Are we still human?

Just heard that the 2 year old infant in Foshan has passed away.

What has humanity become?I can’t help but shed a tear for this innocent kid, who died as a result of people becoming so cold-blooded and behaving more like animals than human.

For those who have not heard about this case, this is about a 2 year old girl who while toddling across a street in Foshan in Guangdong, was run over by a Van.

Video footage shows that after the front wheel ran over the girl, the van slowed but then didnot stop  and the rear wheel too ran over the injured girl. The van then sped away, leaving the half dead toddler in the middle of the street.

After this, there were 18 passers-by, but none of them bothered to stop to save the child.

Finally, an old lady, who is a trash collector, came to the aid of this girl and when the girl was admitted, her condition was already very critical.

When media succeeded in  tracing  the van driver, he mentioned that he did not know that he had hit a girl –( sleeping driving?)

Most of the 18 passersby too pleaded innocence , saying that they did not notice the incident nor the injured girl lying in the middle of the street. ( having cataracts? or are them demented?)

Worse, the old lady who came to the rescue was criticised by some of the people that she came to aid the girl because she wanted publicity.

If one or two walked away, I would understand, since in the law of average, there will bound to be some who would do not do things that a normal person would do. What a normal person would do would be that he or she would try to help the little girl, provide some first aids if possible, and call for an ambulance or inform the police.

But 18 persons in a stretch? Only one in 19 responded. This really reflects the type of attitude in the community.

I remember not too long ago, I saw somewhere in the net a story about a dog which stayed by the side of another dying dog, howling sadly and refusing to leave. . If animals can have such sympathy for their own kind, why can’t these people calling themselves human exhibit some of the human traits? Is it not a human trait to help others in need, especially someone who is injured?

Confucius would certainly turn in his grave, if he knows about this. So would Mao and Deng.

I wonder if the same accident happens in Malaysia, would we respond differently? I  think that we Malaysians are much more helpful and I have often seen in Pudu how people would help an accident victim to clinics and hospitals.

I hope the toddler’s  soul will rest in peace!


31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sally
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 14:22:30

    My family watched that last night… we all cried.


  2. JYC
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 15:07:36


    stories like this makes the heart sore. Personally I cant understand how they are able to disconnect themselves to such an event. I was once knocked down by a car when i was 7. i can still remember vividly all the kind souls who came to help me. the driver himself was stricken with fear that i may have been badly injured as my head is bleeding profusely. he took me to the hospital waited for the xrays and doctors and made sure i was ok. it was apparently just some grazing on my head, arms and legs, nothing broken. He drove me home with a little help from me. I think Malaysians are different in this respect.


  3. Dr Hsu
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 15:31:18


    when i heard about the death today, tears came to my eyes..i just cannot understand , like JYC said, how people can disconnect themselves to this type of happening. Human are follible, and accidents happen, but when accident happens, we must do our best to minimise injury and save lives..

    What cold blooded animals these fella have become!!


  4. aiz
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 18:39:58

    To Lynas and private hospitals/clinics that turn away emergency cases:- Is profit more important than saving lives?


  5. CYC
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 20:19:07

    And this is the main reason why a lot of western scholars think that China will not be ready to ascend the throne as world No. 1 even if it managed to overtake US in terms economic might. It simply lacks soft culture that could conquer our mindset to regard her as a real super power. What a disappointment for a country with thousands years of civilization. They choose to ignore their own treasure but ape the imported junk cultures.

    We shared the same roots but we are different in many ways. Malaysia’s Chinese are not the same as China’s Chinese. No one would doubt about it.


  6. Rhan
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 20:29:31

    “Malaysia’s Chinese are not the same as China’s Chinese.”

    Yeah yeah, we actualy were much influenced by the Malay who never think twice to help when similar case happen here.


  7. CYC
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 21:35:28

    China has turned into a money spinning circus where money is king. Morality all down to the drain and I am unapologetic to say that unless it rediscover its values based on some of the old “Jing”s , it will peak in terms of economic power but sink to its lowest as a cultural bustard. I sincerely hope it proves me wrong.

    We need more 陶杰 to continue bashing them and rediscover their roots.


