OK…I admit that I caused these international tensions, but luckily it didn’t make the new headlines…yet.
The other day as M and I got into the elevator(lift) of our apartment complex to head out to dinner….a young boy – aged between 5 & 6 – and his mother were already in situ in the lift. I got in first and then the little “rascal” (read: damn nuisance) decided to press the “Close doors” button just as M was about to follow me in. The little horror! Luckily M was able to shoulder the closing doors to keep them from squashing him, but I dread to think what would have happened if he was old and frail, as are many of the other residents in our complex.
I yelled “Hey!” at the offending brat, and his response was to jab “Open”, “Close”,”Open”, “Close”, in quick succession. The mother’s response was to murmur “don’t do that, don’t do that” to the precious little darling in a quiet tone. So the teacher in me rose up – I can’t say that I made much effort to suppress it – and smacked his hands away from the buttons, while the mother looked on in resigned dismay. He gave me a dirty look, and his mother looked at me with big wide eyes.
By this stage I had worked up a head of steam, and I just couldn’t let it stop there.
So I snapped at him – “do you have a problem?” (in Mandarin) and was greatly rewarded by the fact that he looked away (sheepishly, I hope, but more likely to make the point that he was trying to ignore me). The mother continued to say nothing.
Needless to say, the rest of the journey to the ground floor was long and silent.
Late into the night I was still seething, but also realised that I had probably committed an unforgiveable cultural abomination by daring to chastise a “little emperor”, not only verbally, but also physically.
M & I decided that perhaps we better issue a warning for future brats to be on their best behaviour around us; we are going tp make T-shirts emblazoned with “I HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO SMACK NAUGHTY CHINESE CHILDREN” – in Chinese characters, of course!