Dear Idiots


As teenagers they all seem made to be broken. Some are stupid , arbitrary, and down right nasty. The longer I live in Shanghai , the more I come to despair at the utter disregard that a certain set of them receive.

Traffic Laws.

Tell that to my 18-year-old self speeding on the highway and I probably would have laughed.

After two and a half years of watching pure stupidity at wheels , I’ve come to hold traffic laws in a brighter light.

This one’s for you , Mr.Idiot on a motorbike.

Dear Moron,

I spotted you at the intersection of West JianGuo Rd. and 2nd Ruijin Rd. Do you remember me? Probably not as you were blatantly disregarding the red light in front of you ( it means stop!) and the pedestrians crossing the road. Perhaps you may recall the one blond head in the sea of black hairs. That was me.

You probably haven’t heard of the American saying used in my youth , “No Cop , No Stop”. But I’ll go ahead and inform you right now that only is applicable when in the middle of nowhere. In the kind of place where farm animals outnumber the people and the only thing in sight is corn , not in the middle of a city of 23 million people.

In your defence , you could have been trying to turn right and in China there is no stop on red rule before making a right hand turn. It would certainly be a great idea , and it would save us pedestrians a lot of grief but we pedestrians know that you drivers are in such a hurry to do such important things as ; gossip , play mahjong , chain smoke , and spit. These things are arguably more important than any grievous bodily harm that may come our way. However , you weren’t making a right hand turn! You were making a left hand on red through traffic! And it wasn’t a gun-it-on yellow kind of deal. That was a stale red light buddy. That’s why when the taxi almost slammed into you, and came to a skidding stop a meter in front of you because you were in the middle of the intersection , I laughed.

My pleasure quickly turned sour when you glared at the taxi while he honked his horn. Like you were being wrongly affronted , insulted, and accused. That simmering look you gave him could have sizzled the oil in my wok. That’s the point of time when I yelled, “F*ck you, You idiot! at you. I couldn’t stand that look you were giving him , Mr.Almost-Hit-Me-And-Then-Almost-Causing-Yourself-To-Be-Killed. Usually I would glare at the stupid taxi drivers too but not this time. I know you probably didn’t hear me ,and then anyways probably wouldn’t have understood , but it still felt good.

Your Biggest Fan ,


It’s important to try to defend my walking/biking safety seeing as how the metro just turned into a war zone. It just got personal. Blood was shed. Yes, on the metro.

My good friend L-Dawg was just recently pushed to the ground hard enough to break her skin. A fellow rider knocked her down, and her knee struck the gap in between subway car and station platform. This fellow did not offer to help her up but instead an actual good Samaritan (too rare in China) gave her a helping hand. The pusher didn’t say a word to my friend , didn’t try to help , avoided her look , and slunk off with his tail between his legs to hide. Real great guy.

Will the traffic and behavior of the citizens of China ever change? Any fellow expats have comments on this?

Google imaged this photo
By Maciej Dakowicz


9 thoughts on “Dear Idiots

    • I’ve asked some of the same questions and feel your frustrations. It’s hard to understand the culture and the acceptable behaviors in this country. As a Westerner, I find myself wanting to correct or impose our thoughts and way’s on the locals; however, this is their way, their culture, and it’s been this way for a long time. Should we be the one’s to adapt? Do you think they find our ways strange? I’ve only been here 9 months and still feel like a newbe, you’ll often hear me say, “I don’t get it and It doesn’t make sense”. Glad your ok after your close encounter. Stay safe!

      • For me, reckless driving (ie screaming through a red light at a busy intersection in Shanghai) crosses the line from “interesting cultural difference” to plain foolishness. I really enjoy (and learn a lot from) most of the “interesting cultural differences” that I’ve encountered over the years…but there are a certain percentage of fools the world over (including “back home”) who deserve a nasty look.

      • They totally find us strange. I’d say I did a pretty job adapting. I prefer Asian food , I cook with a wok , while the characters may not be the most efficient I love the beauty and history they impart. Tea ? Chopsticks? I’m down. Those are ancient parts of culture. Stupidly blowing a red light and shoving people on the subway? Can we call those culture? It certainly doesn’t match brush ink paintings of Huangshan. Haha.

  1. I recently made a post on my Facebook about the rudeness of Asians and I am Asian myself. I completely get what you are saying but Still Times also has a point. Even as wrong as they are and it is dangerous to ignore traffic rules, they are still used to that way of life. It surely isn’t culture but when you grew up that way, you will probably see no reason to change. Not right at all in the Western world…or even HK…but until their whole country changes, this isn’t going away anytime soon 😦

    • True true. People are used to such crazy things and probably assume the rest of the world is also like that. I know I don’t really have any right to complain , seeing as how I left my own country to take up residence here. But damn it sucks being shoved on the metro and being nearly run down by an idiot not following the rules on a daily basis. I would imagine everyone would be happier if they didn’t have to deal with this. With a country of 1.4 billion and closed inwards on itself (renren , youku , etc) I don’t imagine change will come anytime soon.
      It’s funny when a government has to publish a guidebook on how to act when one is abroad.

      Thanks for the comments everyone!

    • It really hit home when my friends came to visit me. It was their first time out of the states and they were shocked when a van ramped up on the sidewalk , drove for a bit , and then parked. I was totally confused by their confusion. Then I realized , oh yea this is crazy!

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