  8. cilipadi
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 21:46:12

    That’s why I emphasise on morality
    Without moral, things are likely to go wrong
    Even there are laws and regulations passed by regulatory body
    The best examples in Malaysia
    Are none other than Umno
    Like an aquarium full of shits
    Where fish fight for oxygen

    Morality is a must in us
    Even if others hit below our belt
    Like what some Gelakanians
    Back-stabbing Dr. Hsu
    But doctor didn’t use such tactics
    To hit back, I am sure he is like that

    To that toddler, I offer my prayer
    Hope he reborn to a better realm

    Dr. Hsu makan cili, Gelakanians rasa pedas


  9. JYC
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 23:43:23

    CYC has penned exactly what what i thought and i suspect everyone else. These days Chinese in China have left all sense of morality at home once they venture out of the house as if it is a dog eat dog world. it doesn’t have to be like that. right now i guess china is going through the motions in its way to being a civilised world superpower(??) and it may take a while before all sense of civility are back. the 18 who ignored should be ashamed of themselves. in a way its good that the news has spread across the whole world


  10. Li Li Fa
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 08:46:59

    Only a simpleton of the trash lady came to the aid of the little girl who has perished in the soullessness of humans around her.

    Could the CHINESE people be blinded by their MARCH ON THE ROAD TO PROSPERITY that they do not see others around them, except the dollar sign?

    Could the indoctrination of the CHINESE Communism over all the years affected the thoughts and soul of her people?

    Could the CHINESE people reach out to their own people first rather than reaching for the outerspace and galaxies?

    The CHINESE culture is seen and practiced in the 4 corners of the world. Could we truly say that their wise words and analects been practised until today, especially in CHINA.

    CHINA has a lot of beautiful scenery but this incident simply mars the whole image of the CHINESE PEOPLE.


  11. sally
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 09:26:13

    Dear Doc,

    I would reserve my comment. I do not know what was in the mind of the 18 people. What did they actually see? It looks the lane was badly lighted.The victim was wearing black. Did the driver of the van see the victim? The van that hit the victim did stop for a while after hitting the victim… and then drive on. Did the 18 people see blood or just a pool of water? What did the driver of the second vehicle see? I wish the authorities can do an accident scene investigation. But whatever it is my heart is with the victim. My eyes are cloudy when I write this.


  12. Rhan
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 13:29:57

    CYC, there must be reason why Lu Xun wrote in a radical manner and Mao initiated that Cultural Revolution. The quote “Cultivate oneself. Bring order to the family. Govern the country. Bring peace to all.” start with self and family, the order and sequence implant deeply into almost every Chinese. And how many Chinese literature talks about compassion and humanity? Our Chinese education needs reformed, we must learn from the West in certain aspect, and from our Muslim and Indian bro, we must break out from some of the dogmatic “Jing” if possible. We want true diversification, but not the one dictate by the rightist.

    That said, anything can happen in China, I think it is over populated. I copy from internet the Peng Yu case, those that use to surf Chinese language forum should be well aware: “Nanjing judge” refers to the infamous 2006 case of a man named Peng Yu who helped a woman to the hospital after she had fallen only to have the old woman accuse him of knocking her down. The Nanjing judge in that case ultimately ruled that common sense dictated that only the person who hit her would take her to the hospital, setting a precedent that continues only further discourages and reinforces many Chinese people’s wariness to help others in similar situations.


  13. Dr Hsu
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 14:19:36

    Bo Yang wrote a very good book describing some of the ugly traits of some CHinese people in a book called : the ugly Chinese.

    He opined that Chinese culture is like a soy container, anything white going into the container will be tainted black.

    There is an ingrained thinking especially among Some Chinese that ” you should sweep away the snow outside your house, but do not bother about the frost on other people’s roof”. This saying really depicts the attitude of the people above.

    Even among Chinese Malaysians, there is this trait that some of them would ‘ show up in the front row when it is time to take photos, but when it is time for donation, many would excuse themselves to go to the toilet.. This again depicts some of the Chinese in clan association.

    Of course, not all are like that.. Chinese Malaysians generally are more helpful lot, warmer and so on ( except when behind the wheels), and this may have somthing to do with the fact that our ancestors when they first came, depended a lot on those who came earlier for help.

    My own father came to Malaysia in the 30s, and stayed with someone he hardly knew for more than a month before he got a teaching job,( and that family refuse to take any money from him) and to this day, we maintain a very cordial relations with the offsprings of this family.. To thank them for helping my father when he was alone coming to Malaysia.. What my late father always stressed that ‘ when drinking water, always think of the source’.

    Our Malay Brothers are much better when it comes to offering help and so on. You can often see that some of them would stop and help others whose cars were stranded in the middle of the road after a breakdown.


  14. CYC
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 15:34:35

    Of course we can’t take everything literally from all those “Jing”. We need use our intelligence to filter through. Similarly, never assume what comes from the west must be scientific and advance. Some are very rotten. There is a very meaningful Malay proverbs ” Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendung berciciran” which loosely means one fails to get he chase after and loses what was in his possession instead. I hope the Chinese will not fall into this trap in their haste of pursuing mundane wealth through the western route.


  15. Mike Lkopio
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 22:14:00

    In such an accident happens in Malaysia, we all can be rest assured that people from all walks of life irrespective of race will come to the little girl rescue.
    Perhaps this is one of the few things we can be proud being a Malaysian.


  16. mmc
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 17:19:29

    is UMNO any better? blatant lies against a young innocent child and yet the DPM condones such dastardly act.
    wonder what happens if we repeat what these low life does? MCMC and Police coming after us but with lightning speed? Not even a squeak from them because its UMNO?


  17. Yap
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 20:42:03

    Telling all of you a true incident on the KL Seremban Highway:::Do not help any motorcyclist lying on the road, you maybe excused of knocking him down. This was told to me by a friend ie his friend stopped his car on the highway to help the motorcyclist. While helping the injured motorcyclist, other motorcyclist stopped by and asked the injured guy, “dia langgar you kah” The injured guy nodded his head and the motorcyclists wanted to beat him up. Luckily the friend shouted back ” saya berhenti tolong, kamu cakap saya langgar you. Tenggok kereta saya ada rosak atau tidak” He got into his car as fast as he could…..


  18. Mike
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 23:57:37

    It was reported in China that in many instances where some old man or woman fell on the street for whatever reason, the old man or woman will subsequently accuse the person coming to their aid for causing his/her fall !

    This is in order to get compensation from the samaritan when he or she is sued in court.
    There were many cases the judge ordered compensation to be paid.
    These injustices inevitably causes the public to be wary in helping others especially the old folks.

    Who are to be blamed for these sad state of affairs ?


  19. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 13:51:18

    This is a sign of “anomie” (the concept comes from the
    French thinker Emile Durkheim).

    A breakdown in value systems with the end of Maoism, the discrediting of
    Marxist-Leninist though in China and the promotion of the
    current “to get rich is glorious” kind of thinking.

    A big contrast to the honesty and courteousy of ordinary people in Japan.


  20. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 14:06:03

  21. cct
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 18:32:21

    China GDP may surplus US one day, but it has a long way to achieve soft power and i don’t see any progress on this, caring peoples are minority. This incident won’t be the last. I personally came across two tennage girls who told me they came to Shenzhen to look for work, but no more money left to have food & lodging, since this is the first time i came China I asked security for advice, his advice- Don’t trust them, too many scam around. Personnaly I don’t think China will be a world power unless that is a new ” cultural revolution” in a good way


  22. cct
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 18:41:58

    Dr Hsu,
    The first time i read about your blog was a doctor too many. Your blog is one of the best, keep up the good work ” To do my little bit to make the world a better place”. I am sure many silenced readers will help you spread the love


  23. petestop
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:00:47

    It is a tragic happening, a disease of the heart and soul.

    When you remove religion and the moral compass out of a nation, and replace it by worship of the almighty S-11, this is the tragic result.

    However, being in China many times, not that I condone this, but I can understand how this can become so.

    When everyday you see the sea of humanity passing by, by the thousands, all caught up in the rat-race and almost all of them are strangers to you, you tend to build up “immunity” and lose any form of empathy to the people surrounding you.


  24. CYC
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:22:32

    Good article in Saturday StarBiz on Bhutan’s pursuit of Gross National Happiness. It may not be perfect but we human beings really need to seriously reflect on its merits. The rat race of higher GDP simply not sustainable but economists refuse to admit the present economic model is destructive in nature.


  25. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 08:47:38

    Dear petestop

    But in Japan, you have the same situation of overcrowding in the main cities (coupled
    ironically with de-population in the countryside because of outmigration of the young).
    Yet the people are mostly honest and courteous.


  26. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 08:51:55

    Al-Jazeera’s 101 East programme on Bhutan:


  27. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:41:35

  28. Justice&Equality
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 11:24:37

    Peh Shing Huei
    The Straits Times
    Publication Date : 21-10-2011

    The story of Peng Yu and Xu Shoulan is not part of China’s rich collection of ancient folk tales, but most Chinese are familiar with it nonetheless.

    In 2006, Mr Peng, a 26-year-old technician from Nanjing, went to the aid of Madam Xu, 65, who had fallen and broken her hip during a scrum to board a public bus. He took her to hospital and even gave her 200 yuan (US$31).

    She returned the favour by accusing him of causing her fall and suing him.

    Mr Peng insisted that he helped the elderly woman out of kindness, but the Nanjing court decided otherwise. It ruled in favour of Madam Xu, arguing that Mr Peng would not have helped her if he had not caused the fall in the first place.

    He was ordered to pay part of her medical bill, which was eventually settled at 10,000 yuan.

    The incident has since grown in notoriety nationwide, and the so-called “Nanjing Peng Yu case” is often used to explain why many Chinese are reluctant to help strangers.

    In the past week, this has seen renewed attention following the ghastly hit-and-run case in Foshan, Guangdong province, involving a two-year-old child. The little girl was struck first by a van on a market street.

