Cop that, Shanghai-style
FOLLOW THE READER
MYwife Judith and I were strolling down the wide Nanjing Road pedestrian walkway that runs from The Bund to People’s Square in Shanghai one evening in 2011, gaping at the bright lights of the multi-storey shops, the neon extravaganza of signage and the colourful promenading crowd.
Then an altercation broke out. We saw four louts harassing and intimidating a group of people who, given their poor clothing and appearance, may have been rural villagers.
Up popped a small Public Safety Bureau Officer (a Shanghai policeman, that is), who without hesitation grabbed the leading lout by the earlobe with the finger and thumb of one hand and delivered a rapid-fire, fingerwagging diatribe, before contemptuously flicking the young thug away, leaving him to slink off with his bullying mates.
The out-of-towners were all bowing and smiling as the assembled crowd quietly applauded the Public Safety Bureau Officer for his efforts. I pushed my dropped jaw back into place.
OK, I realised we were travelling in an authoritarian country, but in Australia our police officers patrol in pairs in bullet-proof vests and loaded down with heavy leather belts festooned with batons, cans of pepper spray, firearms and walkie-talkies.
This little guy in Shanghai (and he was small) wore a uniform of cap, shirt and trousers with what looked like a mobile phone tucked into his belt. In Australia, the leading lout would probably have sued for damage to his earlobe and his mates would have put in a claim for trauma and hurt feelings. Send your 400-word contribution to our Follow the Reader column: travel@theaustralian. com.au. Published columnists will receive a $100 voucher for Colorado shoes. Colorado (now stocked by Williams stores) specialises in men’s and women’s lifestyle footwear. More: colorado.com.au; williamsshoes.com.au.