I just got back from China after a great weeklong trip which was better than I expected, thanks to family there. Though we are actually distantly but definitely related, I was genuinely treated like really close kin. I’ll write more about my trip in future posts but I’ll say now that it’s things like this that strengthen my belief that China and its people are much better than what the world, in particular Taiwan island, thinks. There’s a lot of people in China, and there’s a lot of humanity there too. It’s a pity that this isn’t always apparent or understood by many of us.
Unfortunately, almost as soon as I got back to Taiwan, I experienced a negative incident. I took the airport bus to Taipei and we (my mother had come to meet me) wanted to get off at a certain stop (the bus stops at several specific destinations in Taipei). We put my luggage into the appropriate hold for that stop and got onto the bus. After an hour or so during which the evening became night, the bus reached Taipei and was driving on a city street when suddenly my mother said we might have passed the stop. She reached up to see if there was a bell and there wasn’t, so we got up and walked to the front to tell the driver. We did indeed pass the stop, so we had to get off at another stop. The driver told us we should have pressed the bell which we didn’t see at all. Of course, this being Taiwan, a few people had to be petty and laughed at us. However, whether there was a bell or not is a moot point. The fact was that this was an airport bus so the driver should have notified us about each stop. Even in city buses and the subway, the driver or automated system announces all stops along the way. I mean, what would tourists do if they had to get off and had never been in Taiwan? Get off at a random stop? To round off this ineptness, the driver almost drove off with our luggage still in the hold because he opened the hold for that stop without opening the hold where my luggage was and quickly got on board. Luckily, he heard our shouts and he came back down. I don’t know if he was really inept or perhaps being a little malicious, but either way, his attitude is a good example of how to be a useless worker. He made a mistake (not calling out the stops) and instead of being contrite, turned it on us by saying we should have rung a (possibly nonexistent) bell. Also, his attitude, and that of some of the passengers, is a good example of why some things won’t improve here. Mistakes are made, and instead of accepting responsibility or wanting to improve, people laugh.