    As she lay bleeding, 18 passers-by ignored her. She was run over a second time by another vehicle before a rag collector finally pulled her out of harm’s way.

    Even as an outraged nation threw up its hands in horror, many Chinese were quick to point out that the bizarre outcome of the 2006 case had much to do with the callous attitude of the bystanders.

    “The old lady of Nanjing had shoved aside all Chinese people with conscience,” wrote commentator Li Nuoyan on Phoenix News’ website. “It was an ending which no one had expected and a conclusion which terminated the conscience of countless people.”

    News reports and netizens have also cited numerous examples of similar incidents since 2006 to show how the Nanjing ruling has had a chilling effect on potential Good Samaritans.

    One happened late last year, when a 78-year-old man was found face-down on the ground in a residential compound in Shenzhen. No one offered to help and he died eventually. A security guard who could have saved him said he was afraid to do anything for fear of being blamed.

    Another, in August last year, saw an 81-year-old woman accuse a bus driver of having knocked her down and caused her injuries – after he tried to help her after a fall. Fortunately for the driver, his vehicle was equipped with a video camera and he was exonerated by its recorded images.

    Indeed, a recent online poll found that 84 per cent of Chinese respondents would not offer to help someone who had fallen on the street for fear of extortion, according to the Global Times.

    This unwillingness to help becomes even more stark when set against the widely reported case last week of an American tourist who dived into the famous West Lake in Hangzhou and saved a Chinese woman from drowning.

    Many praised the foreigner, but quite a few remarked that the rescuer was very likely ignorant of the risk of being sued which her act of heroism carried. As one netizen put it: “According to Chinese laws and regulations, if she hadn’t pushed the girl into the water, why would she save her?”

    But to pin all the blame on the Peng Yu case is reductionist and unfair. Some observers take a longer view, attributing the apparent lack of compassion for others to factors that have moulded Chinese society over the past decades.

    They point to the spiritual void left by Mao Zedong’s communist triumph, the aversion to standing out and drawing attention to oneself following the trauma of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the emphasis on material gain in the past three decades. The headlong rush for economic growth came at a price: an erosion of a sense of community and weakened moral bearings.

    This is not to say that Chinese society is devoid of kind-hearted souls, or that there is something intrinsically selfish about the Chinese people. Mr Peng and Madam Chen Xianmei, the woman who rescued Wang Yue, the Foshan toddler, are examples to the contrary.

    China is also not the only place that has seen egregious examples of bystander indifference. In 1964, the infamous Kitty Genovese murder case left New Yorkers soul-searching as to what was wrong with a society that allowed a young woman to be stabbed to death outside her Queens apartment while 38 witnesses did nothing.

    More recently, in 2008, Jamaican woman Esmin Green died after she collapsed and went into convulsions while waiting for treatment in a Brooklyn hospital. Camera footage showed her lying on the floor for an hour, all the while ignored by other patients, security guards and hospital staff.

    China may not be unique, but there is certainly scope for action in the wake of the Foshan case. The authorities, for instance, should come up with laws to protect from liability people who go out of their way to help strangers in distress.

    Existing models are to be found in the Good Samaritan Protection Act in California and some European countries. The details differ but the essence is the same: to overcome reluctance to help a stranger that stems from fear of being sued.

    Local media reported last month that Shenzhen is drafting similar legislation. It could not come sooner. In fact, other cities and the central government should consider doing the same.

    It would be wise, too, to revisit the Peng Yu verdict. As a commentary in the China Daily pointed out last month: “The Peng Yu case is so influential that it needs to be seriously reviewed… the case is no longer an ordinary one. It has greatly affected our social ethics. The supreme authorities must give due importance to it.

    “If our judicial apparatus cannot protect justice, our society will be irredeemably damaged.”


  29. Li Li Fa
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 14:13:06

    Prof Phua,
    Thanks for the article on the ‘anomie’ phenomenon in Malaysia via the Art Harun’s article.

    It was so intereresting and entertaining that I marvel at his thoughts and humour.
    I shared it with my collegues and they laughed falling off their chair.


  30. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 10:22:08

    Dear Li Li Fa

    Yes, the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of our kleptocratic ruling elites is simply
    amazing to the point of being unintentionously hilarious!

    In repressive police states (and in semi-police states such as Malaysia), there is much material for political satire and political humour.

    Examples from the former police states of Eastern Europe and the USSR:

    1. Under Capitalism, man exploits man. Under Communism, it is the other way round
    2. If Marx had lived under Stalin, he would not have lived for long 🙂


  31. Phua Kai Lit
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 10:24:13

    Apologies for the neologism … should be “unintentionally”, not the new Manglish
    word coined by me 🙂


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