Posted by: beaufortninja | August 31, 2012

It Doesn’t Pay to Be Helpful in China


This morning when I walked into the office, I was stunned to hear the insane story of how the older teacher was almost arrested for theft. Here’s what I was told.

He goes downstairs to the convenience store for lunch where he has a nice conversation with 2 university students, a boy and a girl. They are both studying and the teacher gives them some pointers. They leave after a while but the teacher soon notices that they forgot their iPad. He grabs the computer and looks out the door to see which way they went. Not seeing them, he sits down with the iPad and waits for 30 minutes or so for them to come back. They never do.

So, going above and beyond, he walks all the way down to the train station to try to find them. Failing that, he takes the computer (probably inadvisable) home from work and uses the information on it to find the students on QQ, a popular Chinese internet messaging service. He makes contact with them but finds out later that night that they’re accusing him of theft. The boss and several other school employees call him accusing/insinuating that he had stolen the iPad.

First, you can’t steal something if it’s been left behind. Second, they automatically assumed that he had actually stolen it without waiting to hear his side of the story. This is a teacher who has broken his back to help the school by doing extra classes, building entirely new lessons for their use, and bringing in dozens of new students but they forgot about all of that in the blink of an eye. I think he deserved the benefit of the doubt. And I certainly believe that we believe a both deserve a whole helluva lot better than we’ve been getting.

The school made him come in super early this morning and there were some cops who came snooping around. They seemed like they were there just to be there. They were of the opinion that foreigners (white people) don’t steal iPads because we’re all rich and can buy our own. Also, it was very confusing to them how some poor college students could be so foolish and stupid that they left their iPad in a dirty convenience store. The teacher was off the hook but all the Chinese made a point of not telling me about it since I’ve become quite famous for my “strict” attitude. Once when they said they could pay me because there was no money I said “I’m either leaving tonight with the money you owe me or I walking out with the f@cking safe.”

So you might be able to understand their misgivings about telling me how they tried to screw over another teacher. I heard the story first from him and then ran it by the supervisor. She tried to duck and dodge the questions which spoke volumes about the school’s position. This entire affair left me in an incredibly sour mood. Before this happened, the school asked me if I was interested in renewing my contact in November. I was receptive to the idea as long as my pay increased. But now, I’m honestly thinking of looking for other employment. And I might just take a few dozen students with me just to spite the school.

Just goes to show that you can’t do anything nice for anyone here. I’ve seen an old woman trip and fall, then say that the person who helps her pushed her down so she can get money from him. There’s something inherently wrong with a culture in which the good Samaritan is so vulnerable to dishonorable and untrustworthy scum. Until the situation changes (unlikely) then I won’t be helping anyone.


  1. Tell us about how you got arrested!

  2. Yeah! Inquiring minds wanna know!

  3. This is an awful situation, and kinda scary in that it could happen to any teacher at this (unsupportive!) school – including you. I don’t blame you for re-thinking employment there…

    • They know I’m really really pissed off about it (still) and so now the boss is trying to smooth things over. Bringing us treats and getting us nice cards for Teacher’s Day. I’ll blow up at the drop of a hat but they know the other guy is real easygoing, practically a pushover. So they always take advantage.

  4. I was arrested for the “theft” of an ipod, one that someone had left in a lounge in a dorm. I took it back to my room, and about three hours later, the police come knocking on my door

    • Smells fishy to me. If I see something super valuable laying around, I always assume it’s a trap and don’t go near it.

  5. There is one chinese saying, but probably you’ve heard of, that goes: being nice doesn’t mean one will be rewarded or 好心没好报
    I hate the fact that any type of items reported stolen will have the police present on the scene when they could solve it from within. The chinese simply believes that police are the only people who can deal with stealing case, otherwise what are policemen for. Nah, not really, the true reason of their concern is to protect the reputation of the University with any means necessary by covering up or censorring any negative act which they think might pollute ITS image. So they don’t care if the person is innocent, what’s important is what the principal think would or wouldn’t happen to ITS reputation. In addition, the university is unreasonably strict so that they are in better control of the staffs. It is an indirect message to the staffs they must not make a mistake that society thinks will tarnish the name of the institution.

    Even if there’s a surveillance system installed, they will still believe in CCTV rather than questioning what actually happen. The worst is not to question what they see, and prefer to believe what they see is the truth. If either the world is ruled by china, or the Western Law didn’t come into existence, then they will be lots lots of innocents punished.

  6. OH,My God,I never heard of it.I am so sad this sort of thing happened to any of our teachers.That’s the reason why most chinese are bystanders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 260 other followers

%d bloggers like this: