Friday, August 31, 2007

Another of those "What have I missed?" street scenes

Taking a turn around the neighbourhood just now, I passed a portly middle-aged chap slumped against the wall beside the door of a large restaurant. He was looking dazed and distressed, and had a deep gash across the top of his scalp. Beside him, and partly covering him were the remains of a small ornamental tree and the clump of soil it stood in. The substantial earthenware pot which had held it was neatly split in two vertically. An ambulance had just arrived to take our man away.

Now.... what on earth can have happened here? My first thought would have been FIGHT. They are a disturbingly common piece of street theatre here (the Chinese fondness for excessive alcohol consumption + the Chinese genetic intolerance of alcohol + the ridiculous cultural imperative of 'face' - any culturally established norms for defusing or substituting for violence = old friends coming to blows over the most trivial of imagined insults on an almost nightly basis). The trouble with that hypothesis was: no assailant. And no crowd of onlookers/supporters/inciters of the two combatants. Now, I suppose an attacker might have run off when he realised he'd hurt the other chap badly enough to risk incurring substantial medical bills (it's financial penalties like these rather than the threat of criminal prosecution - very rare in cases of this kind - that seems to get folks in a flap). But usually two drunk combatants will keep on circling, goading and taunting each other for quite some time after the fight is over. And, even if they didn't have mates with them in the first place, they'll almost always somehow attract a band of ad hoc seconds to rally behind them. No sign of any of this here.

And no sign of the police. If they'd come, they wouldn't have left again before the second protagonist had been loaded into the ambulance.

And it really was quite a BIG pot plant. I can't readily believe that someone could have picked it right up off the ground to hit someone over the head with it.

Equally, from the disposition of the body and the debris, I couldn't see how this was merely an accident - a drunk tripping over the pot as he exited the restaurant.

So, what then? Had he been trying to carry the pot on his head, or trying to headbutt it, in some foohardy display of toughness??

Alas, we shall never know.

But weird shit like this goes on all the time around here. This is (perversely) one of the reasons why I love living here so much.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

In a country you know well, people from the country you've been in for nearly five years are working in many roles, as bus drivers among those. I have just had to write a long letter of complaint to the company, as one of them racially abused an other "new commer" from somewhere else. He was at work, in the job where all passangers have the right to ask where it's going; but apparently not in this guy's working hours. He stood up and started shouting and making a scene and said: "I don't know were they are from and why they don't go back where they are come from? they always ask the same question, well don't ask, you are supposed to read before getting on!!! BANK BANK BANK on the front of the thing indicating where they should read before getting on".

I am not the most PC person myself, but rudeness and total disrespect like that has no place in these parts if you ask me. And I keep thinking back to what he was saying about "The Others". The sentence makes sense to me, but in a different way.

Anonymous said...

spelling and gramatic correction: WHERE they are from .......... where they come from (no ARE).

But with the mistakes is actually sounds like someone is saying it in chinglish, NO?

earthling said...

Tulsa, I was here first again. But I am trying to be anonymous, so don't shout it out.

Froog said...

Ah, Tulsa is lost to us. She hasn't spoken to us in a week, I don't think. Bad scene at work again, I surmise.

So don't gloat too much, Earthling; it's not a fair contest at the moment.

Ali, have you STILL not figured out that it you check the box marked 'other' you can write it any name you like, without having a Blogger ID or having to sign in?? This 'anonymous' stuff is bugging me..... we do occasionally have genuinely anonymous people who drop by, and I don't want to confuse you with them!

Scottish Ali said...

It wasn't me that did the anonymous comments above...sorry!

Scottish Ali said...

And thanks for the tip about the 'other' box. Have *FINALLY* worked it out...

omg said...

"My first thought would have been FIGHT. They are a disturbingly common piece of street theatre here (the Chinese fondness for excessive alcohol consumption + the Chinese genetic intolerance of alcohol + the ridiculous cultural imperative of 'face' - any culturally established norms for defusing or substituting for violence = old friends coming to blows over the most trivial of imagined insults on an almost nightly basis)."

Is it at least in the classic martial arts style? Please say yes.

I have decided that the man was walking along, minding his own business, when the pot fell from a balcony and cracked him on the head. The pot split in half, just like it would in the cartoons.

Don't disillusion me by telling me it was a one-story building.

Froog said...

No, OMG, very few people here are actually all that well up on their martial arts. 'Pre-fights' are just a lot of yelling and jostling. When they evolve into real fights, alas, they almost invariably involve the participants arming themselves with a hard object - a stone or a brick or a bottle. It get UGLY very quickly.

Perhaps the pot plant did just fall on him..... but HOW?

Ali, so the bus story wasn't you?! That really is a bit of a mystery then!

Scottish Ali said...

Nope, not guilty regarding the bus story. (And not my style of writing either) Intriguing, eh?

Mysterious, anonymous commenter... reveal yourself and put Froog out of his misery!!

omg said...

I thought it was earthling being anonymous. Hence her comment (the third) about being first but trying to be anonymous.

But that's just my take on it.

HOW did it just fall on him? Well obviously some deviant rascal gave the pot a nudge. We may never know the motive, but I can come up with a juicy one if you'd like.

Or maybe the pot didn't cause the gash. Maybe he was trying to move the pot and tripped/fell in the process and the pot broke while he hit his head on something else.

scottish ali said...

Well deduced, omg, and now that you have pointed that out, the close proximity of the timings of the comments seems to further back up your theory.

But in doing so, you may have shattered Froog's illusion/ intrigue regarding a possible mystery commenter...

omg said...

I'm here to serve.

Froog said...

OMG, this is a 'Rear Window' thing going on here with you, isn't it?

As a distraction from the boredom and aggravation of being trapped in the house (with your in-laws), you applying your imagination to solving little "criminal" riddles you find in the world around you.

It's very entertaining for the rest of us, but.... I hope you are able to start getting out and about again soon.

omg said...

The in-laws are gone, but my new job has me working from home. The odds of getting out and about are slim. Sorry, you're doomed to be exposed to my imagination.

... not that you're exposed in my imagination...

[sorry, we don't really know each other well enough for gutter-jokes]

Froog said...

Well, we're getting there, OMG. Heck, you can come and play in my gutter any time.