Monday, May 15, 2006

Dispute Resolution

We just went to lunch with one of our clients and, as we were leaving the building chanced upon a fight that was already in progress. Now I've got this new camera, I really need to develop the habit of keeping it on my person at all times.

My guess would be this started a few minutes earlier because the crowd that had gathered to watch was only about 25 people. I'm sure it would have been at least twice that size if it had been going for 10 minutes.

Not surprisingly it seemed to have been sparked by an incident involving at least one, if not two, electric bicycles. Clearly the 'guy in the red' was upset with the 'guy in the brown' as he kept lunging for him and at one point, chased him about 20 metres up the street.

There was momentary calm as a policeman arrived, followed by some renewed fighting when they realised the guy with a blue uniform and a white crash helment was a Pizze Hut delivery guy, followed by more calm when a real policeman arrived. Sensing a good time to move it, the building security guy who'd been standing next to us watching decided it was safe to move in too.

We didn't watch the next bit but I've seen this a number of times before, the most blatant exhibition I've seen was outside our first office.

The protagonists, lets call them Y and Z, had clearly had some sort of minor incident. I believe one was a pedestrian and the other driving a taxi. As we arrived, Y and Z were standing in the middle of the street yelling at each other. As the yelling intensified, Y removed his shoe and started waving it at Z. After a little while, probably no more than three minutes about 15 people had gathered around so Y and Z stopped yelling at each other and started yelling at the audience. Even without much Chinese it was pretty clear that they were informing the swelling throng what had happened, why it wasn't their fault and why the other party was in the wrong.

By the time the policeman turned up (delayed by the fact that after any accident, people have to leave their vehicles exactly where they where when the accident occurred until told they can move by a policeman) about 50 people were involved and were busy listening to depositions from Y and Z and discussing the relative merits of their case. The policemen then starting talking to Y, Z and the crowd to determine what had happened, even though none of the crowd had seen the accident!

So, if you're ever in an accident here, don't forget that whilst the facts may be the facts, your case will be helped if you put on a good show and get the sympathies of the audience behind you.


A. said...

I remeber the day - very well. I also rememeber Andrew B failing to cross the road at the very same point on his first visit to China.

JP said...

Maybe this is where the not so recently departed 'D' honed her skills!

Oh, and 'the guy in the red', was this not really 'the guy in the slightly lighter shade of brown'?