AddThis Social Bookmark Button
The ugly side of cynicism E-mail
City Life - Blogs & Columns
Written by Mary Higgins
A while back, a friend of mine had his bag stolen. A bit later he received a phone call from someone that said he found the bag. They made a plan to meet that evening to hand over the bag. The stranger seemed nice and friendly on the phone. Well, a short while later, my friend received a call from the stranger demanding 5000RMB for the bag and its contents.

A few of us stood around and tried to come up with ever more complex ways to nab the crook and get the bag without any sort of knife-slashing-the-face antics. My friend ultimately decided to forget about the bag since replacing everything would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000RMB and getting into a potentially dangerous argument over credit cards wasn't worth the effort.

Everyone knows someone that has been robbed, mugged, or extorted in a similar fashion. China is, in my opinion, a super safe place to live (for laowai) but pickpockets and petty thieves do seem to be more common here than in other places. Such is life. However, in order to deal with things here, I find that over time the best course of action is to take an extremely defensive posture and assume the absolute worst about the person that you're dealing with. Trust me on this. It is best to assume that the person that is trying to sell you an overpriced pair of sunglasses is really only interested in selling your kidneys on the black market.

Sure, we all have the best of intentions when we first come to China but after a while you end up reaching your limit of being taken advantage of and you one day say “No more!” We all have different limits and we deal with things differently but not one of you reading this blog can honestly say that they haven't felt like that at one time or another. The real question is this: How far beyond the point of no return have we really gone?

Well, I got my answer today. I am back home for a vacation in the West amidst enormous asses and 96oz. steaks. I got a call from a friend telling me that after she came home in her drunken stupor last night, she realized that she left her wallet in the cab that brought her home. A very sketchy cab driver called and said that he had the wallet and that he wanted to return it. His cab company didn't call, HE called. He seemed to be in a very big rush to get off the phone and to make the exchange. So, I slipped into my ultra-extreme defensive posture and told my friend to set up the meet but that I was going with her.

On the way to the meet, I explained that it was best to assume that at least 30 half-mad half-insane maniacs were waiting with baseball bats studded with rusty nails and that the driver was going to demand that one of us chop off their little finger as a show of good faith while the other gets a bag over their head and tossed into the trunk of a car while driven out to the woods where the deal would be made. Better safe than sorry, eh?

As it turns out, when we finally met the guy, everything was simple and easy and enjoyable like a Sunday afternoon children's special. He was friendly and polite and happy to help out. He was a guy…just a guy. He was a man with a respectable job and was simply trying to do the right thing. He handed over the wallet with a smile and then politely refused any money for his troubles. He was a good guy and I didn't give him the benefit of the doubt. I wasn't mean or rude when meeting him but I made sure that my spideysense was fully alert and ready for anything.

Has China made me jaded and cynical? Absolutely.

Our valuable Editor Mary Higgins has been with us since Tuesday, 24 November 2009.

Show Other Articles Of This Author

Do you have a story to share? Do you want to be a ND Author? Send your own story, write about family, friends, life in Xi'an, business, real estate, education, travel, entertainment, write a review, suggest a column and more! In any language! Please include at least one picture about your story if possible, your name, email address, blog-/web-address, so we can give you credit. Go ahead, click here: Submit your Story now and we will publish it and list you as a ND contributor! Alternatively you can send us your story to:

Add comment

Anti-spam: complete the taskJoomla CAPTCHA

More Articles in this Category

Latest Articles in Blogs & Columns

NEW DYNASTY TV - Xi'an Reports, Interviews and Movies

ND TV - Premier Web TV Reports, Interviews, Movies about Expats and Locals in Xi'an/China! This is UNIQUE in Xi'an!

ND proudly presents: Xi'an Models Volume 1

Xi'an Models


MANGO - Women's Collection
HaoHao - China Stories
Silk Road International (SRI)

Watch Great Movies Online - Right here on ND - For Free!

Watch Great Movies Online - Right here on ND - For Free!

New Dynasty Comics

We want you! - 加入我们!

We're currently looking for some down to earth people who can spare a little time each week to write about anything related to Xi'an and China, who are eager to share stories, news, insight info and be a part of the most sophisticated and fastest growing Digital Magazine in Xi'an. Whether you're young or old, we'd like to hear from you. Click for more info.


Xi'an goes digital
To all readers, subscribers, friends: Welcome to Xi'ans most sophisticated, multilingual digital magazine. We are excited to offer you from today on, 15. June 2009, a new and superior kind of publication in Xi'an and a refreshing new concept. Of course, as with any technology-related... Click here to read the full story!

Skype ND!

Skype ND!

Featured Website

¡XABOO! is a brand new interactive Community Platform for Locals and Expatriates in Xi'an (China).¡XABOO! is an interactive Community Platform for Locals and Expatriates in Xi'an. Click here & register now!

Editor Team

We have a team that works on the articles presented on ND. Please contact us if  you are interested in helping us out with the creation of articles or researching information in Xi'an. Contact:

Post translation

ND has readers from all over the world and in several languages. If you translate one of our articles please let us know so we can add a link at the original article! Your site and name will be posted as well. Thanks!


article thumbnail Tuscany Restaurant

We are a family owned restaurant and take pride in everything we do. From the fine ingredients we use to the wines we carry, you...

ND Digital Magazine Xi'an - Subscribe now!

ND Digital Magazine Sample  Cover
*Sample Image


article thumbnail Grand Noble Xi'an

The hotel has 428 well-appointed guestrooms and suites, a full range of dining, recreational and conference facilities. ...

ND on your Mobile Phone Browser - Coming soon

ND Mobile v1.0 is online! Browse ND's eMag with your mobile device by typing the address in the browser of your device or be auto-redirected to our mobile site by typing You can read our articles, watch ND TV and more even better in the future with your iphone, android etc. Stay tuned. Click here for more Info or here if you want to report a bug.