Sunday, February 28

Seat Belts and the Chinese

I have just spent over two weeks in China.  I went especially for a former student's wedding and stayed longer to look around the city where I once lived.  That was the plan, but I never got free time as my generous hosts took me to many Spring Festival Events. 

The first family I stayed with chauffered me to many family homes to celebrate.  It was mostly enjoyable, but being the only English speaker at most events made it challenging.

My host family were always good and wore seat belts.  As did I.  It is a habit for me, as in Australia we MUST wear a seat belt or risk the wrath of the Police and a fine.  In China, it is also the law to wear seat belts, but many Chinese do not like to do so.

I recall, and I have written about this, that in 2010 my driver was "insulted" when I put my seat belt on.  I was sitting in the front seat of his car.  He argued that he was a safe driver and there was no need to wear the seat belt.  A few weeks later, when I got into the car I noticed he was wearing the seat belt.  I asked him why.  Sheepishly he told me that he had been fined for not wearing it!

This trip, in Cixi, (south of Shanghai near Ningbo) my companions/drivers seldom wore seat belts.  In fact, they went to great lengths to avoid wearing them.  All the cars I travelled in were high-end cars - Mercedes, BMW, Lexus etc.


I saw a couple of the drivers with the seat belt done up, but they were sitting on it.  In the wedding cavalcade, in which I sat in a BMW, I went to put the seat belt on, but couldn't.  It had a little metal thing in the seat belt which worked to delete the ringing of the seat belt warning sound.



The photo above is the item used to delete the seat belt warning sound.

Often I would be in a vehicle for long distances and the warning sound continued throughout the journey.  It annoyed me.  

I spoke to my friend about it.  She does not like wearing a seat belt as she claims to be a safe driver.  As someone who bribed the examiner when she failed her test and was subsequently granted her drivers licence, I was wary!

Isn't it easy to use the seat belt?  Yes, it is, but they don't "LIKE" it.

I don't think my discussion with her on the safety issue will change her mind.  Perhaps if I go back to China, I will find out.


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