Friday, January 25, 2008

Hit Them With a Stick

Today I was at my friend Holli’s house in Zhu Bei. She lives in a rural area surrounded by rice paddies, and her nearest neighbors are relatively far away by Taiwan standards. There were a couple of tiny puppies wandering around her neighborhood when we arrived, so she decided to go out and feed them. When we went out, however, we couldn’t find them. We were wandering around calling to them, when in the distance an old lady saw us and walked out to the edge of her property and shouted something to us. We couldn’t hear, but Holli shouted back that we were looking for some puppies. A few minutes later the old lady appeared on the road carrying a bamboo stick. We approached her and Holli tried explaining to her in Chinese that we were looking for the puppies. The woman just looked blankly at us and then picked up a long piece of bamboo and offered it to Holli. Hollie tried to explain that she wasn’t afraid of the dogs, but the woman just gestured with the bamboo in a way that unambiguously indicated that she wanted us to hit the dogs. Again, Holli tried to explain that the dogs weren’t a problem, and that we were just trying to find them. The woman swung the stick a few more times, insisting that if we should find the dogs, we should hit them. Holli took the stick, and the woman turned around and walked away. She had walked all the way up the road to tell us to hit the dogs with a stick, and she even supplied us with the weapon. Then, she left. She had made her point.

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