. And in one of the many hutongs near Lemma Temple, I met Lysanne Thibodeau, a Canadian filmmaker. She came with a fancy camera and a bright smile asking me for directions to a place, which I was just looking for on my map.

 

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–We met outside this place (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

Delighted by such a coincidence, I wondered: have you ever had such a beautiful moment in your life with a strange person from a strange country in a strange city that you could never forget?  

 

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–What brings us together? (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

I couldn’t say that I had a crush on Lysanne, but her appearance gave me the impression of some romance. The afternoon sun seemed to have taken a shine to us in the endless blue.

 

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–It felt like the nacreous cloud that day (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

With much joy and talk, we headed to 798 Art Zone for a couple of wonderful hours. Till our legs were tired and our throats dry, we shared a taxi to enjoy a cheering drink at a pub in Houhai Park. It was during their Happy Hours, and time slipped through our fingers delicately. Listening to the mixed music, we looked around, talked about casual things and started making jokes. The coolness of the beer refreshed our minds, and Lysanne’s face blushed. She said the alcohol made her burn. I laughed. She laughed.

 

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 –Lysanne and Heather in Houhai Park (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

When the drinks were finished, our stomachs rumbled. We chose a seafood restaurant in a dark lane. All the loud music now sounded distantly behind us. Sitting in a cozy corner with a view of some layered roofs outside, we ordered three dishes very quickly and began to share ideas about what we had seen that day. Both of us were overwhelmed with gratitude as we discussed some possibilities of what it would’ve been like if we never met. Gradually, we talked more openly, and our conversations deepened to the very marrow of our personal life. Lysanne made a video of me, which later she asked for my permission to use for a documentary.

 

 

–The Seafood Restaurant (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

By nine-thirty, we finished our dinner and were both dying for a piss. The only toilet available was somewhere along the dark lane. We hurried there, and found it had no light, no door, but only two holes. One of them was occupied by a girl, who was playing on her phone like a statue. She must be reading something fascinating. The screen almost touched her big nose, and her small eyes were hidden by her neat fringe. The light played a beautiful pattern on the concrete ceiling. The stillness of the rough surface condensed her motionless face – a gorgeous scene that we wished to capture. But we couldn’t help laughing, and we just couldn’t stop laughing. With a muffled voice, Lysanne kindly let me pee first. Eyeing each other and at the “statue”, we laughed even louder. A strange chemistry was flowing in our blood, then steaming to the air. It was a stimulation of some excitement.

 

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–The stimulating lights in Houhai Park (Beijing, 2015.10)

 

The chemistry climaxed when we ran out of the toilet, with the striking image of the girl remaining as she was when we first saw her. We terribly felt like sharing a cigarette. But neither of us wanted a whole pack, nor a cheap brand. We started looking for one from some passers-by with smart outfits but failed. We then walked back to a cigarette store that was opposite the pub we had been in earlier. I asked the young owner: “Hey Boss! May I borrow a good cigarette from you?” Throwing us a suspicious glance but without uttering a word, to our amazement, he handed me a Marlboro cigarette and helped light it. After taking a long drag, I gave it to Lysanne. She sucked more slowly and more deeply, blowing two clouds of smoke out of her nostrils. In turns, we finished the delicious cigarette, only with more laughter. The night felt light and pleasant. We said goodbye with the aftertaste of a strangely lasting day.

 

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