Saturday, 29 September 2012
When In Doubt Chicken Out
When you think of the times we have come to blows with China throughout history, the Korean War will probably be the most memorable event. For those with a greater knowledge it will be the First or Second Opium War, the Boxer Rebellion or the incident on the Yangtse when H.M.S.Amethyst was fired upon.
The one which doesn't readily spring to mind is the pitch battle outside the Chinese Legation in London. In August 1967 Red Chinese wielded iron bars and traded punches with police and members of the public who had been demonstrating and taunting the officials. The result was a draw with equal injuries on all sides.
The Cultural Revolution was at its height and some Chinese were standing on the pavement quoting from Mao's Little Red Book and the place was ugly until a truce was called.
I am used to seeing people's passions running high and situations escalating quickly. I have found myself an innocent bystander in a riot in Warsaw once, where the police were lobbing teargas cannisters indescriminately at the crowd. I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time in London, when police were charging at a group of people with their batons raised.
What do you do?
I took the least brave and ran like f**k in the opposite direction. Boldness be my friend and all that, but self preservation kicks in. At times being a bus driver brings out the same responses.